Terry Reichardt’s Garden – In the Alaska Garden with Heidi Rader


Hi, everybody I’m Heidi Rader here in the Alaska Garden with the Tribes extension program and Uaf Cooperative Extension Service and Tanana Chiefs Conference today. I’m here in Terry Reichert’s Garden. It’s a beautiful garden. Terry is a longtime Fairbanksan in and actually teaches a gardening class if you happen to live inFairbanks. But she’s a pretty amazing gardener with her with her husband. They grow, hunt, and fish about ninety five percent of their food each year. So she’s a really knowledgeable gardener. She’s constantly trying new varieties testing new varieties different crops. So today we’re gonna be taking a little bit of a tour of her garden and learning some about, you know, why she chooses which varieties she does. Some of her tips and tricks. She’s been gardening for over 40 years so she’s developed a lot of unique tricks that work for gardening here in interior Alaska. Thanks for joining today, and it’s a beautiful day here in Fairbanks and let’s go ahead and get started. So there’s a nice bumblebee and Terry’s got a lot of nice pollinators here in her garden. It’s all organic and she grows even some grains, as well as fruit. All kinds of vegetables that she’s able to store it in an unheated root cellar, so- So let’s just go ahead and get started talking about some of the things she’s growing. If we look up here, she’s got corn that’s just about ready to ripen. So if you show they have corn up there. So Terry, when do you start your corn? And how many varieties are you growing and can you tell us a little bit about growing corn in Alaska well? I’ll start my corn. There used to be a couple, one thing you need to know is that these days varieties are constantly changing and seed companies that are, coming together, grow want to have fewer and fewer varieties. So- we’ve lost a lot of varieties and there used to be a couple varieties I would start from seed right in the soil, but those varieties are gone. And nowadays I start everything ahead of time. About, let’s say April 20th is when I put corn, starch corn seed. And then we’re eating now, so, the end of July, mid to late July is when we start eating it. And I have different varieties. I’m always trying new ones for one reason is because they’re always getting rid of some varieties so then you’ve got to keep your eye out for what new things work in case you lose your long and trusted varieties. If you can find some non hybrid varieties, oftentimes open pollinated varieties will hang around longer with some seed companies. I have about three varieties up there that I really like and grow a fair amount of and then I’ve got, maybe four or five, experiments. And you’ll see that I grow corn in a row instead of a patch. The seed companies always tell you to grow them in like squares. Mm-Hmm. But it’s so important for us to get enough sun on everything. So in a patch, the plants and back wouldn’t get as much sun and it also cuts down on cross-pollination when I’ve got different varieties. So, do you do any hand pollination? I don’t cut the tassels off and hand pollinate, but I come out every day during pollinating season and bend the tassels over and shake them when the wind isn’t blowing. Yeah. And get, make sure that the tassels get, the ears get pollinated and you need to do that. And if you do that, then you’re also more likely to not get as much cross-pollination. Nice. It’s important to grow only either sugar enhanced, all sugar enhanced, and not the old fashioned sweet corn called just plain sugar free. And not bring in some of these other varieties that would then, when they cross pollinate give you a starchy. Yeah. Yeah, good to know so another thing I imagine with your corn you’re using something to warm up the soil like this plastic here you have on your tomatoes. Yeah is really important. And so, if you can see in Terry’s garden, her her motto is to make her life easier and grow more with less time right? Yes. And so one thing she does in all of her rows, she’s using a weed blocking fabric here, and I think you probably use this fabric year after year. It’s pretty durable. It’s like a road block. Well, and that’s exactly where we got it. People have giving me some and then when our neighbors did a parking lot we had a great big extra roll, and boy I used it and I love it. Yeah, it was forever. So if you want to make your life easier. In all of her rows, she’s got this type our landscape fabric to keep the weeds down and she uses it year after year. She’s also got a clear plastic here for her tomatoes and then for the corn, and what that does is it warms up the soil, but it doesn’t really block the weeds. So it’s like it looks like you have a double layer of clear plastic and then it covers. The only reason I have a double layers because I use scraps and because it happened to overlap. Short pieces and cracks and everything