Kodiak Daily Mirror - Daily newspaper of Kodiak, Alaska
Garden Gate: Buzzing around with bumblebees
One foggy morning last week, I took an inventory walk around the garden. I paused in front of some late Iceland poppies that were starting to bloom, and watched numerous bumble bees (Bombus spp.) dive into the centers and “comb” pollen from the stamens. Their hind leg hairs (called corbicular fringe) were dotted with yellow grains of pollen. How impressive, I thought. Here I am, wearing boots, hat and rain jacket ...
Aug 19, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 70 70 recommendations | email to a friend
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Garden Gate: Damp weather arrives, brings gray mold
After two months of beautiful weather, we all wondered when the other shoe was going to fall. Sure enough, a strong, low-pressure system formed near Japan and roared over Kodiak Island, bringing wind, rain and fog. Meanwhile, while the gale was brewing, a sinister disease was lurking on tomato leaves, under flower buds and on ripening strawberries, waiting for the right conditions to make its move. And pounce it d...
Aug 12, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 82 82 recommendations | email to a friend
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Garden Gate: Comfrey is a great fertilizer
When it comes to feeding plants, nothing beats organic compost. You might recall a recent column when I sang praises for comfrey as a growable fertilizer. I promised to share more info at a later date. So let’s learn about comfrey, and why the Brits are so crazy about it … Good soil contains the ideal range of nutrients that are released slowly into the ground as plants need them. Often, however, there is a valid ...
Aug 05, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 66 66 recommendations | email to a friend
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Garden Gate: In gardening, life, it pays to sit back and learn
Have you seen the whales this summer? They’ve been active north of town, which makes for fun viewing and photographing. Recently, while out on the water with some friends, we shut down the engine and watched two humpbacks move close to the boat. It made me think of an experience I had years ago. It was a pleasant evening with hardly a ripple on the water. My camera’s autofocus had a tough time focusing on the smoo...
Jul 29, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 63 63 recommendations | email to a friend
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Garden Gate: Fighting aphids in the summer of flowers
The summer of 2013 may go down as the summer of flowers. Warm, gentle weather has been kind to blossoms that in a normal year would be pelted and shaped by pounding rains and shredding breezes. Of course, August still looms before us, but it doesn’t take away all that we’ve enjoyed up to now. Take time this summer to visit and celebrate the splendid displays in your neighborhood, downtown and in front of office bu...
Jul 22, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 66 66 recommendations | email to a friend
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Garden Gate: From garden to the grill, your veggies have a spot
Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night will stop an Alaskan from grilling. I have friends in Anchorage who happily don fleece jackets and heavy boots to BBQ their salmon in January. “It helps us get through the winter.” Grilled salmon is tasty, but it’s passé compared to the flavor veggies take on. The natural sugars in onions, garlic and bell peppers caramelize when grilled, which brings out richness n...
Jul 15, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 66 66 recommendations | email to a friend
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Garden Gate: Cloudy break provides time for chores
With summer in full swing, we tend to avoid indoor chores, sometimes to the point of it becoming a health hazard. Here’s an example: During an unusually long stretch of warm weather last month, a friend declared, “If it doesn’t rain soon, I’m declaring my house a disaster area!” It’s when rain and fog forces us inside that we come face to face with mountains of laundry and armies of dust bunnies. There are indoor ...
Jul 08, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 91 91 recommendations | email to a friend
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Garden Gate: Safe organic alternatives to kill slugs
Just when I thought last April’s cold snap killed every last slug, baby slugs are rearing their ugly little heads in my lettuce patch and potted marigolds. Sigh. I don’t always see the beauty in what occurs in the garden. Evelyn Underhill once said, “We have descended into the garden and caught 300 slugs. How I love the mixture of the beautiful and the squalid in gardening. It makes it so lifelike.” Lifelike sound...
Jul 01, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 96 96 recommendations | email to a friend
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Garden Gate: Watering plants is about paying attention
I once heard about a guy who worked summers in a high-end garden center. For the first two weeks on the job, he did nothing but water plants. Now the owner had good reason for starting his employees out this way: by teaching his staff how to properly water a plant, he was ensuring the health of his inventory. He also used this initiation period to find his best employees: people who paid attention. There are no ha...
Jun 24, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 106 106 recommendations | email to a friend
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Garden Gate: Tips to prevent the wind from damaging your garden
Editor’s Note: Marion Owen answers more of your spring questions this week. To submit a question, email mygarden@alaska.net. Q: We’ve moved to a home that has raised beds out front, but wow, does the wind blow through the property. We want to plant some trees on the property. Got any tips? A: You know those colorful garden art sculptures that you push into the soil and wait for the wind to make them dance, spin an...
Jun 10, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 123 123 recommendations | email to a friend
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