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Last Saturday’s plant sale brought dozens of folks out of the woodwork. And because we wore masks, the gathering of gardeners took on a masquerade look.

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On a recent chilly morning, I carried my coffee outside and walked around the garden. I spotted new buds on the cherry tree and salmonberry bushes.

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Last week, a gray whale made its way into the channel, and for a couple days it swam deliberate doughnuts and figure eights in front of cannery row, to the delight of local photographers.

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 Dear readers, I don’t need to tell you how much comfort gardening can be in a time like this. The rules of social interactions have changed, but the “rules” of gardening remain the same. And I have to wonder, since gardeners are accustomed to dealing with the quirks of nature, if they aren’…

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 After last week’s column about snow mold, followed by a stretch of pleasant weather, I decided it was time to cover a few Q&As. (I’m writing this from a safe distance, of course).

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A few days ago, I took a walk around the garden. The sun felt warm and nourishing. As I pulled a weed next to a tired spinach plant, I glanced down at the ground and spotted a purple crocus. Yawning in the sunlight, it was a beautiful sight, in spite of the company it kept (twisted blades of…

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Spring is near, but Old Man Winter might have other ideas. So when the weather outside is frightful, it may be time to consider exercise options. That is, head to the gym, the pickleball court, a Pilates class, chair yoga or any number of fitness zones around Kodiak.

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Last week I introduced the Big Three — nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) — as part of our crash course in fertilizers. Today we’ll cover the secondary elements: calcium, magnesium and sulfur, plus the rest of the supporting cast.

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I adjusted my goggles over my eyes and hair and started doing laps in the pool at Furnace Creek in Death Valley. The pool is fed by a natural, underground spring, and manages to stay at a cozy 85 degrees, which is pretty refreshing considering the average high temperatures in the area can re…

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February is a lot of things. There’s President’s Day and Black History Month and National Cherry Month. Oh, and it’s time to start tomato seeds.

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February is here and we’re one month closer to the gardening season. What’s the best way to get through the last vestiges of winter? How about starting seeds indoors? What kind of seeds you ask? Well, it’s time to start plants like celery and lobelia, but I’m thinking bright and cheery here:…

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I shared this story years ago because it helped introduce a topic that confuses many people: Seed starting. And since we are approaching that time of year, I’d like to share it here. If anything, to lift us out of a winter slump by thinking about green, growing things.

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No voyage from South America across the Drake Passage to Antarctica is complete without celebrating the first sighting of an iceberg. On cruise ships, a bottle of fine champagne is awarded to the first guest to inform the officer on the bridge of the sighting.

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Gardening today is relatively easy. Even in Kodiak. We can walk into a local store and choose from a staggering variety of seeds. Minutes later, we’re back in the garden. We tear a corner of a seed packet and tap the tiny seeds out in a straight row. Sprinkle a little water. Done.

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Last week I shared my master lists of easy-to-grow vegetables, flowers, and herbs. I made a boo-boo however. I accidentally omitted one of my favorite veggies from the list. It’s a leafy green veggie that should be on your nutritional radar—and odds are, you’ve never heard of it, let alone, …

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One of my favorite gardening books begins like this: “The conversion of our apartment from a normal, barren city cave into a tropical jungle began quiet by accident one bleak witner day…”

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According to a substantial amount of health care research, there is a distinct link between nature and healing. Did you know, for example, that hospital patients with plants in their room suffer less fatique and pain? And a study of  children with Attention Deficit Disorder who played in in …

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Every major holiday has its classic color scheme. Halloween decorations are generally orange and black. Hanukkah colors are blue and white while Kwanzaa colors are black, red, and green. Valentine’s Day, as we well know, is all about reds, whites, and pinks. And every year around Christmas, …

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Why is it so many of us get flustered while taking pictures during the holidays? Maybe because family get-togethers add another layer of pressure? Or maybe someone just handed you their smartphone and said, “Here, you take it!”

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The holidays can be a busy time. Yet as we make our way through the various events, I think it’s important to embrace ways to make a positive impact to ourselves — which ultimately radiates out to our neighbors, our gardens, our community, and our world. 

