Seeds and Growing Tips

Here you’ll find practical information about finding seeds to fit our Alaska conditions, starting seeds, potting media, light banks, seed potato sources, and seed libraries.

Happy sowing and growing!

Learn More About Seeds and Growing


Author Ellen Vande Visse The Scoop on Coir (Coconut Husk Growing Medium) Coir is coconut husk fiber. Two other names for this same material are Coco peat and Coconut coir. Coconut husks are washed and dried multiple times, then compressed into dry bricks. Coir is a renewable resource, and once considered a waste product. Compare this to the damaging effects of harvesting peat moss for peat-based potting media on the market. Peat bogs take centuries to regrow once strip-mined. Reasons to buy coir instead of…. More sustainable resource than peat Coir is pH 7 compared to peat moss, which is acidic Coir provides excellent moisture retention, soil drainage, and aeration Costs about 1/3 the cost of ProMix for same volume …

The Basics of Starting and Maintaining a Garden

Author Ellen Vande Visse The Basics of Starting and Maintaining a Garden There are many benefits to starting a garden. Not only are there the health benefits to consider, but there’s no limit to the knowledge you can acquire by adopting gardening as a lifelong hobby. However, before you go to the store and pick up a bunch of plants, you will need to plan and prepare for your new garden. Both starting and maintaining a garden takes a lot of work. Here are some tips and resources that can help you get started on solid ground. Choose What to Grow First of all, decide what you want to grow in your garden, as it will determine how you approach …

Seed Potato Sources 2020

Author Ellen Vande Visse Seed Potato Sources 2020 The worst thing you can do to all of us … is to plant the potatoes that you bought at the grocery store. You threaten us all with spreading Late Blight—the same disease that caused the famine in Ireland. IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM STATE OF ALASKA To avoid a potato with the late blight, purchase your seed potatoes from a reliable source that have been inspected and certified clean. For further information you may contact the Palmer office of the State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Agriculture at 745-7200. Listed below are the approved greenhouses for the Mat-Su and Anchorage area: Note: this list is old but somewhat helpful so …

Potting Media Recipes

Author Ellen Vande Visse My Favorite Organic Potting Media Those Available in SouthCentral Alaska Stores How to Make Your Own UPDATE Incorporate: From a small volume of soil, robust and resilient plants need a complete profile of nutrients and micronutrients, porosity for root development and water retention, adequate drainage and pH buffering capacity. Additionally, the potting soil those plants will utilize should be free of weed seed, provide microbial species richness (a fascinating topic with a growing volume of scientific information) and the opportunity for that species richness to turn into beneficial species abundance. Organic growers get rapturous about living soil. Sterile potting mixes lack the necessary and beneficial soil biology to feed your plants, hold water, and protect seedlings …

Light Banks

Author Ellen Vande Visse Light Banks For Indoor Seed-Starting & Maintenance Old style shop lights Fixture: a shop light that is four feet (48”) long and holds 2 fluorescent bulbs each that are 40 watt. Fluorescent bulbs: one warm and one cool light, 40 Watt (=40 W). Never mix 40 watt and 32 watt bulbs in the same fixture! You’ll burn the ballast. More modern shop lights 1. There is no need to spend the extra money for a “Full Spectrum” bulb. 2. Moreenergyefficientshoplightsareavailablenow. 3. Don’t mix fixtures and bulbs. Choose the bulbs that match the watt called for on the fixture you have. Fixture: a four foot length shop light Here is one kind of recommended fixture found at …

How to Make Soil Blocks

Author Ellen Vande Visse How to Make Soil Blocks A list of Short Videos on Soil Block-Making Raindrop Farm YouTube : How to Use a Soil Blocker for Seedlings and Plant Starts 7.36 min Feb 2020 Johnnys Selected Seeds: How to Start Your Seed with Soil Block Makers under 3 min Peaceful Valley Farm Supply ( How to Start Seedlings in Soil Blocks 3.5 min

Finding Seeds for Alaska

Author Ellen Vande Visse Finding SEEDS for Alaska Seeds- how to choose? There are lots of choices. Ask yourself, What quantity of seeds do I need—a few pots or large garden? Are there specific varieties that I want? Do I need some seeds before seed racks are available—such as onion, lobelia, celery? Seeds—Where to Find? Local seed racks: grocery store and garden center seed racks, Alaska Mill & Feed seed racks. Racks include flowers, vegetables, & herbs. Seed swaps Seed Company Catalogs & their on-line ordering systems. Advantage from seed racks in stores: You get a general selection, with the most common, popular seeds. Buy immediately, without ordering and waiting. The racks also offer varieties that will not necessarily do …

Seed Potatoes 2021

Author Ellen Vande Visse Seed Potatoes 2021 GK ‘Raising It Up’ Farm GK “Raising it Up” Farms Trapper Creek, AK Email: Gregory Kalal 8621 Witherspoon Circle Anchorage, AK 99504 Phone: 907.339.1966