Category Archives: Uncategorized

Geocaulon lividum — Yukon Wild Berries

the false toadflax is blooming, May 16 2017.This one found at teapot ponds, but it is very common around here, and i saw it coming into bloom the last few days.I call it timberberry,but it’s prettiest name is northern comandra comandra meaning hairy calyx lobes

via Geocaulon lividum — Yukon Wild Berries

Sheperdia canadensis — Yukon Wild Berries

female flowers, and indeed on the soapberry bush by the poplar where the swing used to be.male flowersfemale soapberry bushmale soapberry bushMay 21 2017, in the yard

via Sheperdia canadensis — Yukon Wild Berries

A great cottage business in Ketchikan

Here is a nice news article about a jam and jelly business in Ketchikan.

Ketchikan Jelly and Jam

 

Northern high bush and half high blueberries in Kenai

Researchers Drs. Danny Barney and Kim Hummer conducted variety trials on on-native Alaska blueberries in cooperation with Alaska Berries of Kenai. It has been difficult to find any non-native blueberry that is consistently hardy in Alaska to make it worth growing commercially. Their abstract is below. The full article is available at the Journal of the American Pomological Society 66(3):145-152. 2012. Research at UAF also conducted hardiness trials of these cultivars in Fairbanks. In fact, many species and cultivars have been tested over the years since Gold Rush Days. None survived above the snow line. You can get a handful of berries on the stems protected y snow, but all branches were killed above the snow line. It does hint that heavy mulching or microclimate manipulation might improve survival, but when our wild  blueberries are so abundant and delicious, why bother?

Abstract: Home and commercial cultivation of small fruits is popular in Alaska and blueberries of several species, such as V. corymbosum and V. angustifolium, have potential as cultivated crops for local production. In June 2009, we established blueberry plantings in two locations on the Kenai Peninsula, approximately 106 kilometers southwest of Anchorage, Alaska. Our objectives were to compare effects of location and cultivar for three northern highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) and six half-high (V. corymbosum Å~ V. angustifolium) blueberry cultivars on plant survival, fall tip dieback, winter injury, yield and fruit weight. Severe winter injury and some mortality were observed by June 2011. At both locations, highbush cultivars ‘Duke’, ‘Earliblue’, and ‘Patriot’, and the half-high cultivars ‘Chippewa’ and ‘Northland’ had severe fall tip dieback and winter injury. These five cultivars are not recommended for Southcentral Alaska, although ‘Patriot’ produced a few large ripe fruit in 2011. The remaining half-high cultivars survived well and produced yields in 2011. ‘Northblue’ and ‘Northsky’ ripened first, followed by ‘Northcountry’ and ‘Polaris’. Fruit was harvested three times in September 2011. ‘Northblue’ yield was 0.25 kg·plant-1 (2-years post-establishment) and mean berry size was 1.98 g·berry-1. Yields for ‘Northcountry’, ‘Northsky’, ‘Polaris’, and ‘Patriot’ were 0.09, 0.18, 0.05, and 0.02 kg·plant-1, respectively. Berry weights were 0.66, 0.88, and 1.50 g·berry-1 for ‘Northcountry’, ‘Northsky’, and Polaris’, respectively. Berry weights were not determined for ‘Patriot’. Based on our initial observations, given appropriate cultivar selection and plant management, half-high blueberry production on the Kenai Peninsula appears feasible for home and small-acreages. Snow-catch strategies for winter protection and tunnels for season extension are recommended.

What is shrub?