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First off, Merriam-Webster set me straight. Again. The plural of cactus is — are you ready? — cactuses, cacti and yes, cactus.

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It was approaching Christmas, in the late 1970s. I had just returned to my homeport of Seattle after a 3-month voyage aboard a research ship. I lived aboard the vessel, but for the holidays, I wanted a break from steel bulkheads. But where to go? 

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A few years back, we hosted The Dinner. So, it was my job to make gravy. Easy-peasy. I’d made enough gravy in my life to fill a hundred gravy boats. (Google “gravy boat”).

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When I go to the grocery store, what do I get? Food? Well, yes. And questions. This last week, I was corralled in the coffee and tea aisle with a couple good ones. So let’s dive in, shall we?

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As we enter the holiday season, when each calorie seems to double when you’re not looking, cooking takes center stage. I can only speak for myself, but it seems that, in the fall, I chop, dice, shred, and grate more than usual. Maybe it just seems like that because I’m spending more time indoors.

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My food dehydrator has been working overtime lately. Today, it’s tomatoes and bananas. Kale is next. As I researched how to dry kale, however, I cam across and article that listed kale as one of the most contaminated foods in the United States. How can that be?

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 October is a buy time in the garden. So today I want to cover two topics: harvesting potatoes and overwintering potted plants.

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What do red bell peppers, broccoli, and papayas have in common? They’re uber sources of vitamin C. But there’s another source of vitamin C. Here’s a hint: It’s located right at our doorstep.

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My artist-friend Kate hopped over to the island last week for a visit. She was in search of old fishing floats, on which she paints nautical scenes, blending starfish, octopuses, seaweed and other ocean subjects with watercolors. By the end of her stay however, Kate was complaining of a mild…

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Fall is in the air. The signs are all around us: Puffins have departed for the open ocean, salmon fishermen are hanging up their gear, the top of Barometer is topped with gold, and I haven’t seen a bumblebee since September 10th. 

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 Winston Churchill once said, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”

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Ah, September in Kodiak. There is so much going on: School and salmon, bumblebees mating (I cover that at the end), house cleaning (catching up after our stretch of sunny weather), harvesting and sowing. 

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During a normal Kodiak summer, our Emerald Isle is a refuge for travelers escaping the heat of Texas, Florida, Iowa and the like. But when Kodiak tied the all-time record of 86 degrees F. last week, even our B&B guests requested fans to cool down their rooms.

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There’s a saying that we can live four weeks without food, four days without water, and four minutes without air. Today I’d like to talk about water, or the lack of it, and how it affects plants.

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In 2017 we spent a month in southeast Australia. One weekend, we drove from Melbourne south to the Mornington Peninsula, home to historic Heronswood Gardens. The grounds are world-famous, for its Fork to Fork restaurant, and for its status as the first public garden in Australia to be certif…

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Clock time is a human invention. Unlike natural time, like the rotation of the earth and a leaf flowing down a river. Still, it’s August and we can’t help but notice that the sun rises and sets on a different notch in the trees now, compared to June. During August, we will lose 2.3 hours of …

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KODIAK — Do you remember the song “Edelweiss” from the “The Sound of Music?” Written by Rodgers and Hammerstein, “Edelweiss” turned out to be one of the most beloved songs in the musical.

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KODIAK - This time of year, you can see them standing alongside our roads. Out-of-towners gesturing and aiming their smartphones over fences and at sides of buildings. Listen carefully and you might hear comments that go something like this:

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KODIAK — It is Independence Day tomorrow, and the senior center will be celebrating with the Annual Stan and Nita Nelson BBQ.  Each year on this holiday, we celebrate the Nelsons with a holiday BBQ to honor them for donating part of their estate to the center’s endowment fund. 

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KODIAK — Orange hawkweed is not just a pretty flower. It’s terrorizing home gardens and wild spaces from Alberta and Alaska to Oregon and Australia. 

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KODIAK — Marty picked rhubarb the other day and carried the tote full of trimmed stalks to the front door. “The plants are really healthy and big this year,” he said jubilantly. “But so are the slugs.”

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KODIAK — I stood on the lawn near the compost bins and faced a group of summer school students. They were on a field trip from Main Elementary School to learn what makes good garden soil.