STELLER BOTANICAL HEALTH:
Gustavus Grown Vegetables Saturdays & Wednesdays
12:30 pm-3 pm
Stay up to date on what is ready for harvest, workshops or other relevant events of interest. We hate junk mail and do our best to limit communications.
We begin planting seeds in March in order to sell starts around mid-May. We have an array of vegetables and herb varieties that do well in Southeast Alaska.
We sell row cover, bioplastic, potting soil, cowpots, seeds, organic fertilizers, fish compost, fish fertilizer, bird netting, and electric fencing.
Special Orders accepted.
We are in our sixth year of saving our own seeds.
And we sell seeds appropriate for Southeast Alaska's cool growing season.
We have signed the safe seed pledge:
"Agriculture and seeds provide the basis upon which our lives depend. We must protect this foundation as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations. For the benefit of all farmers, gardeners and consumers who want an alternative. We pledge that we do not knowingly buy, sell or trade genetically engineered seeds or plants.The mechanical transfer of genetic material outside of natural reproductive methods and between genera, families or kingdoms, poses great biological risks as well as economic, political, and cultural threats. We feel that genetically engineered varieties have been insufficiently tested prior to public release. More research and testing is necessary to further assess the potential risks of genetically engineered seeds. Further, we wish to support agricultural progress that leads to healthier soils, genetically diverse agricultural ecosystems and ultimately healthy people and communities."
Jen and Larry are avid gardeners who have grown all the vegetables we consume for more than 20 years. For many of those years our garden was in a small valley outside of Fairbanks, where the already painfully short summers were cruelly truncated by cold air settling in the valley bottom on still days.
Some years we experienced frost every month of the year. We were forced to considerable lengths to keep our garden vibrant.
Having moved to the far more convivial climes of Gustavus nine years ago, we’ve been pleased with the longer growing season and permafrost free soils. Jen’s zeal at new growing opportunities quickly swelled our garden to the point that we began selling produce in 2015.
Jen studied Sustainable Agriculture at Sterling College , currently recognized as the top college in the nation for serving food that’s local, sustainable, humane, and fair trade. From there she worked on organic and biodynamic farms across the country until settling in Alaska where she has continued to keep her hands in the soil, working for years with John & Jo Papp at Papps’ Produce where potato varieties abounded, and whose legacy now is continued by their daughter at Bender Mountain Farm
Our lone foray into inorganic chemicals:
with perhaps undue relish, Larry sprays a dilute ammonia solution directly on each of Satan’s minions, THE SLUG!
Thanks to the small farm friendly folks at the USDA, we are not allowed to use the most common and obvious adjective to describe our growing practices without paying through the nose, so we shall describe them instead and let you fill in the blanks. We employ many of the standard practices of the aforementioned unmentionable word to keep our soils healthy and productive, to-wit:
Living near the bountiful waters of Icy Strait makes it much easier to build soil fertility without exogenous inputs. We mix a couple tons of seaweed/leaf mixture into the beds in the spring, and add more as a top dressing in the summer.
We build a couple sizable compost piles each year. We mix modest amounts of fish waste in the center of the pile, for enhanced nutrients and fertility.
We use ash from the wood stove to sweeten the soil.
The beds are covered with leaves in the fall.
Jen has designed year round outdoor vermi-bins. Temps in the worm bin have stayed between 60F (great) to 100 degrees F (yikes too warm), even during long cold spells.
We spray an active aerated compost tea onthe soil and plants. Agronomic research inrecent years has revealed the critical rolethat microorganisms play in making soil nutrients available to plants. We highlyrecommend the book Teaming with Microbes by Jef Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis,which does a good job of explaining the science for the lay person and describing thesimple steps that can bring the magic to your garden.