Gardentalk Gardening tips and information from KTOO in Juneau
Gardentalk

Gardentalk

From KTOO

Gardening tips and information from KTOO in Juneau

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Gardentalk – Season finale on cleanup and the last of the veggies

Kale is still growing in KTOO's Agricultural Test Station and Garden of Science! in October 2019. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) The fall equinox is a full month in the rear view mirror, and this season's first frosts have already iced up Juneau. So is the growing season done and dusted? No, not really, said Master Gardener Ed Buyarski in the season finale of "Gardentalk." Buyarski said he is still growing Brussels sprouts, parsnips, kale, turnip greens and cabbage. He plans on leaving those vegetables in the ground for another few weeks. Beets, carrots and parsnips actually benefit from being left in the ground during the early fall. "They are increasing in their sugar content at this point with the cool weather," Buyarski said. Listen to the Oct. 17 edition of "Gardentalk." https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/ktoo/2019/10/garden101719.mp3 It's a good idea for gardeners to clean up their gardens and flower beds so that slugs are discouraged from laying eggs and establishing an end-of-season beachhead in the yard. Much of the old, wilted and dead vegetable plants can be thrown into the compost bin. Use either seaweed or spruce and hemlock boughs to cover perennials and protect them from this winter's freezing temperatures. Seaweed can also be mixed into the soil to provide extra winter nutrients. Buyarski reminds gardeners that this year's annual Garlic Lover's Potluck is Saturday, Oct. 26, 5-7 p.m. at the Northern Light United Church. And for those gardeners planning way ahead into the new year, the Southeast Alaska Garden Conference, which will feature presentations and workshops, will be held at Juneau's Centennial Hall on March 20-22, 2020. It's never too early to get ready for the next growing season. Visit the "Gardentalk" homepage to listen to past episodes. Gardentalk

Gardentalk – Season finale on cleanup and the last of the veggies

Gardentalk – Bring your begonias, dahlias and fuchsias in for the winter

An award-winning dahlia flower as shown during a community garden harvest fair in Juneau. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) Master Gardener Ed Buyarski says it's time to get your begonias, dahlias and fuchsias inside a cool, but not a freezing place. Tuesday morning's record low temperature of 23 degrees at the Juneau International Airport may be Mother Nature's way of saying more cold snaps and frosty mornings are not that far off. We haven't seen this a lot in Alaska lately. Both #Juneau and #Ketchikan saw record cold � for October 8. In #Juneau, Tuesday was the coldest October 8th in over 60 years. #akwx .@KTOOpubmedia .@JuneauEmpire .@800KINY .@KRBDRadio .@KDNNews pic.twitter.com/LYdCMAiI8B — NWS Juneau (@NWSJuneau) October 9, 2019 Buyarski recommends snapping off begonia stems and then putting the whole pot into the garage so the plant will dry out for a while. Later, he'll take the begonia tubers out of the soil and store them for the winter in cardboard boxes or paper bags in an area which will remain at 50 degrees. For dahlias, cut the stems about two inches above the soil. Pull them out of the pots, wash off the soil, and then let the tubers dry out. Strip all the leaves off fuchsias and apply a soap spray to eradicate any aphids still hiding in the soil. Store the pots in a cooler space, like a root cellar or crawl space. Check on them at least once a month and water them occasionally so they don't dry out completely. Buyarski also answered more questions from listeners. "Can you suggest plants that could provide year-round privacy on a very small condominium deck?" writes Michele. Buyarski recommends an arborvitae or an upright yew. As winter approaches, he suggests insulating plastic pots with bubble wrap or flexible foam wrapping. Covering the plants with burlap will help protect them from cold, drying winds and repeated freeze-thaw action. "Do you know where I can buy plants and flowers that isn't a retail shop" writes Shawn. Buyarski said Juneau area growers (like himself) have important local knowledge and can make recommendations for specific micro-climates around Juneau. He recommends checking out Glacier Gardens, Landscape Alaska and Sunny Slope Farm on Douglas Island. Listen to the October 10th edition about begonias, dahlias, and fuschias: https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/ktoo/2019/10/garden101019.mp3