so kind of a mixture I had to put two layers. Yeah, have you ever tried something called infrared transmitting plastic? Yeah, and it does work to block the weeds as well as warm the soil, but it does not warm the soil as much as a clear plastic. And, so, and it’s expensive. If it doesn’t last year after year like your weed block? No, there is a little that I’ve got in the back. So you can see I’ve got a terrace there and, just in the very back of it, I’ve stapled down some of that weed Blocker plastic. And I just keep it there year after year, and I lift it up when I prepare the soil in the spring because it’s hard to get back there once I lay the plastic to weed. Right. But in front It’s really critical to get the sun heating that soil with the clear plastic. So the the options are clear plastic or, you know, you can use a visqueen that will last a little longer then. It looks like this is a little bit thinner of a plastic, or infrared transmitting plastic, but sometimes that’s kind of hard to find and it’s a little bit of a smoky color. And then of course your Typar weed block fabric you can use year after year, so that’s very nice that it’s so sturdy. But you just have to be sure not to use that for warm weather crops. Yeah. Because it’ll keep the soil little cooler. Yeah, good to know. And so let’s talk a little bit about you’ve got some beautiful onions up here and you’ve got some netting over them surrounding some wire hoops. So why do you use that netting? We have rut maggots in the interior and if you grow enough onions and garlic and things that attract them, they’ll be there in your soil. They lay their eggs by the roots of plants like onions and turnips and then destroy those bulbs. The Larvae will get in and destroy the bulb so we want to keep the flies from laying those eggs. And so the netting, it’s just to netting like you use for wedding veils or something is the cheapest I found. Good, good trick. It’s easy to just get in and out to weed if you hold it together at the top with safety clothespins. And that would probably work for covering up your berries as well to keep the birds out? You know, I’ve got a bird barrier, that’s a tougher plastic for that. Okay. I haven’t tried that. Okay. We have a constant battle with the birds. She, Terry has some lovely fruits and berries here too including some cherries. Um okay, so we got a quick question, so how how do you keep moose out of your garden? I’ve tried every trick in the book and some work better than others, but ultimately, if you have a serious garden you need fencing. So years ago when steel was pretty cheap, I bought rolls of concrete wire, eight-foot, and that works great. And first I did the garden in, and then since we’ve got some fruit trees and stuff, I did the whole yard in with that. These days, I don’t know if I’d recommend that. It’s pretty pricey with the cost of steel from China. So you could, you know you, I’ve built fencing and you can do that if you’re out in the bush. You can build fencing that would keep moose out. Especially at the top, put some wire or string, and put a little survey tape to flap around. And you’ll probably keep them off. Blood meal, they don’t like that either. But you can burn your crops if you get it too much on their roots. And there’s something called plants kid – it’s basically bovine blood as well, but it lasts longer in the rain. So blood meal, every time it rains you’re supposed to reapply it, and of course it’s a organic fertilizer, so that’s not always a bad thing. But, you know, if it’s windy it’ll blow in your face. I used to, I used to spread blood meal on my Aunt’s greenhouse crops up and down her rows because she didn’t have a fence. And an eight foot high fence is the surest bet for keeping out moose. I had, in my last garden, I used spruce poles. We, you know, we took off the bark and used those for the main posts and then also used t posts. This is an example of a t post here. And then I had two strands of solar-powered electric fencing at the top. So electric fencing, you do have to be careful with kids and dogs and things and even yourself. But that’s pretty cheap so that can be a good way to go. You also have to think about the winter, so when it snows, moose will like to come in and eat your compost or leftover cabbage. So they can still do some damage to your fencing in the winter too, so that’s something to consider as well. But yeah, moose are a problem. I’ve I found they love anything in the cabbage or broccoli family the most. So you can, you can do a little bit with maybe avoiding their favorite things, like cabbage or broccoli if you don’t have a fenced garden. And think about growing things like baby salad greens or herbs or squash that they may not like as much is another option. They learn to like more and more things, too. I found they learned to like carrots and they eat the carrot tops and in the process pull up the