     A new agriculture consumer magazine has come to town,the first edition of Edible Alaska were in readers hands summer 2016 !  I was doing my usual quick thumb thru  when I was handed my personal copy  while I walked thru AG Day 2016 @Palmer Experiment Farm when I came upon the article, Shrub A new Twist on an Old Tradition by Evie Witten.
     What the heck is shrub you say?? Well according to Wikipedia in terms of mixed drinks, shrub is the name of two different, but related, acidulated beverages. One type of shrub is a fruit liqueur that was popular in 17th and 18th century England, typically made with rum or brandy mixed with sugar and the juice or rinds of citrus fruit.
     The word “shrub” can also refer to a cocktail or soft drink that was popular during America’s colonial era, made by mixing a vinegared syrup with spirits, water, or carbonated water. The term “shrub” can also be applied to the sweetened vinegar-based syrup, from which the cocktail is made; the syrup is also known as drinking vinegar. Drinking vinegar is often infused with fruit juice, herbs and spices for use in mixed drinks
     The history of Shrub is early English version of the shrub arose from the medicinal cordials of the 15th century.The drink gained popularity among smugglers in the 1680s trying to avoid paying import taxes for goods shipped from mainland Europe: To avoid detection, smugglers would sometimes sink barrels of spirits off-shore to be retrieved later; the addition of fruit flavours aided in masking the taste of alcohol fouled by sea water.As a mixture of fruit and alcohol, the shrub is related to the punch, however punches were normally served immediately after mixing the ingredients, whereas shrubs tended to have a higher concentration of flavour and sugar and could be stored for later use, much like a pre-made drink mixer.The shrub was itself a common ingredient in punches, either on its own or as a simple mix with brandy or rum. It was also served during the Christmas season mixed with raisins, honey, lemon, sherry, rum and other spirits.The shrub was sold in most public houses throughout England in the 17th and 18th centuries, although the drink fell out of fashion by the late 1800s.

     The American version of the shrub has its origins in 17th century England where vinegar was used as an alternative to citrus juices in the preservation of berries and other fruits for the off-season. Fruit preserves made in this fashion were themselves known as shrubs and the practice carried over to colonial America.By the 19th century, typical American recipes for shrubs used vinegar poured over fruit—traditionally berries—which was left to infuse anywhere from overnight up to several days; afterwards, the fruit would be strained out and the remaining liquid would be mixed with a sweetener such as sugar or honey and then reduced to make a syrup.The sweet-and-sour syrup could be mixed with either water or soda water and served as a soft drink, or it could be used as a mixer in alcoholic cocktails.Shrubs eventually fell out of popularity with the advent of home refrigeration.

The serving of vinegar-based shrub drinks became popular again in 2011 and 2012 in American restaurants and bars. The trend has also been noted in bars in Canada as well as London. The acidity of the shrub makes it well suited as anapéritif or used as an alternative to bitters in cocktails. Unlike cocktails acidulated with citrus, vinegar-based drinks will remain clear when shaken.

The reference materials listed at the end were interesting reads for sure, but back to the article in my new magazine edible Alaska that started this blog post.  Shrub A new Twist on an Old Tradition by Evie Witten.  Helen Howarth of Fromagio’s Artisan cheese in Anchorage is bringing this refreshing drink to the local consumers but she shares a recipe how easy its a DIY 3 ingredient start to deliciousness.  1pound of fruits or vegetables,3/4 cup sugar, 314 cup vinegar; chop the fruit or vegetables, place in a bowl with sugar and macerate. cover bowl, refrigerate for a few days, then pour off the juice and add any type of vinegar. shore in corked or closed jar.

Plus as its mentioned making shrubs allows you to use the whole harvest of not just fruits but also crab apples, rhubarb. carrots, herbs, ginger, and many endless more choices.

Cannot wait to experiment with all the new combinations from local freshly harvested produce with a new preserving method. R from Mat-Su Valley

edible Alaska Magazine summer 2016 No. 1, Shrub A new Twist on an Old Tradition by Evie Witten, pg 38

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shrub_(drink)

Restoring peatlands

This document talks about how to grow berries in peatlands after peat extraction.  It includes most of the acid-loving berries such as blueberries and cranberries. It is  a nice reference for growing berries!

Peatland Ecology Research Group.  2009.  Production of Berries in Peatlands.  Available online:  http://www.gret-perg.ulaval.ca/uploads/tx_centrerecherche/GUIDE_Berries_en_2009_01.pdf.  Accessed 17 Oct 2016.

Bog Blueberries for Health

“Bog Blueberry anthocyanins alleviate photo-aging in UV B irradiation-induced human dermal fibroblasts.”