Gardentalk – Bring your begonias, dahlias and fuchsias in for the winter

Gardentalk – Listener question lightning round

This is the second year that this beehouse has remained vacant in a North Douglas yard. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) In this week's edition of Gardentalk, Master Gardener Ed Buyarski tackled a series of yard and garden care questions sent in by listeners. The first few questions were related to last week's segment on garlic. "I've harvested and dried my garlic, but haven't cut the stems off each bulb yet. Is it necessary to cut stems off before storing over winter?" asks Ann. Buyarski said it depends on how much room you have. "If you've got three foot long stems, you can use those stems to hang up a bunch," Buyarski said. "Simple answer is no, it doesn't matter." A reminder to keep them in a warm place about 60 degrees. Don't refrigerate them. "How do you know its ready? Not a lot of luck here. I am told it's too hot, but then why do we have wild garlic growing?" asks Bonnie. Buyarski said he hopes that it doesn't mean her garlic is still in the ground. He said it certainly should have been harvested now. "When to plant garlic in Oklahoma?" asks Ida. Buyarski said the basic rule is planting at four to six weeks before the ground freezes. "I'm planting garlic right now and I have planted garlic as late is between Christmas and New Years when the ground's not frozen," Buyarski said. "So, that gives her some latitude." "I'd love to hear some bee friendly recommendations from Ed. And, do those bee houses that popped up everywhere actually help our bees?" ask Sarah. Buyarski said those beehouses are usually good for orchard mason bees. But he can't confirm if they actually work in Juneau. He said bee-friendly plants commonly found in Juneau include dandelion, raspberry, crocus, and pussy willow. "I planted peony crowns in spring (in pots) and transplanted to a south slope. How do I best prepare the transplants for winter?" asks Andrea. Buyarski recommends lightly fertilizing them with bulb food, cutting off all stems to two inches above the ground, and sheltering them for the winter with spruce boughs or other material. "So, they don't emerge too early in the springtime, and hopefully, have a few flowers next year," Buyarski said. Listen to the Oct. 3 "Gardentalk" focusing on listener questions. https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/ktoo/2019/10/garden100319w.mp3 Finally, the Garlic Lovers Potluck will be held 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Oct. 26 at the Northern Light United Church. Everyone is invited to bring a tasty dish with garlic in it. Buyarski said that has previously included soups, salads, and garlic flavored brownies and chocolate cake. The free event will also include presentation on the basics of garlic growing, harvesting, and storage. Do you have a garden question for Ed? Fill out the form below, and he'll answer your question in an upcoming segment. Listen to past episodes and subscribe to the podcast on the "Gardentalk" page, so you'll never have to worry about missing Thursday's live radio broadcasts.

Gardentalk – Listener question lightning round

Gardentalk – How do you plant 10,000 garlic?

These homegrown hardneck garlic bulbs weren't stored properly after harvest and already started sprouting before planting. Break apart each bulb, and set aside the smallest individual cloves for cooking. Use the biggest cloves for replanting. Plant each clove with pointy end up, about 6 inches apart at a depth of 2 inches. On top of the soil, layer with seaweed or other mulch, and then cover with plastic so the garlic doesn't start rotting during the fall rains. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) A Haines vegetable grower is set to embark on a mammoth effort to plant thousands of tiny garlic cloves. Master Gardener Ed Buyarski explained more about Scott Hansen's efforts during a recent edition of "Gardentalk." He said Hansen will enlist the help of family members to get 10,000 garlic cloves planted over the weekend or over several days. Since garlic cloves must be oriented with the pointy end up, they all have to planted by hand. But Buyarski said Hansen has found a way to expedite harvesting on his half-acre plot next summer. "He is going to try to use his tractor and potato digger to lift the garlic once it's ready," Buyarski said. Buyarski and a fellow grower in Juneau together have harvested about 500 bulbs each year, which usually yields about 3,000 individual cloves. Listen to the Sept. 26 edition of "Gardentalk" about garlic planting. https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/ktoo/2019/09/garden092619.mp3 Whether it's 10 or 10,000 garlic, there are some basic techniques that any gardener should keep in mind. It's best to use hardneck garlic, not the softneck garlic that you usually find in the vegetable section of retail stores. Break apart each garlic bulb and use the biggest individual cloves for replanting. Set aside the smallest individual cloves for cooking. Find a plot with good drainage and ample sun. Before planting, be sure to mix extra nutrients into the soil in the form of compost, seaweed, horse manure, brewers grain, or coffee grounds. Plant each clove with the pointy end up, about 2 inches deep and 6 inches apart. On top of the soil, layer with seaweed or other mulch, and then cover with plastic to prevent the fall rains and winter snow from rotting the garlic and washing the soil's nutrients away. Hundreds of garlic plants waiting to be harvested in July 2019. (Photo courtesy of Ed Buyarski) Do you have a garden question for Ed? Fill out the form below, and he'll answer your question in an upcoming segment. Listen to past episodes and subscribe to the podcast on the "Gardentalk" page, so you'll never have to worry about missing Thursday's live radio broadcasts.

