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, August 31, 2013

Farmer's Market Fun

The Farmer's Market is so much fun!

There's music...

A clown that makes the most amazing balloon animals I've ever seen...

My good friends selling raffle tickets for the beautiful quilt behind them to raise money for the Sitka Cancer Survivor's Society...

More good friends selling jams and bread and other wonderful things...

Yummy food....

 And my crazy neighboring vendor, Hope, selling beach asparagus, herbal teas, and edible seaweed.

I didn't sell a lot of produce today, just some Lemon Sorrel, Radishes and Huckleberry Syrup. I go to the Farmer's Market mostly for educate folks about the U-Pick Garden and to encourage them to come out and see what it's all about. If I would harvest everything that was ready and take it to the Farmer's Market then there wouldn't be anything left for the pickers, so I make a gift basket of all the things that are available for picking and have it on my table for display. I have everyone sign up for a drawing and the lucky winner gets the basket at the end of the day. And the lucky winner today was....

My good friend, Bonnie!!! Congratulations, Bonnie!

Friday, August 30, 2013

How To Pick Carrots

Carrots are no doubt the single most popular vegetable at the U-pick Garden. They are usually ready sometime in late July or early August and are so sweet and delicious! Jaren and her precious, adorable, little girls agreed to pose for some photos for a carrot picking tutorial......thanks girls!


1. Carrots are really easy to pick, but you have to remember that they cost 20 cents a piece regardless of size, so you need to know how to judge how big a Carrot is BEFORE you pick it. You cannot judge a Carrot's size by it's foliage. Bigger foliage does not always equal bigger carrots. Check out this one....

It has really tall foliage with fairly stocky stems, but the root is small. The best way to judge the size of a Carrot is to pull the dirt away from the base of the stem to see how big "around" the root is...

That doesn't tell you how "long" it is, but it's the best you can do. If you decide the carrot is not big enough you should cover the top of the Carrot up with dirt again, otherwise the top of the Carrot will turn green.

blurry action shot

2. Once you have selected the best carrot you can, just grab it by the stem and pull it will come out easily.

I usually only grow "Nantes" Carrot varieties. They are relatively short with blunt ends.

3. Children are welcome to pick carrots under the direct supervision of their parents. Carrots are fun, fun, fun to pick, and children have a tendency to pick handfuls at a time. These particularly sweet girls did an excellent job....most of the time they were finding bigger ones than I did!

4. Once you've picked your Carrots it's a good idea to go directly over to the hose to rinse them off.

The spray will wash the dirt off the freshly picked Carrots quickly and easily.....whereas if you wait until you get home to wash them the dirt will have dried on and you will have to scrub them to get all the dirt off.

5. Lastly, it's important to sit down in the sun for a few minutes to enjoy the fruits of your labor...

But I've got to warn can't stop with just one!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


I use my garden trowels all the time....almost on a daily basis actually. The only problem is that I can't seem to keep track of the stupid things! Most of them have unpainted wooden handles, so they blend in with the ground too easily and I have a tendency to walk away from them. Recently I got smart and bought a few new ones that have bright, colorful handles....I was proud of myself and ready to go....

Then yesterday while doing some weeding around the steps I thought I saw something....

So I got down on my knees to get a closer look.....

And look what I found!!!!

UGH!!!! 2 of my old trowels! Obviously I had set them on a step and then someone  kicked them down between the stairs and they landed on the ground ...out of sight.  Oh well, at least I have plenty of trowels now!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Cucumbers Are So Sneaky!

I have a couple of straggly Cucumber plants up high on a shelf in my sunroom and they produce a surprising amount of Cucumbers.

The interesting thing is that the Cucumbers growing on them stay small for quite a while..... and then all of a sudden they are big. Like they double their size 2 days in a row. I'm always surprised when I see a big one hanging on the vine where I was sure there was nothing the day before.

Yesterday when I crawled up on a chair to water the plants I saw something laying in one of the pots....can you see it?

That sneaky Cucumber plant....hiding a big juicy Cucumber right along the inside rim of the pot!


Monday, August 26, 2013


This is Kari Sagel.....

She is Sitkan on a mission....she is going to join with a few of her friends and they are going to eat 100% local for 10 days starting tonight. That's right, people.... 100%! No dairy, no sugar, no grains, no coffee. She has been to the U-pick garden a few times in the past week to get prepared and today she stopped by to pick up a few last minute things.

I am very supportive of eating local.... so my special contribution to her project was.....


That's right....I picked the God turnip...and it looked perfect...not a blemish on it.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Dog Is A Horse and 9 Other Random Tidbits

1. The neighborhood bear has been moving around a lot lately, so of course the dog has been barking alot too. She has barked so much that she is hoarse.....

2. We ate green beans for dinner the other night...and they were the best I've ever tasted!

3. I have decided to close the U-pick garden down earlier than I had initially advertised. I had originally planned on closing September 6, but I've decided on Saturday, August 31 instead, after the Farmer's Market. I need some time to haul salmon and seaweed....and frankly the pickings here are getting pretty slim.

4. My Mom has the most beautiful Hollyhocks growing in her flowerbeds....

She collected seeds from them for me and gave me a whole box full.  I scattered them all over my garden.....but it seems that ducks like tender little Hollyhock plants. Out of all the seeds I scattered, only 3 plants were sneaky enough to grow. This year they bloomed...and while they are pretty, they are not nearly as beautiful as my Mother's.

5. I left Levi in Anchorage and I didn't cry.....but I wanted to a little bit.

6. I absolutely LOVE Sunflowers.

I've seen "pollenless"  Sunflower varieties advertised in seed catalogs. I can't imagine Sunflowers without pollen. One of my favorite things to do is to watch a bee wallow around in a Sunflower absolutely covered in pollen. Most of the time the bees are just whizzing around my garden at a pretty good clip...but when it comes Sunflower season, they slow down and spend hours and hours on the same plant....almost drunk with pleasure.

 Now, someone more educated than me would probably say that the bees are lethargic and sick from being weighted down with all the pollen, or that the Sunflower's nectar is really difficult for them to extract....but I like to believe that they are just happy and content and that they love Sunflowers as much as I do.

 7. The pink Opium Poppies in my garden have outdone themselves this year....

photo courtesy of Sarah Eischen

Don't judge me.

7. Curving paths that disappear around a corner in the garden are so inviting.....

photo courtesy of Sarah Eischen

There are so many straight utilitarian lines in my garden that I need to remind myself to make things curvy and pretty here and there when I can.

8. I am obsessed with trying to find and/or make more flavorful food....

This Bruschetta mix is amazing......I think I can make something similar to it if I make a paste out of sundried tomatoes and add it to my pesto.

9. Most of the time when I go out to lock the ducks in for the night they are either grouped together at the entrance of the hutch are already inside the hutch waiting for me.... except for one recalcitrant  female. She just doesn't want to go in when the other ducks do, so I have to "chase" her in. And every time she runs in late, one of the males meets her inside the hutch and chases her down and pecks her! I think he's punishing her for being late!

10. The Fireweed is done blooming and the seed "fluff" is flying all over town....

Sadly, this means that Summer is over and Fall is here.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Levi's Summer Is Over

Levi had a great summer!  He worked, he played, he traveled, and he forged friendships....

(where's Levi's head in this photo?)

But now his Summer is over....he's starting college!

This morning, at an exceptionally early hour, we flew North.  He went through orientation, and is now officially a Freshman at the University of Alaska in Anchorage!  

We're very proud of him and have the highest confidence that he is going to succeed in whatever he does.