The fruits of the bog blueberry plant are rich in anthocyanins that contribute pigmentation and the relief/prevention of several chronic diseases. Several studies show bog blueberries remarkably suppress collagen degradation as well as inflammatory response in the skin cells which allow for connective tissue and healing/recovery after injury. The edible berry shows proof it can be protective against skin damage!
Bae, J.-Y., Choi, J.-S., Han, S.J., Ju, S.M., Kang, I.-J., Kang, Y.-H., Kim, S.J., Lim, S.S., Park, J. 2009. “Bog Blueberry Anthocyanins Alleviate Photo-Aging in Ultra-Violet B Irradiation-Induced Human Dermal Fibroblasts.” Molecular Nutrition and Food Research 53(6): 726-738.

Haskap Pie

Pie is one of my absolute favorite desserts and I don’t usually stray far from my favorites apple and cherry, but I found a recipe for haskap pie filling that I would definitely have to try if I ever came across it. I always find that from picking or obtaining the berry yourself, it is always that much more satisfying when you have the finished product!   LF Fairbanks

 

HASKAP PIE FILLING
Haskap berries have twice as much juice in them as any other berry! We have found that frozen berries works better for pie filling instead of the fresh berry. If you use the fresh berry they tend to continue to leak out juice after baked.

4 cups of frozen Haskap berries
1 ½ cups sugar
4 tbsp. cornstarch
¼ cup of strained juice.

  • Place the frozen berries in a colander to thaw and drain overnight.
    • Save the strained juice. One option is to mix the juice with sparkling water on ice with a sweetener of your choice for a refreshing drink.
  • Place drained berries in a medium saucepan with the sugar
  • Bring to a boil , then turn down to a simmer
  • Add the cornstarch to the 1/4 c of juice
  • Add this slowly to the berry/sugar mixture while it is simmering and stir to thicken
  • Cool when thickened and pour into pre baked pie shell

 

2013. Haskap Recipes. Available online: Recipes. Accessed 19 Oct, 2016.

Maxine Thompson and her haskaps

This article highlights the life of Maxine Thomson for her contribution to breeding of and popularizing the Haskap.  She seems to be a rather amazing woman and this is a delight and an inspiration to read!
Martin, S. 2016.  Sweet Success.  Available Online: Maxine Accessed 17 Oct 2016.

