The 12th Annual Harvest Fair, organized by the Juneau Community Garden Association, will be held Saturday at the community garden on Montana Creek Road.
Bring homegrown produce, fruit, or flowers, or your homemade wild berry jam or zucchini bread to enter in the judging between 9 and 11 a.m. There's a youth division, too, so kids can bring flowers or herbs they've grown themselves. Entries may be from households and gardens all over Juneau; they need not have been grown in the community garden. People can even enter garden-related photographs and perhaps take home one of the ribbons and prizes.
If it's raining, come anyway; there's a large, new shelter building, thanks to Sandy Williams and crew.
Bring your camera; you'll wish you had when you see the kids' faces as they win their prizes, or after they've been into face painting. You may want some photos of the fiery rainbow of dahlias blooming now, entirely filling one of the 10-by-20-foot plots - or perhaps the blooming monardas (horse mint) will capture a frame of your film roll.
Bring a little cash, as there will be items for sale from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.: food to eat there and fresh veggies to take home. In case you may decide to rent a garden plot for next season, you might want to bring your checkbook, too.
Exhibit entries close at 11 a.m., and judging will be from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Meanwhile, people can visit the farmer's market, with fresh veggies for sale from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. They also will be able to eat lunch and take a guided tour of the garden. After the judging, the exhibits will be open to the public from 12:30 to 4 p.m. Some may be amazed to see the variety of fruits and vegetables Juneau gardeners have grown this unusually warm summer. Stay for the awards ceremony and the handing out of door prizes from 3 to 4 p.m.
Gardening is a never-ending learning experience, even for master gardeners. Having a plot at the community garden is a great way to share knowledge with, and learn from, other gardeners. It is especially helpful for newcomers to Juneau's climate regardless how long they have gardened somewhere other than Southeast Alaska.
Other great sources of information are the Cooperative Extension Service office, just beyond the Mendenhall Post Office, 465-8749. The contact there until Sept. 15 is Sarah Moore, direct line 465-8722, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Sarah is this summer's integrated pest-management technician. She will receive samples and questions on household pests, garden pests or plant diseases and general horticultural topics. She also can provide groups with her PowerPoint presentation on invasive plants (such as garlic mustard, orange hawkweed, Japanese knotweed and many others).
Juneau gardeners are always experimenting and learning from each other. They can increase their gardening expertise by taking courses given in the winter and by joining one or more of the gardening clubs: Juneau Garden Club (Elfrida Nord, president: 789-6797, email@example.com) or American Primrose Society-Alaska Group (Pamela Finney, president: 586-5080, firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Those who rent a plot at the community garden automatically become a member of the Juneau Community Garden Association (Alan Davis, president: 586-3856, email@example.com).
Those who have gardened in the Southeast climate for two years may take the master gardeners training course in the winter and will automatically become a member of the Southeast Alaska Master Gardeners Association (Joan Kasson, president: 586-5702, firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Juneau Garden Club is updating the gardening guide it publishes, "Gardening in Southeast Alaska," and invites input from gardeners; contact Myrna Elgee, 789-2352, email@example.com.
All of these organizations do many good works in the community. Examples include judging at Juneau's annual student science fair, awarding first-year college scholarships, creating and improving the community garden, holding spring plant sales, sponsoring a biennial regional gardening conference, teaching gardening classes, donating and planting new landscaping for public facilities or charitable endeavors (such as Wildflower Court), as well as maintaining perennials around the Federal Building and the flower boxes at the Auke Bay ferry terminal.