How I Manage My Homestead Garden in Alaska

Gardening in the Far North

By Archie Adams Posted on 9/29/20

In my day to day life, I meet people who want to know how it is to garden in Alaska. I started gardening as a way to pass time, but it was so therapeutic I got stuck to it. My whole experience can’t fit in one blog post, but I’ll try to give you a vivid description of the whole experience.

As a gardener, the first thing you need to do is to decide why you want to venture into farming. Do you want to garden for pleasure, to grow organic food for your family or commercial purposes? For me, it was for pleasure.

After that, you’ll need the right garden accessories. Having the right tools and knowing every garden tool use can help you garden for less.
Back to what I promised. Here is my experience with different crops in Alaska.

 

Growing Tomatoes

Tomatoes on the vine

Of all the things that I’ve planted, it took me the longest time to get a good tomato harvest. Tomatoes are delicate, and the low temperatures of Alaska don’t make it easier. If you can figure out how to get the right temperatures for your tomatoes, you can be assured of a good harvest.

I’ve learned that the best way to grow tomatoes is by planting them indoors or in a greenhouse to attain the right temperatures.

Tomatoes inside a greenhouse

That said, I’ve tried to plant tomatoes outdoors too, and although it required perfect timing and more attention, it was still successful.

For outdoor tomato farming, I started very early. I planted my seeds 10-12 weeks before the last frost to ensure they got more mature and healthy fruits. I also found tomatoes that were planted in the warm areas did better. For the heavily shaded areas, I used gadgets to provide residual warmth.

Red and green tomatoes

In my first harvests, I only got a handful of tomatoes, but with persistence, my harvest has increased over the years.

 

Growing Bell Peppers

Just like tomatoes, bell peppers don’t do well in temperatures below 55 degrees. The first time I planted my bell peppers, I didn’t know they couldn’t survive at low temperatures, and the frost killed all my plants.

 

The next season, I planted my peppers in the greenhouse, and I had much better results. They did well in temperature between 65 and 85 degrees. The other thing I found helpful was starting early as I realized it gave my plants enough time to produce enough leaves to support more fruits. You can buy your seeds from local racks or a grocery store.

Man picking green peppers

And this may seem obvious, but I’ll share it anyway. You can get both red peppers and green peppers from your harvest. Red bell peppers are a fully grown green bell pepper. Red bell peppers have more nutrition and vitamin C, so I always allow my peppers to mature. 

 

Growing Carrots

Planting carrots was hard, but it gave me an easy time compared to tomatoes and pepper. In my experience, carrots do best outdoors. And although they take longer to germinate, I realized that making the soil warmer increased the speed.

Garden with plants and flowers

One mistake I made was to plant all my carrots at the same time, and I ended up with all harvest at the same time. Next time I’ll probably space the planting. Also, I’d be careful to drop one side at a time at a straight low (regarding how annoying it can be) to avoid overcrowding.

 

Is Having a Home Garden Worth It?

In my experience, the home garden is worth every trouble. Gardening always gives me a sense of purpose and self-pride. Taking care of plants and seeing them grow and flourish under my watch always gives me a sense of accomplishment. Here I’m preparing my wife’s flowers in pots to hide them for winter.

Flowers planted in containers

I love growing my food; it helps me save a few bucks.
I also raise quails for food. Their eggs and meat are very healthy. They take up very little space compared to chickens and produce excellent fertilization.

Baby chickens in cages

Conclusion:

It will take a few trials before you’re able to garden like a pro, but as you garden more, you’ll get there. I wish you happy gardening. If you have any questions regarding home and garden, feel free to reach out to me.

 

Author’s Bio: Archie Adams is an Alaskan homesteader-gardener. He has experience growing different types of crops from tomatoes to flowers. His journey hasn’t been a walk in the park, but he has learned a lot. Archie has a blog homemakerguide.com where he shares his knowledge of gardening and recommends the best tools.

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