Gardentalk – How do you plant 10,000 garlic?

Gardentalk – Planting for a colorful fall

Leaves begin to turn on a Norway maple outside KTOO studios in September 2019. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) Do you enjoy the trees and shrubs that are changing color around Juneau right now? Master Gardener Ed Buyarski says you can plant in your own yard now or plan for next year instead. "So, we can add more to basically get more enjoyment out of our fall landscape," Buyarski said. Screen capture of Picture This app tries to identify leaf of a tree near KTOO studios. Popular trees, which show autumn colors and grow well in the Juneau area, include the maple, birch, cottonwood, dolgo crabapple, cherry, and golden willow. The Japanese katsura will change from pink to salmon to orange colors. Color-changing shrubs include the wild blueberry, devil's club, red twig dogwood, gold flame, and the burning bush. "If you go past Fred Meyer's, there's some beautiful burning bush plants turned from green to bright red-orange," Buyarski said. For flowers and perennials, Buyarski recommends monkshood, ligularias, turtlehead, and black-eyed Susan. The Miskin lilac and the P.J.M. rhododendron will eventually turn purple in the early fall. Buyarski says it's a great time of year for planting, because the early fall rains are finally moistening the soil. He recommends loosening the roots once you get the plant or tree out of the pot. "Water them once thoroughly, throw some compost on the surface or some seaweed, and a couple inches of mulch over the top," Buyarski said. "The roots will continue to grow well into the fall as long as the ground isn't frozen." "The mulch is really important, because of the potential for freeze-thaw action during the winter if we don't get consistent snow cover," Buyarski said. Listen to the Sept. 19th edition about fall colors: https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/ktoo/2019/09/garden091919.mp3 If you're reluctant to do any planting now, then Buyarski encourages taking pictures of trees and shrubs as part of next year's planning. There are several plant identification apps that are available for your phone that will help figure out the type of plant or tree that is changing color. Do you have a garden question for Ed? Fill out the form below, and he'll answer your question in an upcoming segment. Listen to past episodes and subscribe to the podcast on the "Gardentalk" page, so you'll never have to worry about missing Thursday's live radio broadcasts.

Gardentalk – Planting for a colorful fall

Gardentalk – The bulbs have arrived

Bulbs bloom in the middle of the Douglas roundabout in spring of 2015. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) Pick your bulbs now and plant later this fall for a colorful yard next spring. In this week's edition of "Gardentalk," Master Gardener Ed Buyarski said local retailers and service organizations are getting all types of bulbs shipped into Juneau now. But don't start planting as soon as you get those bulbs home. "We don't want them in the ground yet because then they might start growing too early and then (they'll) start getting killed too early," Buyarski said. He suggests storing them in a cool, dry and dark place until the end of September or early October, or at least until just before the ground freezes and the snow falls. Only then should you plant the bulbs. Listen to the Sept. 12 edition of "Gardentalk" about bulbs: https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/ktoo/2019/09/garden091219webfinalc.mp3 Buyarski said tulips are popular as an annual in Juneau, while some varieties, like daffodils and crocus, may return in subsequent years after the initial planting. "Tulips have a difficult time returning year after year because so many of the bulbs are native to the Middle East, to Southern Asia, Russia and other places where they would normally get dry baking conditions," Buyarski said. Do you have a garden question for Ed? Fill out the form below, and he'll answer your question in an upcoming segment. Listen to past episodes and subscribe to the podcast on the "Gardentalk" page, so you'll never have to worry about missing Thursday's live radio broadcasts.

