Well, we had a great season this year even though it was unusually hot and dry with temps in the high 80s most of the summer and no rain from late June through August. Now, however, it is Fall. The leaves are changing, the peonies are bronzing up, and I’m finishing up the field prep for next year’s planting.
Making raised beds
Here we are with almost 12 hours of daytime. Sunrise is at 8:02 and sunset at 7:54 and we’re gaining 7 minutes of daylight every day! Temps are in the 20s during the day and the -teens at night. Very shortly, we’ll be moving up that thermometer.
This picture was taken down by Anchorage a couple of days ago, on the Turnagain Arm while the bore tide was coming in.
Here in the midst of Winter, with snow up to our eyeballs, I like to look forward to Spring. It’s sort of hard to decide which I like best though. Can you guess?
Snow Blowing Dec 2012
Today’s weather was quite strange. Here in Alaska, we’re used to cold weather with temps in the -30’s, -40’s, and -50’s not at all unusual. However, this morning we woke up to temps in the +30’s. In fact, we melted quite a bit today and then it started to rain. Rain at almost freezing air temps with the ground below freezing only makes for dangerous driving and the local schools cancelled classes for tomorrow. However, there was a silver lining. We had a beautiful double rainbow in the north. Winter rainbows are seldom seen here because it takes “rain” and we usually don’t get that. So, here’s a picture of the rainbow as we look towards the northwest.
Read an interesting article in the November 2012 Sustainable Agriculture for Alaska newsletter on herbicides and their ability to both stay in the ground longer than expected and to travel to new locations via mulching. Again, the loss of the Agricultural Research Service unit (ARS) in Alaska is hampering our ability to grow crops here.
While peonies were not identified, specifically, other flowers and vegetables were impacted and the likelihood is that there would be a similar impact on peonies if the identified practices were followed. I’ve attached the article below.
Unexpected Transmitters of Herbicides
December 21st was the longest night of the year! Robert Frost, I think I heard sleigh bells. This picture was taken at high noon from our back porch. It was -41F.
High noon Dec 21st 2012
A former teacher from Salcha Elementary School got married this Fall back East. We supplied the peonies.
It’s definitely Winter now. Temperatures have been running in the -40s at night and getting up into the -30s during the day. Even for us, that’s a tad on the chilly side this early in the season. This is the type of weather we usually don’t have until January. The weather man is predicting (that means “guess”) that we will have warmer temperatures the first of the week. We’ll see. Thankfully, we did get about a foot of snow earlier last month because it doesn’t snow when it is this cold — no moisture in the air. Our babies are all snug in their beds with the white sheets pulled up tight over their heads.
Winter Peony Fields
On Sunday, we visited Oregon Perennials peony farm. We get most of our roots from them and it was very interesting to see how they dig the roots, process them, store them over the winter, and then ship them to us in the spring. We even got to see our babies in their chiller as they wait a Spring delivery. Only 7 months to go!
Peony Roots Stored at Oregon Perennials Farm ready for shipment
This week we went to Tacoma to attend the 2012 Winter Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers conference. Learned a lot at this one and got commitments from several folks to attend and present at our APGA Winter Conference in Fairbanks over Valentines Day. Tomorrow we will be taking tours of several farms in the Seattle area.