Wasilla Alaska Garden Adventures

Wasilla Alaska Garden Adventures - learning about gardening up north.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

July 26 Garden Update

My improved Alaska Grow Bucket design seems to be working just fine. I was interested to see if the ventilation holes would allow adequate oxygen to reach the root zone. They seem to be working better then expected.

The cucumber that I planted has already outgrown the trellis and is loaded with baby cukes.

Reaching for the sky
The rest of the greenhouse tomatoes are outgrowing their space again. I guess it might be time to prune back the tops. The plants are loaded with green tomatoes and some are getting pretty large, but no ripe ones in the greenhouse just yet.

I do have one tomato turning red inside my hoop tunnel. It is a Glacier variety and the other hoop tunnel plants are also loaded with fruit. It looks like a bumper crop if the weather holds out.

The other hoop tunnel veggies are looking good. My eggplants are setting fruit and I will be picking some any day. The Millionaire eggplant seems to do well here but the fruit are small averaging about 4 inches long. The plants are loaded with blossoms and small fruit - it seems that they make up for the small size with quantity. My Northstar peppers are also loaded with fruit - but the California Wonder are not producing as well yet.

Northstar Peppers
We have had several days of rain lately. My green beans are beginning to flower and the mounded rows seem to be working as planned. I should be picking beans in a few weeks. It looks like I should have plenty to freeze and save for next winter.

Root maggots ruined my onions and radish crops and all plants had to be removed and destroyed. I hope that adding the nematodes will clean up any remaining larva before winter. I will not plant onions in the same bed next year and I will be sure to follow the practice of using a Reemay floating row cover to prevent the adult flies from laying eggs in the soil. I replaced my onions with additional lettuce that I started last month in the greenhouse.

I am planning to start some additional lettuce, chard, and kale plants and build an insulated cold frame just to see how well they do in our short cold Alaska Fall weather.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I told you so...

Sometime last night a neighborhood moose stopped by and got my cabbage, snap peas, chard, some lettuce, and kale. I wish I had an electric fence - but it just isn't in my budget right now. I still enjoy gardening in Alaska. You just roll with the punches...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4th of July - Garden Update

Yesterday was the 4th of July and the weather has been about as good as you could ask for. Plenty of sunshine with just enough rain mixed in to keep everything green. It is amazing how fast everything grows in the short Alaska summer. Hard to imagine that a little over a month ago we were still keeping an eye open for any late spring frosts and the ground was just barley warm enough to set out tender plants without protection. Twenty hours of daylight can work magic with the right temperature and adequate water. A hot day in Wasilla is anywhere above 75 degrees. On a sunny day temperatures now average in the high 60's to low 70's and you usually get a cool breeze in the afternoon. Nighttime lows now are around 50 degrees. If the day is overcast or rainy you can drop 10 degrees and stay below 65 and tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants like it a little warmer to set fruit and do better inside a greenhouse. They don't seem to be bothered by high indoor temperature in the 85-95 degree range. Ventilation is still important for greenhouses and plastic hoop tunnels as humidity can build up promoting fungal disease and it can easily reach above 100 in a closed greenhouse on a sunny day.

Greenhouse tomatoes one month ago and today.
All of the tomatoes are setting fruit and I will be checking for any signs of blossom end rot indicating watering stress.

I added a 35 gallon trash can reservoir to keep the plants watered as they grow larger and start to set fruit. It is amazing just how much water the plants can absorb.

My new Grow Bucket test plants seem to be doing very well also and I need to build a trellis for the cucumber and set up a wire cage for the tomato.


The green beans are looking good and the raised row system seems to be helping. I have had good results with Purple Pod beans that turn green after cooking. They are much easier to find when picking as the purple beans stand out against the green foliage.

The hoop tunnels are holding up well also and the eggplant and peppers are looking good so far. Several peppers have set fruit and the eggplants are blooming but haven't seen any new fruit yet. I had an attack of aphids on my hoop tunnel tomatoes but that seems to have past and the tomatoes look okay.

I am fighting a bad infestation of root maggots and had to throw out the last of my radish crop. They are now attacking my onions and I picked up some predatory nematodes at the Far North Garden Supply today and we shall see if they help. I will have to to move my onions and any other root crops to a different garden bed next year.