carrots and walk all over them. And so, you know, they’re a nuisance. They’re definitely a big consideration in Alaska. So let’s talk a little bit more about onions. Terry has a great variety that stores really well. She just showed us a an onion that she grew last year that she stored in her root cellar. And it’s perfectly good still so pretty amazing and she’s got a few to show you here. Actually, I don’t store them in the root cellar that could be bad storage because it’s too humid. This is a mountaineer onion that was grown last a full year ago, and I cut one open just now, and you can see that it’s still a really nice onion inside. They’re an amazing storage onion. The difficulty growing onions in Alaska is that onions are very night sensitive which means that if you don’t have any night time, most of them will bolt. There’s also day neutral onions. And day neutral onions really don’t work here either. They’re not that day neutral. But this mountaineer seems to be. One of the- there are a number of other onions that actually do better than mountaineer with the night sensitivity. Also Craig is a very nice one. It’s a Spanish onion. Sweet, white, you’ll get nice. I would also go with Craig. They’re just no fail and easy because they’re developed in England, which is a pretty high latitude. But they don’t store that well, they won’t store past December. If you want a storage onion, Mountaineer from Stokes is the best I’ve found. Another problem you have with onions is that, if you try to get them into the ground early and it’s too cold, you can cause them to bolt. And so that’s always A trick and mountaineer is very resistant to bolting. So I got my onions in towards the end of April around the 25th of April this year and it was a late cold spring. And I’ve had some bolting, but those are the onions I use first. And you start them from seed or do you buy plants? I start them from seed. If you want them, if you want them to store the best way, start them from seed. Sets are the worst. They’re the most likely to bolt. And a lot of it has to do with not only the varieties, but the way they’re stored. We need them stored a long time and that makes it hard for them not to bolt and they’re stored that long. It’s very tricky then to warm them up And not have them bolt. So you can buy plants by mail order and if you’re not in a position to start things from seed, that’s how I go, but again starting from plant will not store as well as starting from seed. Do you have, my favorite are the red onions. Do you have a favorite red variety? Redwings stores the best. My focus is always on storage because we grow our food and store it all winter until we’re eating out of the next garden. So another nice one is, ah I forgot. Okay. I can’t think of it. There’s another really nice one, but redwing is pretty dependable. It doesn’t store as well as mountaineer. It’ll store it into March very nicely. Nice. So getting back to the the root maggots and the pest issues, you know, one way to limit your pests is to rotate your crops. Do you do that a lot? Absolutely, so ideally would be a four year rotation, but I don’t have the space for that. I do a three year rotation which works. So that means the plants that attract root maggots, you try to keep them all together. You’ll notice my onions are in a different place than all the coal crops and root maggoty ones. Just because the places that I need to get in early weren’t where the co crops are growing now. So if you cover with netting, you won’t get root maggots. With maggot eggs laid which will be a problem the following year. But all the places that cabbage and broccoli and those things that attract root maggots and aren’t under netting, which would be too much trouble, they’ll have the eggs there next spring and the larvae will hatch out. And so, what I grow there next year better be something that’s not bothered by it. Mmhm, and we recommend at the Cooperative Extension using frost cloth a lot. Do you just use the tule netting because it’s cheaper, or you don’t like to warm up the crops at all? I don’t need to warm them up. The tule netting is much cheaper than any of that. It lasts just as well or better. And the rain goes through it, the water goes through it very nicely. I can just water right down the row. Whereas the other stuff, they say the water goes through, but it really sheds it. Yeah. And it doesn’t go through and it gets too hot in there. Well, that’s a really good trick. So um, so let’s move on down below if you can see these beautiful tomato plants. Terry has tomatoes in her garden. She’s got tomatoes growing on her deck in containers. She’s got them growing outside, and her greenhouse is attached. We’re not going to be able to show you the greenhouse during the workshop because it’s a little too far to move, but we might show it in the Youtube video so check back to to look at that video. But can you tell us a little