Alaska’s “Forgotten Gardens”

Drive down any highway, and you will see intentional landscaping. These areas are planted with lovely perennial trees, bushes, and grass with the intention of beautifying our country, making our commute a little brighter and improving our mental state. However, more often, you may notice this landscaping has been neglected. It is now overgrown. Unsightly and dangerous, blocking visibility for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. Not at all meeting the intended purpose of improving our mental state. These “Forgotten Gardens” have quite a history, and a future as well.   The story begins with good intentions, but there was a fatal flaw in the plan.

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Is it Spring yet?

I’m crabby. Yes. I said it. I’m really crabby. I know! It’s ironic. I’m the life coach that teaches people to be happy. I teach about love and appreciation. I’m being honest. I’m human, and I’m crabby. This winter was a long one – for me. We had some hard times this winter and a heart-breaking event. There was that spell in February where the temperature was negative-below-stupid for a while. We took a short trip to Southern California. Cold. In March, we went to Las Vegas hoping for some warmth. Guess what? Cold. At least there wasn’t snow and ice.

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Chickens

We are all looking forward to the garden my mom will start to plant in a couple weeks. She usually plants kale, potatoes, beets, lettuce, currents, tomatoes, broccoli, rhubarb, and peas. With what she grows, she makes currant jam, rhubarb jam, and I will make mashed potatoes.

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Strategies for Your Investment “Garden”

If you’re a gardener, your busy season is at hand, as April has been designated National Garden Month. But could the skills you deploy at gardening be transferred to other areas of your life – such as investing?

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Trial and Error

Starting a garden this spring is not a high priority for me. My past experience with gardening has put the thought of staring another garden completely out of my head. It was about two years ago when I first tried to start a garden with my mom and aunt. It was originally my aunt’s idea, but mom and I were on board as soon as she explained to us what she had in mind. Being the naive little girl that I was, I had the thought of a huge garden with colorful vegetables and fruits in all directions. When my mind saw such a colorful place that I could have called my own, I made the decision to do whatever I could to achieve that.

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School Gardens

My family doesn’t garden. We just don’t have time. Because of this, I haven’t had the opportunity to experience gardening at all. Some schools offer a gardening program so that students that don't have a chance to garden at home can still have the experience. There aren't that many schools that offer gardening because it seems hard to start a gardening program.

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My Garden Experience

When my family and I started our garden we knew it would be a commitment, but we didn’t know what to expect. The first year, we had to make our garden beds. We had to get measurements and figure out exactly what we wanted to plant and where to put it. We had decided to plant tomatoes, snap peas, pumpkins, cucumbers, carrots, potatoes, beats, cauliflowers, broccoli, strawberries and rhubarb.

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April Letter from the Editor

Ah April. I love the gift that April brings Alaska - the sun. I love knowing that summer is right around the corner. For my family, summer brings the busyness of fishing and camping and out-of-town guests. Sometimes that busyness is just too much. The length of days is overwhelming and I look for something to ground me.

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Alaska gardeners benefit from long days

Gardening is an endeavor many Alaskans have enjoyed since the days it became a United States possession. Our long daylight hours in summer offer us an advantage over friends and relatives in the smaller states. We can boast not only of oversized vegetables but flavor that is unmatched.

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From the Garden: Kale: The Gateway Vegetable

When introducing kids to the idea of eating fresh vegetables and edible flowers, I often hear, “I do not like vegetables.” It’s always amazing to me when I ask them to try a piece of, “Fresh broccoli, right from the stalk,” to then have them declare that they now LOVE broccoli! Kale gets a bad rap. Just today, I introduced a new group of students to the Optional garden. I innocently offer the unidentified vegetable to trusting children. “Did you like it?” Most declare they liked it and are shocked to hear they just ate kale - and enjoyed it!

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