Southeast Garden Conference 2018

By , January 5, 2018

I am really excited about this year’s garden conference in Haines!

We have a great group of gardeners here, many of whom have taken the Master Gardener courses. (Several could teach the Master Gardener courses.) We are loosely organized, but have gotten a lot of really good things to happen. There is an annual plant sale around planting time in the spring, a farmers market, and a radio show, The Garden Conversation, on our local radio station, KHNS, to name a few.

Our little community hosted the 2017 Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit last February. The organizers had planned to focus on larger scale farming, but many of us small back-yard gardeners and subsistence gardeners attended and got a lot out of the experience. One result was the motivation to have our own gardener’s conference this year.

Jeff Lowenfels, acclaimed long-time Alaskan gardening author, is the keynote speaker. He wrote a couple of  books I actually have on my bookshelf (and have read more than once): Teaming With Microbes: The Organic Gardener’s Guide To The Soil Food Web, and Teaming With Nutrients: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to Optimizing Plant Nutrition (paid links).

Yeah, that sounds a little dry if you just look at the titles, but Jeff’s writing is fun and easy to absorb. He explains the relationship between plants, microbes and the amazing life in the soil. This is good stuff for gardeners to understand how to nurture everything from houseplants to crops. Jeff has a new book out about fungi: Teaming With Fungi: The Organic Grower’s Guide to Mycorrhizae (paid link). I’m looking forward to getting that one too.

The 3 day conference focuses on growing local produce in our short, challenging growing season.  In addition to Jeff Lowenfels speaking, workshops cover Soil Health, Food Security, Composting, Gardening Practices, and Crop Storage and Preservation. The format includes break-out sessions with local experienced growers, community extension personnel and sharing forums. The organizers plan for many opportunities to network and share knowledge. Southeast Gardener’s of Alaska will host the conference.

If you are in or near Haines, it would be a fun event to attend. There’s no better time to be networking with other gardeners than before the weather warms enough to be actually gardening (see Does My Garden Need a Mission Statement?). Organizers offer an early-bird price if you sign up by January 21st.  I have been helping to coordinate hosts for the conference attendees from out of town.

Go here to find more information and sign up.

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