bit about tomatoes and, you know, maybe how many pounds of tomatoes you produce or which these outdoor varieties are? Or, you know, are they like one of the more challenging things you grow? Well in some ways tomatoes are very tough and easy but yeah, we like to eat lots of tomatoes and there are hot weather crops, so that’s the challenge. I have found there are quite a few varieties you can grow successfully outside, but if you have cold temperatures it damages the flavor of the tomatoes because all these flavor enzymes are what created flavor. I grew up in Pennsylvania where tomatoes really tasted good, you know, and I’m pretty picky about the flavor. If you don’t know any better and just eat supermarket tomatoes, maybe anything that grows will meet your, will pass your test. The only tomato I found that I can grow outside and get good yields on and also get good flavor is Glacier, and that’s a small tomato about this big. And we start picking them. I start those ahead of time, actually February, and we’re picking them in June. They produce a pile of tomatoes that will store at 50 degrees in boxes and they’ll store till into November. And they have a wonderful flavor so that’s why I grow outside for tomatoes. And then I grow paste Tomatoes for sauces in containers on the deck and they produce a wonderful thick sauce. And then in the greenhouse we produce those wonderful good tasting big juicy salad tomatoes and I’ll also can them. The glaciers are pretty juicy, they don’t make that thicker sauce, but if you mix the sauce tomatoes with them, those sauce tomatoes are so thick, well the- Yeah. That’s great. Yeah they’re nice. So- so yeah, that’s a good tomato variety to file away in your mind, Glacier tomato, especially if you don’t have a greenhouse because tomatoes are usually grown in a greenhouse here in Alaska. As are cucumbers, but here Terry is growing some nice cucumbers, as well. Should I pick one or? Sure, you wouldn’t mind. And I think these are all the same variety did you say Sweet Success? So I’ve got pickling cucumbers and slicing cucumbers. So this cucumber is called sweet success. Take a bite and see what that tastes like. No, that’s good. Isn’t this good? That is really good and we eat them just like that. And they are delicious cucumber, and they’re very hardy, and they have resistance to powdery mildew. And they’re just, as you can see I get huge crops. I really grow too much for this time of year, but we like to start eating them early like in June. And we eat them late, and in June and in late august, they’re not producing so many. So then that’s why I have so many. At this time of year I give them away. You can make a lot of good friends that way. Extremely hardy, and so they take up a lot of space, but I’d still recommend you grow them and if you don’t have a space, prune them. Just cut them off and they’ll put out more branches and be happy that way. And then I grow a pickling cucumber. I won’t take time to find some of those. Their Gherkins you know, they’re shorter And they’re real crisp. These slicing cucumbers won’t pickle worth two hoots because they’re soft. Yeah. And when do you start your cucumbers inside? April 20th roughly. Yeah, and that’s a risk because if I can’t get them out, they just do not like to go longer than um, a month, six weeks is the most you can get out of them really. And so, if it’s cold in the late spring, you know, you’ve got your challenge. But I have found starting them that early, that even when they get pot bound and sad looking because I’ve had to keep them in pots too long, that they still produce a lot sooner and get going faster. And so, you try to get them out in the garden about may 20th? I tried that and this year was hard, and then I have tricks. I did this year and I had two and another time. I could go into how I transplant the cucumbers, but I did have to cover them with plastic and try to keep things warm. And with size pots do you plant them in? Just three by threes . Okay. And then, as I said they’ll get pot bound and for weeks you need to start getting. And you want to grow them fast. I mean they just eat up the nitrogen. That’s one thing you can, I have a nice manure soaked bucket. You know I fill a five-gallon bucket with water and put some manure in it. Fresh manure with plenty of Nitrogen and potassium and and water with that and that warms up during the day. And then you water this nice warm fertilizer rich water, and they’ll just produce like crazy. Do you have a good source of manure pr what are you using for manure? I go wherever I can get it. So we always had goats and chickens and turkeys and rat, you know, animals like that. But once our kids left home we lost our workforce. Yeah. So we just found we preferred to just hunt and fish and skip the animal husbandry and away went the manure, so now we just clean out people’s barns. And we find that takes a lot less time than