Gardentalk – How to avoid the greenhouse blues

In this picture taken in early June 2019, tomatoes, peppers, and other vegetables thrive in the scratch-built geodesic greenhouse that Tom Lafollette made at the Annex Creek hydroelectric facility in Taku Inlet. Lafollette explains that he's set up an automated watering and venting system to keep the plants watered and the greenhouse ventilated. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) For those gardeners with greenhouses, don't forget to open the vents and windows to create some air flow inside. Otherwise, gardeners may be disappointed to find their vegetables and plants turned to mush and covered with a grayish mold. "That's with our cooling temperatures, nighttime temperatures and higher humidity," said Master Gardener Ed Buyarski. "That's what happens. It's perfect mold-growing conditions." Buyarski encourages using heavy oscillating fans inside the greenhouse to keep the air moving and prevent mold spores from settling on your plants. He also advises removing the offending leaves and parts of the plant immediately if they become infested with mold. Tomato plants may still be flowering, but Buyarski recommends thinning plants, trimming plant tops, and removing any of those new flowers. It's way too late anyway for those new flowers to develop into ripe tomato fruit this season. "So, if we can trim those tops, then that forces the plant to put his energy ripening the tomatoes it's already set," Buyarski said. "We can also help stress them to do that by slowing our watering." Also, don't forget to harvest other vegetables, like cucumbers, that have already stopped producing. Listen to the Sept. 5 edition of "Gardentalk" about greenhouse management and woolly bear caterpillars (again). https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/ktoo/2019/09/garden090519.mp3 In this picture taken in early June 2019, Tom Lafollette, caretaker of the Annex Creek hydroelectric facility in Taku Inlet (obscured behind left side of greenhouse), explains to visitors how he scratch-built this geodesic greenhouse for growing tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables. The greenhouse is about 10 feet in diameter and is a slightly-smaller version than a previous greenhouse he constructed from plans. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) Buyarski said he's still getting comments about removing woolly bear caterpillars before they attack kiwi plants, berry bushes and apples trees. He got some feedback at the recent Juneau Food Festival from someone who wasn't happy about his suggestion of squishing and squashing the fuzzy, black-and-orange caterpillars into oblivion. "I'm growing stuff for me, for my friends and for other people, and trying to teach people to do that ," Buyarski said. "Grow food for us. I'm selective about who I'm sharing with, let's say." Buyarski also reports that a neighbor recently developed a severe allergic reaction after getting a woolly bear caterpillar and its irritating long, white hairs down his shirt. His skin was already blistering by the time his neighbor's wife got his shirt off. "She ended up giving him a couple of Benadryl and using some alcohol to wipe down, to clean off the skin," Buyarski said. "And it took some hours for the swelling and reaction to go away." Buyarski also said that an emergency room provider suggested applying an oatmeal paste or a paste of water and baking soda on the blisters to help soothe the skin. Captured! A woolly bear caterpillar with those irritating white hairs crawls inside a jar shortly before it starts cocooning for the winter. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) Do you have a garden question for Ed? Fill out the form below, and he'll answer your question in an upcoming segment. Listen to past episodes and subscribe to the podcast on the "Gardentalk" page, so you'll never have to worry about missing Thursday's live radio broadcasts.

Gardentalk – How to avoid the greenhouse blues

Gardentalk – Is the drought over? Can I stop watering now?

Potatoes for sale at Farmers Market and Food Fest 2014 at the JACC. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) No, the drought is not over. And don't stop watering, said Master Gardener Ed Buyarski during this week's edition of "Gardentalk" on KTOO's "Morning Edition." Buyarski said a few days of rain showers is not enough to keep the ground moist for your garden vegetables. The National Weather Service also has said that sporadic spurts of rainfall will not be enough to remedy dry conditions in Southeast Alaska over the last two years. "Dig down deep and see what the soil is telling us," Buyarski said. "We need a lot more moisture." Buyarski also notes that extra watering — especially on the tender plants themselves — will help provide a little frost protection as temperatures drop to near-freezing with clear skies overnight. Jugs of water placed around the garden during the height of the afternoon sun will serve as a heat sink and delay frost conditions, if they occur. Blankets and sheets placed over squash and zucchini plants will also provide a layer of insulation. "Clear (sheets of) plastic isn't the answer," Buyarski said. Listen to the Aug. 29 edition of "Gardentalk." https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/ktoo/2019/08/garden082919.mp3 Buyarski also answered a few questions from listeners this week. After last week's segment about woolly bear caterpillars, Juneau listener Jolene asked about alternative methods of eradicating them, instead of squishing or stepping on them. Buyarski said a less brutal alternative that does not require touching the caterpillars includes using a spray bottle to spray the caterpillars with a soapy water solution. Juneau listener Cathy asked about purchasing garlic bulbs. Buyarski said several vendors may be on hand selling garlic and other vegetables during the Juneau Food Festival at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center on Saturday, Aug. 31 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Free workshops are also planned on a variety of gardening and preservation subjects. Do you have a garden question for Ed? Fill out the form below, and he'll answer your question in an upcoming segment. Listen to past episodes and subscribe to the podcast on the "Gardentalk" page, so you'll never have to worry about missing Thursday's live radio broadcasts.

