Saturday, Aug. 20, bring the kids and come to the 13th Annual Harvest Fair, organized by the Juneau Community Garden Association. The fair will be at the Community Garden (on Montana Creek Road), which was created by volunteers in 1990 and is part of the City's park system. Bring homegrown produce, fruit, or flowers, or your homemade goodies such as wild berry jam or zucchini bread, to enter (between 9 and 10:30 a.m.) in the judging. There's a Youth Division, too, so help your kids bring flowers, herbs, or vegetables they've grown themselves. Entries may be from households and gardens all over Juneau; they need not have been grown in the Community Garden. Brochures giving the categories for entries are available from the Cooperative Extension Service office (across from Safeway) during the preceding week, and at the Garden that morning. If you prefer not to have entries in the judging, you can bring your vegetables, fruits, etc. just for the separate display area. There is ample shelter in case of rain.
Bring your camera, as there may be many photo ops. Bring a little cash, as there will be hot food for sale (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and fresh veggies to take home. If you bring the family dog, make sure to bring a leash or tie-up rope. In case you may decide to rent a garden plot for next year, you might want to bring your checkbook, too. The 10 foot by 20 foot plots rent for the season for $30 plus some hours (usually five per year per plot rented) of volunteer work for the Community Garden.
Exhibit entries close at 10:30 a.m., and judging will be complete by 12:30, when those exhibits will open to public viewing. Meanwhile, you can listen to the musicians, eat lunch, visit the farmers' market (fresh veggies for sale 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. unless we run out sooner), and take a tour of the garden.
You may be amazed to see the range of vegetables Juneau gardeners have been growing, including many varieties you won't find at the grocery stores. Some say this year they have seen artichokes, soy beans, and fava beans growing in the Community Garden. There will be games for the children, and a horseshoe pitch. Stay for the awards ceremony and handing out of door prizes, 2 to 3 pm.
Gardening is a constant learning experience, even for master gardeners. Having a plot at the Community Garden is a great way to share your knowledge with, and learn from, other gardeners. It is especially helpful for newcomers to Juneau's climate regardless of how long they have gardened elsewhere than Southeast Alaska. Other great sources of information are the Cooperative Extension Service office (just beyond the Mendenhall Post Office), 465-8749. Your contact there until late August is Sarah Moore (direct line 465-8722, email firstname.lastname@example.org), who is working her second summer there. She provides free advice for local gardeners and householders with their questions on horticulture, garden pests or plant diseases, or household pests; and she has special expertise on invasive plants. Sarah plans to come to the Harvest Fair with a few of the many free leaflets the Extension Office provides for gardeners, but at the end of August she returns to college in the east for her senior year in a biology major.
Juneau gardeners are always experimenting and learning from each other. You can increase your gardening expertise by taking courses given in the winter, and by joining one or more of the gardening clubs: Juneau Garden Club (Carolyn Rasmussen, president: 789-9742, email@example.com); American Primrose Society -Alaska Group (Robert Tonkin, president: 463-1554, firstname.lastname@example.org); by renting a plot at the Community Garden, you automatically become a member of the Juneau Community Garden Association (Alan Davis, president: 586-3856, email@example.com). If you have gardened in the Southeast Alaska climate for two years, you may take the master gardeners training course in the winter, and you will automatically become a member of the Southeast Alaska Master Gardeners Association (George Campbell, president: 789-9661, firstname.lastname@example.org.) Some people from these organizations will be there Saturday. Come, get acquainted, and join in the fun at the Harvest Fair.