taking care of animals. Yeah, yeah good point. So another really interesting thing about how Terri and her family eat is, they eat vegetables for breakfast and so Terri does grow some grains. We’re standing right next to some quinoa. But of course she finds that grains are more difficult to grow than vegetables. And so you know, part of I guess your philosophy you could say, is just eating and growing as much and procuring as much local food as possible. Mmhm. So part of that is eating what is easy to grow here. Actually grains are easy to grow but they’re more challenging to process and so with Barley, I always grow some Barley, but then you have to brush it and winnow it and that’s more of a challenge. Quinoa is pretty easy. You have to wash it, but quinoa grows wonderfully very hearty and very productive. You can see the bees going crazy, so these have set their flowers. They’re starting to move into seeds now. And it looks a lot like a weed you might see in your garden, Lamb’s Quarter, which you can also eat the seed of. Yeah, it doesn’t just look like it, it is Lamb’s Quarters, really. Yeah. It’s been bred over the years in South America to be really productive of decent size, little seeds. And do you eat the leaves? No. No because we grow other greens that we like that And then behind the quinoa, we’ve got some amazing potatoes here. Do you hill your potatoes or? Uh-huh. I hill them and then on top of that, you can see I mulch them. Because it’s so critical to keep the moisture in the soil if you want to prevent scab. The biggest Secret is not allowing the soil to dry out and keeping moist soil. And then you can see we, fence them in because potatoes are vines, just like tomatoes and they would take up way more space than I want to give them. So if I put a fence around them I sort of keep it down to a dull roar and I can grow other stuff in space that normally they take up. Yeah, I’ve heard of some people using kind of building a raised bed around their potato and filling it with soil to, you know, even more production. We rotate and so, you know, I don’t want to do anything permanent. Uh-huh. Because then the next year. I think they’re just movable wooden frames so you’re kind of like add them gradually and filled in with. Oh, Okay. I don’t know, just to amp up production even more. Yeah. And so what are your favorite varieties of potatoes to grow oh? I-I’ve got one my son gave me from the from Palmer that was developed up here called Magic Myrna and we really liked it. That’s a very dark yellow-fleshed potato. One of the fingerling type potatoes, but they get pretty large for fingerlings and they tend to get very sweet, so we like our potatoes. When they store in the root cellar all year by Spring, they taste sort of sweet and Magic Myrna’s really get sweet and they’re pretty starchy. They are very prone to scab. So normally I grow potatoes that are resistant to scab and so Magic Myrna you really have to be careful that they don’t dry out. And then there’s some other varieties Corolla is one. Corolla was developed in Maine and you can’t go wrong with that. It’s a yellow flushed potato. It’s fairly Waxy. I think it tastes just like Butterball and It’s just an excellent potato but very productive very early, scab resistant. It’s just everything you would want in a potato for up here. Yeah, and I grow some other varieties, you know, but Corolla is one you can’t go wrong with . Yeah, that’s great. So let’s see behind us, It’s a little bit difficult to see but she’s got some really nice beets and carrots that are nicely mulched, and it’s pretty massive. And when do you start those outside? I try to get all my seeding done May 20th and so carrots go in the ground may 20th. And those are all direct seeded, and you know, a little bit easier there. It’s nice because you don’t have to one thing you don’t have to start inside. Right, yeah. As are potatoes. But it looks like we had a quick question. What are some of the other varieties that you grow in there in addition to Magic Myrna, of potatoes potatoes. Well one called Nicola we like because it’s a red skinned, yellow-fleshed potato. Oh, let’s see Nicola, I think that’s a, let me take a look here. I have to keep a map of my garden and remind myself. It’s a lot remember, but that brings up another good question in addition to which varieties are you growing. Uh-huh. Do you have any tips or tricks for records or just suggestions on why or how to keep good gardening records. You know, you think you’d remember everything, but I don’t and so yes, I write everything down. I make a little map on the computer. I mean simple of what all I’ve planted in the different varieties. I keep a journal going of dates that I do anything and then I can compare year to year and come up with in what dates work for me. Because, you know, every garden has a different environment and especially out in the villages. Each village has a