Gardentalk – Is the drought over? Can I stop watering now?

Gardentalk – Ripe corn and woolly bear caterpillars

Woolly bear caterpillar tries to escape its glass habitat located in a North Douglas kitchen in August 2019. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) Master Gardener Ed Buyarski said he's almost ready to pick his sweet corn that he's growing this season in his garden. "The ears are filling out when I feel them," Buyarski said. Each of the 2-inch-diameter ears feel solid, and their silk is turning brown. Buyarski recalled that this is probably the first time he's tried growing corn in Juneau in over 20 years. In this week's edition of "Gardentalk," he said the final test will come in about a week or so when he carefully peels back part of the husk and silk from an ear. The kernels of the bicolor corn should be yellow and white, and their juice should spurt out when the kernel's skin is punctured. As for winter squash, Buyarski said they'll be ripe when you're able to scratch a thumbnail through the outer skin, but you're unable to scratch through into the hard inner shell. And don't forget to check on your potatoes. Steal a few early spuds for dinner and contemplate digging them all up soon. Listen to the Aug. 22 edition about corn, squash, caterpillars, and the Harvest Fair: https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/ktoo/2019/08/garden082219b.mp3 Buyarski also answered a question about the woolly bear caterpillar, the larval form of the spotted tussock moth, that is seen around Juneau. Before they weave a cocoon, he said the non-native, orange-and-black caterpillars like to feed on raspberry plants, alder trees and apple trees. He said that's why he tries to get rid of them when they enter his yard and garden. He also has a caution for children and those with sensitive skin who would be affected by handling the fuzzy caterpillar and touching their white, spiky hairs. "People might have a skin irritation or allergic-type reactions to them," Buyarski said. The Juneau Community Garden on Montana Creek Road is holding its annual Harvest Fair and Farmers Market on Saturday, Aug. 24. Juneau gardeners are invited to bring in their fruits, vegetables, flowers and preserves for judging before 11 a.m. Entries will be open for public display at noon. An award-winning basket from the 2015 Harvest Fair. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) Do you have a garden question for Ed? Fill out the form below, and he'll answer your question in an upcoming segment. Listen to past episodes and subscribe to the podcast on the "Gardentalk" page, so you'll never have to worry about missing Thursday's live radio broadcasts.

Gardentalk – Ripe corn and woolly bear caterpillars

Gardentalk – 'You can be the bee'

Sugar pie pumpkin flowers close up at the first drops of rain on Aug. 15, 2019. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) In this week's edition of "Gardentalk," Master Gardener Ed Buyarski explains what gardeners can do to help with pollination, especially if bees and other insects are not around. "We would like to have warm and sunny weather so the insects are more active," Buyarski said. If vegetable plants and berry bushes are blooming during wet or cool weather, then Buyarski said there may not be that much natural pollination happening. He suggests moving pollen from one plant to another plant of a similar variety. Some plants like beans, peas and tomatoes pollinate themselves. Others, like squash, have male and female flowers. There are also other plants, like kiwi, which require pollination between separate male and female plants. "You can actually tear off those plant (flowers) and in your greenhouse and you can be the bee," Buyarski said, explaining how the male flowers can be dabbed on the female flower pistils for pollination. Listen to the Aug. 15 segment of "Gardentalk" about pollination. https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/ktoo/2019/08/garden081519wfinal.mp3 Do you have a garden question for Ed? Fill out the form below, and he'll answer your question in an upcoming segment. Listen to past episodes and subscribe to the podcast on the "Gardentalk" page, so you'll never have to worry about missing Thursday's live radio broadcasts.

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