Big Lake, Alaska and The Susitna Valley News, Weather, Events, And More

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Monday, February 19 2018 @ 12:55 AM AKST

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Free On-Farm Food Safety Workshop to be offered in Palmer on June 19

Home and Garden(Palmer, AK) – The Division of Agriculture will offer a free, half-day workshop on June 19 to educate produce growers about food safety practices in the field and after harvest to minimize risk of foodborne illnesses. The workshop will be held at the Plant Materials Center in Palmer.

The On-Farm Food Safety Workshop will provide information, resources, and on-site examples for producers to learn about good agricultural and food safety practices at their farm or garden. Large and small growers, farmers’ market vendors, home gardeners, and any others interested in learning more about ways to grow, handle, and distribute fresh produce safely are encouraged to attend.
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Alaska Native Grass, Grain, and Flower Seed on sale April 14-25

Home and Garden(Palmer, AK) - The Alaska Plant Materials Center (PMC) will host its annual sale of foundation and selected classes of native grass, grain, and flower (forb) seeds from April 14 to 25, 2014. On April 14, the lists of the available seed lots – including quantities, varieties, and prices – will be posted on the Division of Agriculture and PMC web pages (http://dnr.alaska.gov/ag/ and http://www.plants.alaska.gov ).
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Top 5 Ways Asparagus, A Rite Of Spring, Can Still Surprise

Home and GardenI have yet to grow asparagus, but I won't quit.

"Asparagus means the beginning of spring. It's spring!" says Nora Pouillon, chef and founder of Restaurant Nora in Washington, D.C. Later this month, she'll revise her menu, and it will certainly include asparagus with salmon, and asparagus soup."

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Attracting Alaskan Bats

Home and Garden

by Dennis Garrett

This article will look at ways to attract Alaskan bats.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game states that at least five species of bats are known to make their home in Alaska. The little brown bat is the most common and widespread bat in Southeast Alaska and is the only species found in Southcentral and Interior Alaska. Bats are voracious consumers of flying insects, and what better reason to attract them? A single bat can eat 1,000 or more insects during a shift, or even in one hour!

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Controlling Annoying and Unwelcome Flies

Home and GardenIf you have plants, like fruit, or have indoor worm composters, then you know about those tiny harmless but annoying flying insects. The species is known generally as the common fruit fly or vinegar fly. Here's a tip to control them.

Make your own fruit fly trap by pouring some apple cider vinegar or diluted juice in the bottom of a jar, with a drop of dish washing liquid. Use a funnel or make one out of a sheet of paper. Stick the funnel into the jar and tape it in place. Flies will go in, but they will have a difficult time getting out, even if they wanted to. They will eventually land in the vinegar and the soap will make them sink. Empty and refresh the trap from time to time.

This trick also works to control flies and wasps during the summer. To trap wasps and related insects, add a small piece of raw meat to the trap. A used soda or water bottle makes a very effective trap.
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In the Year 2000

Home and GardenPeople had some wild ideas about what life in the Year 2000 would be like:

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DIY Terrarium

Home and Garden

You can make a terrarium with just a glass container, some gravel, soil, and some plants, and you'll enjoy a miniature indoor landscape. It's also an easy, low-maintenance project that's great for kids.

What You'll Need:


A glass container (Anything from a pickle jar to an aquarium).

Some rocks (pebbles, glass beads, aquarium gravel, etc).

Some dry moss.

Some soil.

Some plants that won't grow too large for your container.

Some creativity and imagination.

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DIY Worm Composting (or “Vermicomposting”) in Alaska

Home and Gardenby Dennis Garrett

for Alaska Home Tips (Used with permission of the author).

17 Jan 2014

Introduction: Using an inexpensive, easy-to-build worm composter, you can effortlessly turn kitchen scraps, mail, and other materials into one of the richest benefits your gardens could ever want, as well as reducing materials in the landfills. You can buy commercial worm composters, but it's easy to make your own. This article will cover the basics and what I used, but there are other methods and materials, even a 5-gallon bucket will work.
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Is It Safe To Use Compost Made From Treated Human Waste?

Home and Garden"About 50 percent of the biosolids produced in the U.S. are returned to farmland through a process that is heavily regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. Even so, some people – including the Sierra Club — remain skeptical of the use of this waste product in food production. They worry that heavy metals, pathogens or pharmaceuticals might survive the treatment process and contaminate crops. So what's an urban gardener to do in light of mixed perceptions about whether it's OK to use poop to grow your food?

I set out to investigate this, hoping that whatever I learned would help my garden decide whether to accept the donation or not."
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Which gardening catalogs are best for Southcentral residents?

Home and Garden"Ah, the new year and catalogs are the order of business for gardeners across the land. This is more of an educational task for gardeners than it is a buying opportunity. You can learn a lot flipping through a catalog, be it a hard copy or on the Web.

Happily, we start this week with something local. Every reader should at least take a look at the 2014 Alaska Grown Dahlia catalog from The Persistent Farmer (http://thepersistentfarmer.com). These folks are located in the Matanuska Valley and the dahlia tubers they sell are from the very same plant that produces those wonderful cut dahlias at the Anchorage Farmers Market every summer".
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