little different weather pattern than the others, so you really need to develop your own system of when you can get away with planting things, and what varieties work for you. Yeah, and we talked about that a little bit last last week about how we’ve got different varieties that were testing at the Georgeson Botanical Garden here in Fairbanks, which is great for Fairbanks Gardeners, but it even varies with in fairbanks what you can grow where. But that’s that’s kind of the idea behind the Grow Until app too is that folks can rate different varieties and show where they live and share how much they harvested, and then you’ve got a better map of of what grows where basically. But keeping your own gardening records and you can do that with the app too but, you know, just really helps develop your own system of what works best in varieties. I mean because you will not remember what varieties did best. Yeah. And if you don’t write it down, ten years later, you’ll be trying the same varieties that failed ten years ago, and they’re gonna fail again. Yeah. So you’ve got to write that stuff down. Yeah. So anyways back to back to potatoes. Oh. Nicola is a, I grow Nicola because to me it’s the best tasting potato. It tastes a little bit nutty. It is a white-fleshed potato. And then I grow one called, hmm, let’s see here. Romance is another one I grow and that’s the red fleshed. I mean the yellow-fleshed red skin potatoes. Very pretty, very productive. I picked my potato varieties based on scab resistance and productivity and what they look like. I haven’t, I don’t grow the purple varieties. They’re not as productive as the others and they’re really prone to scab and I just don’t like to encourage that in the garden. Yeah. You really have to be careful with potato diseases. The thing people don’t, a lot of people don’t realize is that they used to always teach you that you should grow potatoes in very acidic soil, okay? Well, that’s really, I’ll argue with that. Okay. Because potatoes you can see how much greenery they put out and they need the same kind of nutrition that other plants need and if you grow in this acidic soil, they’re not going to be able to access the nutrients they need. You’re going to get smaller Yields, and it’s also very difficult to rotate and rotating is so important for a scab and other pests. So you can if you understand what causes scab. Scab is a Streptomyces Scabies is what it is, and and it grows it likes a dry environment. And the way to get rid of scab is to out-compete it and to have other bacteria come in that will move it away and take over. And so other bacteria will grow in moist soil and push the scab out of the way, and also if you do have a problem, you can do a molasses. So you can soak some mallasses. Actually, I just add sugar to it. A little blackstrap molasses, which is expensive. And then I just add the sugar in it and pour that over the roots and the other bacteria will go crazy, and they’ll wipe out any Scabies, and that will last for maybe a week or so, and then slowly the Streptomyces Scabies will grow back. And You do it again two weeks later. So you’re just checking your potatoes for the scab. Well, you know you have it, I don’t dig them up and check them. Do you just do it as a preventative measure? If this fall when I harvest, if I would happen to start seeing scab develop, because the first year you have it, It’s not very bad. You don’t mind. And then it gets worse and worse. So if I have some this fall, then I know next spring, I’m gonna do some molasses soaks. Okay. And really watch the watering so people, I used to think oh you grow potatoes on the land, you don’t need much, and you don’t worry about it. You don’t water them or anything like that, and that’s a recipe for scab, okay. So Cornell University has done a lot of research on potatoes and they have found that potatoes need the same kind of soil that your other vegetables need and that just do other things to prevent that. That’s really interesting and that brings up another question. Where, you know, when you have a question about something, what are your go-to resources to find answers? Well, the internet is great and I would stay away from Suzie Q’s gardening site because she’ll have a lot of rumors, as well as maybe some good information. But go to university sites, go to Cooperative Extension Service sites, go to research papers if you can. And then you’ll find really good information. .Edu sites and actually there’s a google search engine where you can limit your search just to extension sites too so I can share that with you guys after this workshop. That’s it. It’s a nice easy link. I think it’s just search.extension.org. So that’s pretty handy because there’s over a thousand different cooperative extension service websites. So you can just limit your search just to those ones. And some Universities have a specialist just on potatoes or just on, you