2018 Statewide Master Gardener Conference

Registration is now available for the upcoming Statewide Master Gardener Conference. The event will be hosted by the Master Gardeners of the Tanana Valley and held March 24, 2018 at Pike’s Waterfront Lodge. It is an all-day event featuring Keynote speaker Bob Bors from the University of Saskatchewan, who will be presenting about what is on the horizon for northern fruit development and how to tend our current crop of honey berries and cherries.

Les Brake, from Coyote Gardens in Willow, will present a dinner program on March 23 about his recent trip to Africa, and will also speak during the conference. The dinner program has an additional fee of $20 to cover the cost of dinner, but we hope you will come and bring your spouse as a fun and economical date night.

As in past years, lunch is included with registration and we will have lots of door prizes. This is sure to be a fun and inspirational event to get you prepared for the upcoming growing season. Register soon as we do expect to sell-out!

We are low-tech this year, so we can only accept registration by mail or in-person at the March 6th Master Gardener meeting. Registration forms and additional information can be found on our website at: https://fairbanksmastergardeners.wordpress.com/conference/


Conference overview

Learning about herb blends at the monthly master gardener meeting

The Master Gardeners of the Tanana Valley held their monthly meeting October 3, 2017 at the Food Bank conference room. The topic was drying herbs and using them in cooking.

Question: What’s a good way to dry and store garden herbs?
Answer: Snip them and put them in a paper bag. Leave them in a cool, dry place.
Once they are dried, store them in an airtight container.

Virginia Damron shared information on drying and storing garden-grown herbs and provided recipes for herb rubs and blends. She mixed an Italian seasoning blend for the group and provided samples for attendees to take home. Here are two of Virginia’s herb blends. The first is an Italian blend, and the other is an herb blend for seasoning wild game such as moose, caribou, or bison. Both are delicious! Enjoy.

Italian Seasoning Blend
2 Tbsp. each of: Basil, Oregano, Rosemary, Marjoram, Cilantro, Thyme, and Savory
1 Tbsp. Red Pepper Flakes (more if you like it hot)
Combine dried herbs in mixing bowl. Store in airtight jar. Run through food processor or herb mill prior to use. Grinding the herbs just before use retains their flavor.

Wild Game Herb Blend
1 Tbsp. each of: dried Parsley, Summer Savory, Marjoram, Rosemary, lemon balm (I used zest),
1 tsp each of: dried minced Garlic, Sage, Thyme, Mint
2 tsp crushed Juniper berries.
Mix all ingredients and store in airtight container away from heat. Variations: lemongrass, lemon verbena, or lemon basil are good additions. Juniper berries add a pleasing flavor so try to include them.

Rub onto a roast or steaks and let it sit in the frig for about 30 minutes before cooking.
(I made the blend without Juniper berries or mint and it was still wonderful. Use as many ingredients as you can, and don’t be afraid to give it a try, even if you’re missing something.)

-submitted by Barbara Sundberg

October meeting: Georgeson Botanical Garden planning

Help the Georgeson Botanical Gardens update their priorities and plans!

The Alaska Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) is teaming up with the Georgeson Botanical Gardens (GBG) to develop the next master plan for the garden, and we want your help! ASLA is offering professional assistance to GBG to help outline and strategize their priorities for future growth.

The gardens are a very important part of Alaska’s plant growing community as they are used for research, community events, education and outreach, all while offering a beautiful setting for residents and tourists to enjoy.

Please come to the next Master Gardener’s meeting to tell them how you use the Gardens currently and how you’d like to use them in the future!

Meetings start at 6pm on the first Tuesday of each month (Oct 4) at the Fairbanks Food Bank. 6-6:30 is social and snack time. The program will begin at 6:30. One agenda item will be to update the bylaws.

Please bring a non-perishable food donation as a thank you to the food bank for using their space


Handout from Terry’s Class Available

Did you miss Terry Reichardt’s presentation on vegetable gardening at the February Master Gardener meeting? Notes from the meeting have been posted online and can be viewed here or by visiting the “activities” -> “meeting minutes” tab. Terry is a wealth of information and inspiration for growing our own food in Alaska. In addition to many tips and vegetable variety suggestions, she even shared a recipe for falafel – with all ingredients coming from her own garden!

December meeting & Holiday Party

Holiday party!  Join us for a holiday get-together and gift exchange!  Bring a small gift (suggested price limit of $20) for a “white-elephant” gift exchange.  Gifts can be regifted, homemade, recycled, or garden themed.  Join us to celebrate the year and the company of your fellow gardeners. (Popular–and highly contested–items in the past have included a bowl of daffodil bulbs, a basket of homemade salsa and preserves, and bird feeders.)

Bring a small food item to share and please bring a donation for the Food Bank.

See you all there!


Regular Monthly Meeting: Tuesday, Dec 1st, 2015

Time: 6:00 p.m. social time, 6:30 pm party

Place: Food Bank (725 26th Avenue)

Vegan kale chips with cashews and peppers

For those that were at the monthly membership meeting in October, this is the recipe for kale chips that Nancy mentioned. Thank you for sharing Nancy!

Kale Chips by Averie – Raw Vegan Recipe for 1 Bunch of Kale

Vegan Kale Chips by Averie

Vegan Kale Chips by Averie

1 cup cashews (soaked for a few hours)
1 medium red pepper

2 cloves of garlic

juice of half a lemon (3 Tbsp)
I don’t use this. 1/4 c Nooch (Nutritional Yeast) or more if you’re a fan of nooch.
I don’t use this. There seems to be enough salt on the cashews. 1 Tsp Salt (or to taste)
I don’t use this. Optional 1/2 Tsp Agave or 1/2 of a medjool date

Wash the kale (as best you can – it is very water repellant), remove tough stalks and toughest leaf veins. Tear the kale into palmish-size pieces. Drain off your soaked cashews. De-seed the red pepper and cut into ¼ ths. Chop up a couple of cloves of garlic.

Put all the ingredients: cashews, red pepper, garlic, lemon jc (but not kale) into a Vita-Mix or Food Processor & Blend everything together.  It should be thick, but able to pour.

Apply the coating to the kale by putting some of the kale pieces into a large bowl and adding a lump of the mixed ingredients, stirring to get kale pieces well-coated.  Stir with a spoon as shown on the internet site.  Add more kale, add more mixture, stir some more.  When well-coated, lay out kale pieces on your sheet or pan.  Try not to overlap too much; a little is ok.

105 degrees oven/dehydrator for 4-6 hours. The lower temps will preserve the valuable enzymes of the kale. Watch them carefully, so they don’t burn, because if you think broccoli stench is bad, … burnt kale is even naaaastier.

Dehydrate (or bake) ‘til crispy-n-crunchy. Everyone’s oven temps and desired kale chip crispiness level differs. Optional: flip once after a couple of hours.

When done, I find it easier to remove with a spatula. Store any extras in a sealed container (not a problem!). I also use the spatula to put the flakes into the gallon-size freezer bag for storage.


This seems like a personal website, so you have to scroll down to see the kale recipe. There are good pics to go with the recipe.

CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS — Help needed with Vegetables & Fruits at Tanana Valley State Fair

Earn volunteer hours at the fair!

It’s fair time again, Aug. 7-16, and we need Master Gardener volunteers to help with Division 3A: Vegetables & Fruits.

  • Junior Perishables Entry Day is Thursday, Aug. 6, from 1 to 6 p.m. with judging at 6:30 p.m.
  • Adult Perishables Entry Day is Tuesday, Aug. 11, from 1 to 6 p.m. with judging at 6:30 p.m.

(Usually, a team of seven volunteers is needed for entry, and as many volunteers as possible for judging. Last year, judging went fast at less than 2 hours!)

What do you get besides volunteer hours? Junior Division volunteers will get a free pass for one day at the fair. Adult Division volunteers get a free pass for that day (Aug. 11). You also get to catch up with other Master Gardeners and you get to see what amazing produce is being grown in the Fairbanks area. And a reminder to our 2015 Master Gardener graduates:  This is a great way to earn hours toward your 40-hour volunteer commitment for an honorary Master Gardener badge!

Feeling creative? We have one more volunteer opportunity for you. We need ideas for decorating Division 3A to coincide with the fair theme, “Blue Jeans and Country Dreams.” We also need volunteers to help decorate Thursday, Aug. 6, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Last year was a lot of fun and we are looking forward to seeing and working with you. Contact us as soon as possible if you are interested. Please reply to Ronda at 474-2450 or rlboswell@alaska.edu with the following information:

  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Date(s) you wish to volunteer
  • Whether you’d like to help with decorating, entry or judging … or all three! 🙂

Thank you for volunteering!

Steven Seefeldt, Ag/Hort Agent

Darcy Etcheverry, IPM/Ag program aide

Ronda Boswell, Admin Assist

Renowned Horticulturalist, Dan Hinkley, presenting in Willow August 1, 2015

Willow Garden Club is honored to host Dan Hinkley, the well-known American horticulturalist, award-winning author, plant explorer, and lecturer.  He is best known for establishing Heronwood Nursery in Kingston, Washington, and Windcliff, on the Kitsap Peninsula. For the past twenty-five years he has traveled to all corners of the world searching out rare plants that would be suitable new introductions for the temperate climate found in the Northwest.  Dan will share stories from his most recent adventure searching for rare plants in China, Vietnam, and Myanmar.  He will also highlight examples of plants found on his trip, some of which could be grown in Alaska’s garden zones.  This is a presentation that every gardener in Alaska will enjoy.
Saturday, August 1, 2015 from 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM (AKDT) at Willow Community Center, Mile 69.5 Parks Hwy.

Entrance Fee: $12, Register online at danhinkleyinwillow.eventbrite.com

Learn more about the Willow Garden Club at: http://willowgardenclub.blogspot.com/

Therapeutic Gardening Group is looking for Master Gardener Support

WELCOME!! If you are new to the group I would like to share why we started this group and what it means to me and other members. I wanted to start with a core group of people, all different backgrounds, cultures and belief systems that felt a little bit or maybe even a lot, stigmatized. I myself suffer from physical and mental disabilities. I wanted it to be a growing experience for all of us and what better way to grow as a person than to grow a garden. I am pretty sure the analogy is obvious, a person starts as a seed just like a plant and it grows allowing for all of the things that it is exposed to in its life time and if it is exposed to love and peace and lots of sunshine it blossoms, if exposed to anger and harsh conditions it withers and eventually it just dries up. As we work towards our goal of a garden of our own I wanted to include everyone who wants to be a part of a therapeutic community. Learning to work together to grow fresh vegetables for people in need and for those that work with us. To volunteer and help our community in ways we are able. We do have a real therapist and we also have a peer mentor. We have plans to hopefully be working with some different master gardeners from UAF during our short growing spring and summer.
In 2015 we are hoping to be volunteering our time to support the Fairbanks Stone Soup Garden Project located at 12th and Lacey.  A Master Gardener Guidance would be greatly appreciated to assist in meeting the goal of harvesting 2,500 lbs of veggies from the local gardens to support the Stone Soup Food Program.
If you are interested please contact Teresa Lyons at anpndsystems@gmail.com or Sarah at stonesoupgardenproject@gmail.com
Thank you for your kind consideration
Teresa Lyons

2015 Warrior Garden

Good Afternoon,

I would like to invite ALL Master Gardeners to visit and please
pass on your vast knowledge to and for our 2015 Warrior Garden at the
Warrior Transition Unit on Ft Wainwright this summer. My name is John Knott;
I met Mr. Seefeldt and Taylor Maida back in 2012, they knew me then as
Sergeant Knott, I have since then retired and was blessed to work back with
our Sick Injured and Ill Transitioning service members again.

So, now as Mr. Knott, please free to contact me, if any of you need
time fulfilled on your 40 Hour volunteer commitments, use our garden as
demonstration garden, teaching us beginners!! Please let’s talk.


Mr. John D. Knott III
Social Services Assistant
Warrior Transition Unit
3410 Rhineland Ave
Ft. Wainwright, AK 99703
(907) 353-5271