Beyond Beautiful

   The more I learn about fruit bearing shrubs and plants the more I want to learn. Being able to grow one’s own food is very important to me. I want to know what I am putting into my plants so that I know what I am eating and feeding to my family. I am blessed to live in a state where much of its natural beauty is still very much preserved and undisturbed. My home is surrounded by mountains and forests; these expansive wilds were and still are my playground. As I grow older I am learning how important everything around me truly is and how all things have an effect on each other. This is especially true in our great forests for they are a truly impressive ecosystem and even small changes can have extensive repercussion. I have always loved Alaska’s native landscapes; its trees, flowers, berry plants and shrubs all have a special place in my heart.
   In the garden around my house I am slowly planting Alaskan perennials so that I can tend the beauty of a wild forest or meadow right at my door step. Taking care of perennials has its own set of methods and complications. Perennials naturally have many different considerations than annuals and wild perennials can be especially picky about growing conditions, soil content, and other habitat considerations.
In the past if I had a question about how to grow a particular flower or tree in my yard I would ask a neighbor lady; she had lived in Alaska for years and was full of knowledge on all things green and growing. Her entire yard and garden where in fact a series of perennial beds that were full of Alaskan wildflowers which she had found and propagated herself. Many an afternoon I would find her out in the flower beds pulling weeds and happily caring for each plant. She knew exactly where and what everything was in her beds even before they came up. She has since moved away from the area and I must now seek out advice elsewhere.
   I have recently read an article about creating edible landscapes. I find this entire idea intriguing; not only would one enjoy the beauty of flowering shrubs and plants all summer but when the time was right a harvest of great variety would come. These crops could be eaten fresh or processed and stored for the winter. The plants then serve two purposes: providing beauty along with pollen and nectar for good insects, and providing a food source for their caretaker. This sounds like a wonderfully efficient way to create a garden or landscape. The information that I have found recommends that if you are starting from scratch to begin by planning how you want the landscape roughly to look. Plan where the trees and shrubs will be first and then add in smaller plants. Berry trees were my first though for creating an edible landscape but smaller edibles such as herbs, and flowers should not be discounted. These plants can add color and variety when planted near fruit bearing shrubs. Vegetables that are colorful or interesting can also be interspersed with the herbs and edible flowering plants (plantea.com). As with any landscaping project make sure to plan where each perennial will go depending on each plants needs and characteristics. A detailed plan will ensure a balanced landscape that will provide food all growing season. I am just an amateur enthusiast and would have to, out of necessity, start small with any endeavor to start turning my yard into an edible landscape. I am very impressed by the article put out by Rosalind Creasy; she is an expert and her creations are just lovely. The designs are way beyond my abilities but do show how diverse landscaping with edible plants can be. The Virginia Berry Farm page is also very detailed and explains clearly how best to go about planning and starting an edible landscape.
   I have many ideas now too many in fact. Winter is a good time to think of new and different things to try next spring in my garden. Now as the days grow colder and the nights longer I will research, plan, and create, at least on paper, some designs for my yard. Instead of planting lilacs I can plant Saskatoons or Haskaps. Instead of putting in another delphinium or poppy border I can put in some herbs for cooking and a border of strawberries. The soil in my yard is not very good so until I can focus on improving it, some of my new shrubs could be planted in large pots or raised beds; the same goes for herbs and lettuces all will grow well in pots. I am excited about redesigning my yard. I have wanted to landscape it for some years now but just could not find a design I liked. My new designs will include some edibles and who knows what else, the possibilities are endless. AB Delta Junction
Websites:
Virginia Berry Farm. Edible Landscaping. virginiaberryfarm. Available Online: http://www.virginiaberryfarm.com/pages/view/6/ Accessed Oct. 19, 2016
Marion O. in a newsletter called Up Beet Gardener. How to landscape with edible plants. PlanTea, Inc. Available Online: http://www.plantea.com/edibleland.htm Accessed Oct.19, 2016
Rosalind C. 2009. Edible Landscaping Basics. Rosalind Creasy Edible Landscaping. Available Online. http://www.rosalindcreasy.com/edible-landscaping-basics/

The bane of baneberries

Janice Schoefield, in Discovering Wild Plants suggests that you might want to plant a Baneberry (Actaea rubra) or other poisonous plant in your garden to teach children about poisonous plants. That’s an interesting strategy considering that just two berries could kill a kid. Of course, Schoefield says that usually kids won’t eat more than one berry because of the taste, unless they accidentally throw them in their bucket and mix them up with cranberries. You still can pick them out if you’re looking for them. I’m not sure how I feel about planting poisonous plants in the garden. At least with my kids who are always testing the limits. But I do like the idea of training my kids while they’re young. I’m realizing that my fear of a couple of poisonous berries has kept me from trying a lot of edible berries because they kinda looked alike. If I was more familiar with the poisonous ones, then perhaps I would’ve been more adventurous with trying other edible berries.

Schoefield, J. 2007. Discovering wild plants: Alaska, Western Canada, the Northwest. Alaska Northwest Books., Portland.

Raspberry Bushy Dwarf virus on Nagoonberry (Arctic Bramble)

“New Host for Raspberry Bushy Dwarf Virus: Arctic Bramble (Rubus Arcticus)”

RBDV was identified in three new host plants of the rubus species : Arctic Bramble, Alaskan Arctic Bramble, and their hybrid. It was identified through the same symptoms found in the test plants,  Chenopodium quinoa and C. Amaranticolor. The presence of the virus affecting sucrose density, protein analyses in gel electrophoresis, and experimental plots are studied. KH Fairbanks

Haimi, P. Karenlampi, S. Kokko, H. Lemmety, A. 1996. “New Host for Raspberry Bushy Dwarf Virus: Arctic Bramble (Rubus Arcticus).” European Journal of Plant Pathology 102(7): 713-717.

