THE U-Pick GARDEN will be closing August 20th. This will be the last year the garden will be open to the public. Next year I'll be operating as a CSA, supplying about 20 regular customers with weekly boxes. Thank you for your support over the last 8 years, but it's time to try something new.

To get a copy of my book, "How To Grow Vegetables In Sitka, Alaska" just give me a call....The books are $20 plus tax. If you live out of town and want me to mail you a copy, you can mail a check for $25.60 to:

Lori Adams
P O Box 6021
Sitka, Alaska

Down To Earth U-Pick Garden is located at 2103 Sawmill Creek Road in Sitka, Alaska. It is open usually from mid-June through late August. Hours are Monday-Saturday 12:00 to 6:30. On Farmer's Market Saturdays I am not open until 2:00. Children are welcome but may not run through the garden or chase the ducks. If you have any questions you can contact me, Lori Adams, at 907-747-6108 or 907-738-2241. My email address is

Saturday, June 29, 2013

10 Random Tidbits

1. This plastic frog is one of my garden ornaments....

I got him at a garage sale, and I'm really quite fond of him.

At least once a day I find him like this....

The ducks just seem to feel compelled to look under him every day for the slight possibility that there is something to eat underneath him.

2. Levi is in Europe with his friend, Ryan....

I feel so bad for him.

3. Garlic scapes are delicious....I can't stop eating them.

 I made a pesto out of them and feel compelled to slather it on everything. I love having the residual taste of garlic in my mouth all makes me feel like I've just eaten at Ludvigs. Garlic gives me a sense of well-being. Sometimes I even put it in my smoothie in the morning....don't knock it until you try it. It especially tastes good in a vanilla/almond based smoothie.

4. The weather has been so nice that the cat actually voluntarily spends quite a bit of time with me outside.

5. We get a lot of bike riders going by our house. Many of them are tourists taking bike tours. It is not unusual for them to exclaim over the ducks and/or my vegetable signs down by the road, "Oh, look at the ducks!" or "Honey, they're selling lettuce and peas!"  The bike riders rarely ever notice me because they are so focused on the ducks and/or signs, and I'm usually kneeling down somewhere in the garden, so I get to overhear all sorts of stuff. A couple of days ago an obviously British lady went bking by at a leisurely pace and she said in a sing-song, Mary Poppins voice, "Ello, ducks!.... Ello Radishes!" I was completely and utterly charmed.

6. It's not nice to sit in your food....

7. If you leave anything... I mean ANYTHING on the ground out in your garden in Southeast Alaska, there will be a slug underneath it....

8. Pink-Pink is still working hard to incubate the eggs.

(She has her head turned backwards with her beak tucked underneath her wing)

Today was the 28th day she's been on them. So far there is no peeping or movement underneath her even though I checked on her about a million times today. I can't wait to see 14 ducklings running around!

9. For about a week you couldn't go near the Raspberry patch because there were so many Bumblebees.....

The Raspberries are going to be AWESOME this year!

And finally....

10. I put fresh peppermint leaves in my chocolate smoothie yesterday and it changed my life.....

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Honk If You Like Pesto

I'm on a major pesto kick this summer. I just can't get enough of it....Lemon sorrel pesto, basil pesto, garlic green pesto, and garlic scape pesto......

And here is Mr. Adams to demonstrate how to harvest garlic scapes and garlic greens!


Garlic is harvested in August, but around July 1st the plants put out a curly flower stalk called a "Scape".

The scape, if left on the plant, will open up into a flower and produce seeds. This activity takes alot of energy, so it's important to remove the scape to be sure the plant is putting all of it's energy into producing a large bulb of cloves. Fortunately, these scapes are funky and fun and absolutely delicious!!! 

1. Choose a young, tender scape that is plump and curled. Old scapes are tough and fibrous.

2. Use a knife or clippers to remove the scape from the plant right above the last leaf blade.

3. You can use the scapes in pesto, or chop them up and put them in a stir-fry. I've even been known to eat them raw for a snack while I'm working in the garden!


When I have tiny garlic cloves I plant them in a separate bed with about 1-2 inch spacing. These cloves sprout up in the Spring and look just like green onions. They can be harvested early in the season - long before garlic bulbs are ready.

1. Select a garlic green.

2. Garlic greens grow long, strong roots, so it's important to use a trowel to dig them up. If you try to pull them up without using a trowel they will likely snap off.

3. Be sure to run the trowel straight down along side of the garlic green rather than at an angle, to be sure you don't cut the garlic green in two pieces.

4. Once the trowel is deep enough in the soil you can pry it up with one hand and pull up the garlic green with the other hand.

Garlic greens can be used just like green onions, but they taste like garlic!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

How To Harvest Lettuce......A Tutorial

A friend recently suggested that I post some tutorials on how to harvest vegetables here at the U-pick garden. I think it's a terrific idea, so every once in a while I will post one and copy it to a new tab labeled: "Tutorials".

My good friend, Lisa Ropp, who I have known since my earliest childhood, agreed to show us how to pick lettuce.

Thanks, Lisa!

Out here at the U-pick I grow only "cut-and-come-again" lettuce.....mostly leaf and romaine varieties. If harvested correctly, these varieties will provide 2-3 cuttings.

