Lesson From Squanto

“A friendly Indian named Squanto helped the colonists. He showed them how to plant corn and how to live on the edge of the wilderness… As cultivating maize was unfamiliar to the Pilgrims, they relied on advice from Squanto, who shared with them the secret of proper maize-planting technique – sticking the seed in the little heaps of dirt, accompanied by beans and squash that would later twine themselves up the tall stalks. And he told the Pilgrims to fertilize the soil by burying fish alongside the maize seed, a traditional native technique for producing bountiful harvest. Following this advice, the colonists grew so much maize that it became the centerpiece of the first Thanksgiving.”

It’s tough to grow corn in Alaska, but potatoes are another story. Fish waste has been composted in my garden for the past 30 years, yielding harvests of Yukon Gold potatoes. Providing engineering services to fish processing clients around the state, allows the bonus of returning with fresh fish.

Flying in the right seat of a Grumman Goose allows access to remote sites.

All fish waste goes into the garden. The Yukon Gold potatoes are prolific from the rich fertilizer. Nothing is wasted from the fish. Working in Bristol Bay & Nushagak drainages allows access to the largest salmon fishery in the world.

Not to be outdone, Holly hauls one in! Best Catch of the Year!

Wheelbarrows of potatoes are produced yearly.

Orphaned moose calf cleaned out garden greens this year. The beauty of potatoes is that the moose do not eat them.

All food waste goes into the garden, plus ashes from the wood stove. This reduces solid waste to the point of not requiring garbage pick-up. Occasional recycle trips to the dump with glass containers takes care of most other waste.

Searching for new fishing holes provides hours of enjoyment.


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