Wild berries along the Tanana

From one of the last screencasts in the Wild and Cultivated Berries class, (NRM 154), it was mentioned that certain berries could be found along the Yukon and Tanana rivers. I am from a village along the Yukon River and have to travel along the Tanana River in order to get home by boat. I had never even thought about looking for any other berry besides blueberries along the river. Now that I know what all of these berries look like and where they are likely to grow I can definitely be on the lookout next time I travel home 🙂  LF Fairbanks

MARTA HEACOCK The Landscape of Red Huckleberry and Fireweed Syrup

 This story appeared first in Alaska Women Speak  journal  24(3):11. Fall 2016  (www.alaskawomenspeak.org)   and is reprinted by permission of the author. Marta lives and writes from a small village located in the southern portion of Alaska’s Alexander Archipelago. She owns a salmon cannery with her son and shares her. home with a Pomeranian and a tabby cat. 

Red huckleberries sparkle through the deep woods in glints of orange and near-red. As rain forest understory plants, they scramble under the great coniferous trees of the Tongass. In spring, the plants are covered in light gold to pale pink blossoms. The young berries shine with the pale orange of a rain forest sunset in May.

When they’re at their peak of ripeness, the berries are the color of sockeye eggs. Red huckleberries are feral plants that don’t respond well to attempts at commercial cultivation, though Indigenous peoples have long used them for a variety of purposes. They can be eaten fresh, dried, preserved, fermented, made into syrups and sauces, or combined with salmon eggs and seal oil to create a delicacy for winter feasts. They’re sometimes used as bait in place of salmon eggs.

Red huckleberries are tart. Some people find them too tangy to be eaten raw, while others love the way they pop right inside their mouths with little explosions of juice. They get their tang from the highly acidic, rich rain forest soils in which they thrive. As with all berries, they become sweeter with age, so if you don’t like the acid tang, look for the larger berries that are more red than orange.

Get the berries in the middle of the summer from the woods. If you follow a small salmon spawning creek long enough, you’ll come to a patch of red huckleberries. Be sure to go with friends, and sing your songs and tell your stories to let the bears know you’re there so they can sink into the woods. Bring the berries home and roll them through your hands on a flat surface to remove the stems, and shake them in a sieve so the stems fall through.

The red huckleberries were ripe this year just when the fi.reweed was at its brightest. Fireweed grows in meadows around the edges of the forest, by the side of the road, and generally everywhere and anywhere where there’s an extra patch of dirt that’s not already being used, as long as it gets a reasonable amount of sun. Beekeepers meadows to get delicate fireweed honey. Beekeepers often place hives in the middle of vast fireweed meadows to get delicate fireweed honey.

Even though you won’t find fireweed growing in the deep forest alongside the wild red huckleberries, the two combine to create a flavor palette that captures the taste of the Tongass. Fireweed honey is soft and sweet, providing the perfect foil for the impudent tang of the red huckleberries. You can mix red huckleberries with fireweed honey to make syrup for pancakes, French toast, to use as ice cream toppings or to make craft cocktails .

. . . a flavor palette that captures the taste of the Tongass. 

First, heat the berries over a low flame with a little water. The berries need to soften so they can be properly mashed, and then strain them for the juice. Add fi.reweed honey to the juice, bring to a boil, and simmer until reduced by about half or when the mixture begins to stick to a wooden spoon.

If your berries came from a patch growing on and near rotting logs, their acidic bite may be more pronounced, so you’ll need to add more honey. The same thing applies if you were impatient for your huckleberries and picked them before they were quite ripe. Keep adding honey a little at a time until you find your personal sweet spot. Some people like to add a squeeze or two of fresh lemon juice, but a bit of orange juice actually works better with this particular flavor profile because it’s not so tart. You might think about a fast dash of cinnamon and teardrop-sized splash of real vanilla

The syrup can be used right away, but letting it sit for a week or tvvo ensures that the flavors mix and settle. Even though you might be tempted to use it all, try to save some for late fall and winter when the storms are at their worst and the days are dark and gloomy. Few things are better the morning after a Southeastern Alaska storm than sourdough pancakes drizzled with a taste of the Tongass summer.

My Plate My State

Check out this site and an attempt by USDA to encourage local and healthy food choices. It’s a nice concept, but check out the list they include of the common foods produced in Alaska.