know, broccoli, whereas in Alaska there’s just a few of us. So we’re more of generalists, and we don’t specialize in particular crops. Seed catalogs are a wonderful source of information. Yeah. And some of the seed companies will have specialists who will talk to you, if you called them. Especially if you have a commercial garden. They will pay you a lot of attention and you can get advice from them. So let’s talk a little bit more about just the garden as a whole. So it’s an organic garden and you’ve got the pollinators are just, you know, prolific here. You’ve got bumblebees. Can you talk a little bit about you’re just preventative pest prevention and disease prevention and just your garden as more of a whole? What your strategy is. Well.. To promote pollination and that kind of thing? So pest prevention means you need to know your pests and understand their life cycle so that you know how to work with them. And in Alaska, in the interior, we have few pests at this point. So we’re pretty lucky. The main pests we have are cut worms and root maggots, and besides moose, and hares, and dogs. And So understanding their lifecycle is important. I don’t know that you want me to go into that. Yeah, just about the whole, you know, how do you promote all of these beneficial insects in your garden? Well for these it’s nice to understand their life cycle. We have lots of bumble bees. They, when they come out, I mean they have to go all winter without much food, just a little bit of honey that they store for themselves. So when they come out they need to find blossoms and Willows are the earliest thing that will come up and provide them with pollen and nectar. And then we grow honey berries, and they’re one of the next things are very early. We’re picking those delicious honey berries. I don’t see any right now. I think we’re all done with them In June. They’re like blueberries. And then we’ve got other flowering shrubs and trees like Crab, Ornamental Crabs are wonderful and other things. I let a lot of flowers turn into weeds you can see these Violas, they seed themselves every year, and they’re a nuisance of a weed, but they’re sort of pretty, and things like that the bees like. And then your garden itself, herbs I grow, a lot of herbs and they produce lots of flowers for the bees. The raspberries, you know… That attract these pollinators and beneficially insects? And so generally, what you have this early during the summer to attract them early in the season, is when it’s nice to give them a helping hand and keep some of those willows around. Those early flowering will, as well as the different varieties flower at different times of year. Oh cool. Yeah. Well, I think we’re getting close to the end of this session, but I want to show you some of her fruit that she’s growing, as well as some beautiful pole beans and peas. So we’re just gonna take a second to walk down there. So let’s talk about the fruit and the berries here up here for a second. She’s got two different kinds of small cherries up here, so let’s get up behind you there up. You got a swivel around behind you. You’ve got to turn around. Yes, the other way. The other way. Turn the other direction. Sorry about that. So those are named Keene cherries, and and then she’s got Evans cherries, and then what type of apples are you growing? You know, this is an apple tree I got from, I think it was lions club, years and years ago or one of those donation things. I think it’s Nordland, maybe. And it’s.. It doesn’t store worth a hoot, but when the apples are totally ripe, we enjoy eating them. They’re small apples. We mostly make apple butter with them and things, cooking with them. That tree gives us about a hundred pounds a season. And a lot of times people will grow an apple variety on a crabapple root stock. Is that what this is? I don’t know, what, since others. There are a couple of rootstocks, Dole Go, I think, or whatever it’s called is a really good one. And probably, Claire Lammers was the expert, developed most of the fruiting trees and shrubs around here, and I had him come to one of my classes once. And wrote all that stuff down, but I don’t specialize in fruit. But it’s, and then the cherry variety she’s growing, It’s pretty small, but it’s delicious. I can say that from experience. And then she’s got a lot of different varieties of berries as well that she does, as well as you harvest blueberries. Yeah, lots of Blueberries. But let’s just quickly talk about these beautiful Scarlet Runner beans and very productive peas here, too. So Terry said the Scarlet Runner beans are really hearty variety and they they seem so pretty well with a little cold. So I grow a couple different kinds of Runner beans, which are a little different from pole beans, in that they don’t just pollinate themselves, but they’re very, they like, they use huge amounts of water. So they really like the cool, rainy weather. And.. when