1. Select the lettuce plant you want to harvest and gather the entire plant together with one hand.

2. With the other hand, use a serrated knife to cut the entire plant off about 3 inches above the ground.

3. It's important not to cut the plant too low...if the heart is damaged the plant will not be able to produce more leaves.

4. Slice all the way through the plant being sure not to leave any leaves uncut, or damage any of the surrounding lettuce plants.

And that's it!

Lettuce was harvested from these plants just 2 days ago and look at how much they've grown back already!


When you cut leaf lettuce a white substance can be seen oozing from the cut edges. This substance is quite bitter, so for best taste results you should immerse the lettuce in a sink full of cold water as soon as you get home for at least 5 minutes to draw it out.

All of the greens here at the U-pick garden are $10.00 for a full grocery bag. Greens include: spinach, lettuce, kale, turnip and beet greens and arugula.

Monday, June 24, 2013


WOW! it was a busy, busy day at the u-pick! The weather was AWESOME, but I think it's forecasted to change soon. That's okay, the plants need rain, and I could use the break.

The exciting news it that there are baby radishes to pick now! I have had the worst time growing radishes! Everyone says it's so easy, that they will grow in any type of soil, but I have never been able to grow more than a few decent radishes each year. Every year I try again and I get a few more than the year before, but most of them are tall and leggy with big tops and skinny bottoms. Many times I have been discouraged and tempted to give up, but the desire to grow decent radishes is strong, and every year I try it again.

Well, I think I'm finally starting to get the hang of it becaue my radishes this year look the best yet!

I used the seeder this year and I love how evenly it spaced the plants.

I've been snacking on these little beauties all day...don't you just love radish burps?

 It just goes to show that it pays to NEVER give up!

Day And Night

Today was another wonderfully sunny day so I spent the afternoon weeding the pea patch.

The peas look great this year.....but they aren't as tall as they usually get, and one variety is blooming already. I wonder if it's because I hadn't added any lime up until today? Oh well, the lime will take effect soon and the plants look really lush and healthy.

One of my favorite times to walk in the garden is at night. It's so still and everything looks so BIG and LUSH and ALIVE. Sometimes I feel like the plants are watching me, like they are wild and .....well, I can't really explain it.

 This is what I push past to get into the hutch to feed the ducks.....

When I head out the door at night to put the ducks in I always tell Mr. Adams, "If I'm not back in a half an hour, come looking for me."

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Weather Is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful

I can't believe how wonderful the weather has been lately...It couldn't be better if I ordered it myself!  It's usually overcast or foggy in the morning, maybe it even rained a little at night, then it clears off about the time I open at 11:00. It's not overly hot, it's not too's perfect!  The flowers and vegetables and bees are just loving it. The plants are getting HUGE and are lush and happy.  *SIGH*  ...... happiness.

I weeded in the carrot bed again today.

Finished the whole bed right at closing time. The first planting had came up strong, but something ate alot of the seedlings, so I broadcasted some more seeds today. Two steps forward, one step back...that's what I always say.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Take Time To Smell The Roses (aka pulling weeds)

It always amazes me how little time I actually get to spend working with plants. The bulk of my work activities involve amending soil, building beds, sterilizing pots, or working on some structural project. Now that the garden is officially open I have most of the "building" stuff done, and it's possible for me to slow down a little once in awhile and work with the plants. So it was with great pleasure that I sat down today on a bucket and pulled some weeds in the carrot bed. I noticed while I was sitting there how quiet it was (when cars weren't zooming by at full speed of course). I never notice the quiteness when I am busy scurrying around.  I could hear a veritable chorus of tweety birds that up until then I had not even noticed! There are a couple of Mourning Doves in the area, and I could hear them calling to each other. There was the stealthy "pitter-patter" of duck's feet as they worked the ground on the other side of the bed from me, and a steady hum in the air as the bumble bees busily pollinated the raspberry blossoms. Ahhhhhh......for me, weeding is like therapy.

I hope you get the chance to slow down a little too and "smell the roses."

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tomato Plants Are Tough!

I have the bad habit of procrastinating.....I NEVER get my tomatoes planted early enough. It gets to be bear hunting time and the tomatoes will be languishing in 4 inch pots for months!  It's a good thing that tomatoes are tough. Here is what they looked like just last week........

That is a crime.

When I transplant tomatoes that are long and leggy I trim off all of the lower branches....

Put some dirt in the bottom of a large pot, lay the root "square" on top of the dirt, and curl the long stem around inside the pot up to the upper branches....

Sometimes the stem breaks, but most of the time it curls around without any trouble. (Note: I have tomato plants right now with broken stems....and as long as a portion of the stem stays connected the plant continues to live!) Maybe you have noticed that when a tomato plant stem touches the ground it grows roots and "plants" itself. Well, that's what the buried stem will do, it will sprout roots. Not all vegetable plants will do this.  (I KNOW, tomatoes are not a vegetable, they are a fruit......whatever)

Lastly, I fill the pot with dirt and it's ready to go!

Ha! It looks great and my ineptness is hidden!

This year, even I had to shake my head at myself though........look at how out of hand this variety got...

Some of them were 6 feet long, and I had to curl the stems into more than one loop

Even I think that is ridiculous.

Note to self : Transplant earlier next year!