  • barley, beef, bison, bread, chicken, crabs, eggs, Herring, milk, oats, pollock, pork, potatoes, reindeer, salmon, scallops, sea urchins, shrimp

My list certainly is longer than that! The only vegetable they include is the potato! Sheesh!

My plate

Going Back to Our Roots

While berry pickers use a variety of methods and recipes to consume their harvest in the modern world, I have often wondered how the Native Americans originally used these superfoods to supplement their diet. Berries played an important role in the society of the indigenous peoples and later turned to help the Europeans who settled in various areas survive the winter. Kim E. Hummer looked at various soil samples from different regions of the United States in order to determine what plants could have been found during that period in history. There is documented use of huckleberries and blueberries, and Hummer explains it further. Early explorers survived on berries throughout their expeditions. Refer to Hummer’s article for more information.
Hummer, K. E. 2013. Manna in Winter: Indigenous Americans, huckleberries, and blueberries. Hort Science 48(4):413-417

Cloudberries

 I’m very excited to hunt for cloudberries (Aqpik in Inupiaq) and nagoonberries–perhaps far. I remember seeing them occasionally in the Interior but never put much thought into them or effort into looking for them. But that’s all changed now.
Also, I’m a little jealous of the cloudberry hunt in Norway and would love to earn ‘highland gold’. The Coudberry cream sounds absolutely wonderful. I think I would fit right in with hunting and talking about when to go looking for the berries. And speculating about when they will be ripe. I love how obsessed both the Norwegians and Alaska Natives are with berries, because I’m a little obsessed as well.
Katak, M. 2015. Berries of Northwest Alaska. Available Online: https://alaskamastergardener.community.uaf.edu/2015/08/04/berries-of-northwest-alaska/. Accessed 11 Oct 2016.
Guide to cloudberries. 2011. Available Online:

Blackberries in Arizona

I found this publication from the University of Arizona Extension office about growing blackberries in Arizona. I found this publication to be pretty interesting and easy to follow. It seemed to walk even the most novice berry farmer though the proper steps and courses of action in order to grow blackberries successfully in Arizona. I may actually try to grow blackberries next year!  CA Arizona
Wright, G.C. 2008  Growing blackberries in the low desert. Available online: Blackberries . Accessed 5 October, 2016.