we get so much of that in August and September, that keeps us in beans at that later time of year, whereas my bush beans get that powdery mildew in that weather. I also grow other pole beans. Fortex is one you cannot go wrong with. FORTEX, and that grows a wonderful long, tender, round bean that is a regular pole bean, and is extremely productive. And there are some other varieties I grow. I’m always trying different things. What about your peas here? The most productive pea I found is one called Sabre. And that’s from Stokes. And that’s incredibly productive and long pods with about an average of 10 piece per good-sized piece per pod. I am moving over a large number of my peas are something called Dalvay. That’s from veggies. And the reason I do that is they have so many tendrils that I don’t have to tie them up to the fence, whereas, something like Sabre, It’s so productive, the weight of the peas pulls it away from the fence and I’m having to tie them up all the time. So Those Dalvays is almost as productive as Sabre, but Sabres the most productive one. I found I grow a couple of earlier varieties, just to get us some peas earlier. And Terry doesn’t need to use any type of season extension technique, but when do you start your beans inside? My bush beans are seated in the ground and the pole beans I’ll start inside April 20th, roughly. That’s when you’re starting quite a few things? Yeah. And then of course peas are direct seated. I mean, they’re just mulch here, and then they’ve got the weed fabric. So they do like the cooler weather that we have in Alaska. And we’ve had trouble this summer because it’s been so hot and dry the last few weeks, and that really makes it hard on peas. So I should have put another layer mulch down here because I, they get the first layer of mulch in the summer and by now It’s wearing off. It’s grass clippings and.. So anything to keep that soil damp and then we irrigate. And then it keeps the weeds down too? Oh, absolutely. And, yeah, could you just talk briefly about your drip irrigation that you’re use? Ah it a headache, but it saves us so much time. So we use, there are various companies that produce irrigation tape. I like the what’s called T tape or the tape kind, as opposed to that recycled rubber that you can get. Yes, like our hoses. They’re more expensive and harder to repair and you’re going to find you have to repair them periodically. Yeah, if your garden is this size, you definitely want to use the T tape. Yeah. And then if you can mulch over top of them, it really keeps up moisture in and it preserves the life of the T tape. The challenge for us is we have a well with limited amounts of water. We also collect rainwater in barrels and so getting enough pressure and then being able to get enough water at one time before the well runs dry. Yeah. Is the challenge, so irrigation is really critical to us. And again, if you do happen to be in Fairbanks I know we got folks from Eagle and all over the place, which is great, but if you are if you do happen to be in Fairbanks, Terry teaches two gardening classes a year. They’re each about what, eight weeks. Yeah, 16 hours. Two hours at a time. I took the class. It’s amazing. And so terry has a lot more knowledge to share than she can in just one hour. Yeah. So the fall class starts the last Monday of September. It’s at First Presbyterian church in downtown Fairbanks. 7th, 8th, and Cushman. And that’s from 6:00 till 8 p.m. every Monday night from the end of September through the very first part of November. And Then I teach one up at the University. And how much of a donation is it? So the church, if you can pay $20 to cover expenses for handouts and electricity all that stuff. So if can’t afford it, they say, just come anyway. Yeah, it’s a wonderful class and if you are in Fairbanks, you know, touch base with Terry and see if you come can come out and see her beautiful garden. Thanks Terry for for doing this. It’s amazing out here, and I’m very impressed with all you do. Thank you guys for joining. Next week we’re going to be over at the UAF Community Garden and we’re going to be talking about some of the challenges and advantages of starting a community garden. I know lots of different villages have community gardens, but may have some challenges with keeping them going. So we’ll just talk about some of the nuts of bolts of community gardening. Well, thanks again. Hopefully we’ll see you guys next time.

4 thoughts on “Terry Reichardt’s Garden – In the Alaska Garden with Heidi Rader

  1. Beautiful garden, lots of great info! Thank you for doing this interview, I have taken notes and will be putting your information to good use next year!

  2. Each region has it unique challenges, here in Central Oregon Cascades we get daily 30 to 40 degree F temperatures swings. Also frost can occur nearly every month of the year.

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