VEGETABLE JUNGLE— The Bachelder’s lush garden gets a look from the Garden Tour crowd Sunday.

Nome Garden Tour views what’s growing

If rain is good for a garden then a rainy day is perfect for a garden tour. The Nome Garden Tour marched out into the drizzle to view what’s growing in the gardens of green-thumbed Nomeites. Around fifty garden enthusiasts loaded into the big yellow school bus for the four-hour tour.
“This is one of our best turnouts, despite the rain,” said Cheryl Thompson, group leader for the tour. “It’s too hard to reschedule so we just do it no matter what the weather’s doing.”
First stop was the Nome community garden, which is located on prime real estate at the corner of Seppala and Bering. All are welcome to garden there. “I just garden here and anyone’s welcome to grow food,” said Myra Scholdz, who has spent the summer in Nome as a crab observer. She’s from Kodiak. “I took up the opportunity when I moved up here and I’ve been growing lettuce and kale and zucchini and tomatoes.”
The tour group climbed back into the big school bus and headed to Dan and Abby Bachelder’s place, which really is a mini farm. They are raising chickens, vegetables and kids. Two milk goats made an appearance and there might have been more. Eighteen chickens produce high-quality fertilizer. The Nugget asked Abby how much time she spends gardening. “Normally I spend a lot. This summer I haven’t spent too much, just kind of put stuff in, pulled a few weeds. I did stake and tie the peas up a little bit,” she said. Barefoot kids holding favorite chickens added to the farm atmosphere.
At the Knudsen’s, Kim encourage the visitors to help themselves to the strawberries. “I have lettuce, tomatoes in the green house, carrots, radishes, onions, cucumbers are growing really well this year in the green house, peas,” she said. She’s already made pickles. “It’s been a really great year for growing things.” One of the things she likes is not spending money on pots but just finding things out on the tundra and turning it into a container. “You can see I took a bunch of the kids’ rubber boots that had holes in them and planted flowers in them.”
By now the rain was really coming down. Most of the tour folks were dressed up in rain gear so they were ready for it.
A stop at Dredge 7 meant getting out of the rain in the Mine Shaft, a long hallway lined with flowers that conducts hotel guests to their rooms. A pair of sunflowers brightened the way. “Because it’s all inside it has to be hand-watered,” said Judy Martinson to the garden tourists. “There’s no extra help. But I do have sprinkler hoses for next year.”
Martinson explained Nome Rocks to the group. “If you find a rock you can keep it or you can re-hide it. It’s just keep positive and make people happy. Kids love it. Some of them are just inspirational words, some are funny. “You just took orders from a rock! Are you stoned?” reads the inscription on one. Nome Rocks has a Facebook page, which explains it all.  
 The lush vegetation at the high school greenhouses are the product of the Northwest Campus’s Subarctic Gardening class. One of the greenhouses was built with a USDA grant and the other by the high school shop class.
The tour wound up in Icy View around five o’clock for the traditional potluck, held at the Hanson’s garden — and the rain was still making the farmers happy.

The Nome Nugget

PO Box 610
Nome, Alaska 99762

Phone: (907) 443-5235
Fax: (907) 443-5112

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