Preserving my berry treasure

Wild berry patches are an ever changing resource. Berries rely on a certain set of requirements; if any or all of those change, the berries can disappear and one year you may return to find your once lush patch gone for good. This at least has been my experience in a few of the wild berry patches that I have relied upon over the years. The past year I and some friends were very blessed to fine a lovely patch of Lingonberries in an area we had never searched. The reason we had never found this particular spot was because the berries used to be more prolific nearer our homes and my first rule of berry picking is; if a patch is near pick there. Why spend precious moments that could be spent picking berries wandering thither and yon over rough terrain looking for berries, unless you have to. Well we had to and much to our delight our search was rewarded. The area was not terribly far and had a nice hunting trail already established. We found many large clusters of berries near the trail and my friends decided to stay in this area to pick.
I have always been a wanderer; I usually have a gun with me in case I find something furry and large feeling territorial about the forest. True to my nature I walked some good ways beyond the trail; stopping every now and again to pick some berries and eat some berries. The going was rough with lots of fallen timbers around, but not impassible so I continued on. Finally, my efforts were rewarded. The patch that I found was in fact a series of patches all linked together in a large piece of woodland. The forest was a mix of perhaps 50/50 small spruce, medium sized aspens and a few large birch here and there. The forest floor was covered with lingonberry bushes, crowberry, and a few bearberry bushes all growing happily in the dappled pools of sunlight coming through the leafy canopy. The lingonberries were by far the most prolific; the plants were large and spread out under fallen logs and around old stumps. The area was edged by a few clearings and a long low trench running through much of the patch, perhaps from an old creek bed. The berries grew in thick clusters on the edges of this trench and along its lowest part. As I walked deeper into the forest I found fewer healthy patches; the trees were too thick and ground cover consisted mostly of mosses and lichens. In the more open spaces the berries were beautiful, large, and juicy, tart but also sweet; dark red on the outside and very white inside. Perfect specimens, and it did not take me long to fill my gallon.
This lovely patch has remained in my mind and seems a perfect candidate for wild stand management. I love the idea of having a place that I could care for if even just a little and perhaps improve the patch so that every year me and my friends can return to find it producing in abundance. The berries are already growing so well that I would not need to do much I think. Here are just a few ideas I have to improve the patch and perhaps next spring and summer I can implement some of them. First the spot is not easy to find and the going is pretty rough; I have found another way to get into the beginning of the patch from a different direction. This approach is much more open and I will mark it for further use. I know that lingonberries like sunny spots to ripen in but don’t handle hot weather very well; they need areas that also can shelter them during the cold winter months (garden.org). They prefer acidic soils which is fine, because where I live the soil throughout the whole area is very acidic; I struggle with acidic soils in my vegetable garden and it has been cultivated every year for about 30 years and is still acidic. The spot where the berries are growing must be acidic and the nutrients must be at a good ratio because the berries are very healthy looking. Cross pollination must also be taking place because the berries, throughout the patch, are all very large compared to what I am used to seeing from other patches. The shade does help to keep the moss around the berries moist; this not only helps the berries grow but also provides pollinators another reason to visit the patch. To improve the sunlight into the patch I will have to be very careful how many trees and how much brush I remove to prevent the patch from drying out; this would have a detrimental effect on the overall microsystem surrounding the berries.
I will need to chart when the berries bloom, what pollinators visit and how often. At this point the lingonberries far outgrow any other weeds in the area so I don’t think that I will add any fertilizer as this may encourage weeds to grow. The berry plants look very big to me and any more fertilizer might encourage more vegetative growth that they clearly don’t need (mofa.org). I will take my brush cutter into the stand next spring and remove a lot of the under growth such as small spruce trees, broken off limbs, and remove much of the Labrador tea stands to let more sunlight get to the berries and remove competition. After finding out how many pollinators come to the spot I have some ideas to attract more. I am not sure if it would work but I would like to plant or transplant a few more wild flowering plants to the spot such as bluebells, bunch berry, and others from farther away spots. There are already other flowering shrubs such as bearberry and crowberry and I would not remove all the Labrador tea as it also has nice flower for part of the year. The spot is also full of grouse which I am sure are attracted to the many berries; thankfully there are plenty to go around and the birds are also a very nice resource for fresh meat should I need some this winter. I think the primary pollinators are bumblebees; the spot is full of old trees and fallen rotting logs which would provide good nesting sources for them.
Hopefully I will have time next spring and summer to visit my patch and implement some of these improvements. The berries are happy so I will be very careful how I proceed and plan each action taking many things into consideration. Also if anyone, with experience in managing wild lingonberry stands, would like of offer me some advice I would greatly appreciate it. AB Delta Junction, AK
 Bailey, R. 2016. Grow your own lingonberries. Available online: Lingonberries Accessed Oct. 2, 2016
The National Gardening Association. 2016. The mighty lingonberry. Available online: 
Lingonberries Accessed Oct. 2,
 
Alaska Channel. 2016. Low bush cranberry. Available online: Low bush cranberry. 
Accessed Oct. 2, 2016
 
Deane, G. 2016. Bunchberry Brunch. Available online: Bunchberry. Accessed Oct. 2, 2016

Mulching and lingonberries

 I’ve often been curious about mulch suitability for a certain crop. Over a three year period, Mr. Gustavsson, investigates the effect of the application of a variety of mulches to standardized blocks of cultivated lingonberry. Annual, average fruit weight and yield as well as accumulated plant growth and fungal infection susceptibility, were factors used to compare mulch types. Not surprising, as it common in native environments, peat moss, appeared to be the most beneficial mulch for lingonberries in areas not susceptible to late spring frost. Surprisingly, however, is that black plastic foil was found to be the second most beneficial. CZ Anchorage
 Gustavsson, B. A. 1999. Effects of Mulching on Fruit Yield, Accumulated Plant Growth, and Fungal Attack in Cultivated Lingonberry, cv. Sanna, Vaccinium vitus-idaea L. Gartenbauwissenschaft, 64 (2). S: 65-69.
Available online: Lingonberries    Accessed: 29 September 2016