Although the short, cool growing season and cold soils present gardening challenges, long day lengths and low pest levels provide gardening opportunities in Alaska not found in other parts of the United States. During cool nights, respiration is slow and plants retain the sweetness unlike anywhere else. While many kinds of fruit and vegetables will grow well, not all will. Cool season vegetables such as potatoes, carrots and the cabbage family thrive, but warm season vegetables such as beans, cucumbers and tomatoes struggle to produce in open, unprotected gardens.
Long day lengths allow plants many hours of photosynthesis and they are able to grow rapidly, but the long days also present challenges. Day length influences basic plant processes such as germination, flowering (bolting), fruit set, bud set and bulb set. Beets, spinach and radishes may bolt (go to seed prematurely). Selecting the right varieties is important. Cold soils, excessive or inadequate rainfall and poor soil conditions are challenges. Raised-bed gardening and row covers can help overcome the problems of wet, cold and poorly drained soils.
This website provides information about identification and control of pests in Alaska.
by Linda Staciokas (Fairbanks News-Miner)
Experiments in the Vegetable Garden (Including growing tomatoes outdoors in a styrofoam box - ready to eat mid-July)
Vegetable and Fruit FAQs
Garden Greens (mesclun)
Saving Vegetable Seeds
Tips for Growing Tomatoes in the North
The vegetable variety recommendations in this publication are based on trials at the Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and by Alaska Cooperative Extension agents, Master Gardeners and growers.
These vegetable variety recommendations for South Central Alaska are based on trials at the University of Alaska Matanuska Experiment Farm in Palmer, the Division of Agriculture’s Plant Material Center in Butte, Alaska and recommendations by Master Gardeners throughout the South Central region.
The University of Alaska Cooperative Extension recommends these fruit tree varieties for South Central Alaska:
Cherry (Prunus) species: ‘Evans’, ‘Montmorency’, ‘Meteor’
Apple (Malus) species: ‘Norland’, ‘Parkland’, ‘Yellow Transparent’, ‘Summer Red’
Crabapple (Malus) species: Many cultivars ͕͘
Southeast Alaska has a cool maritime climate. Conditions have much in common with the coastal areas of the Pacific Northwest except that day lengths are longer and temperatures cooler.
Southeast Alaska receives an overabundance of rain throughout most of the year, with April and May usually the driest and sunniest months. Clouds reduce sunlight intensity and rain lowers soil temperatures, slowing biological processes like the decomposition of soil organic matter. Based on air temperature and light, many Southeast communities have a four-month growing season or longer, but cold soils reduce the growing season. Successful Southeast gardeners manage soil moisture and fertility and modify the growing environment to extend the growing season.
Alaska Cooperative Extension publications for Southeast Alaska: