Alan Jackson was right, it is okay to be “Little Bitty”: A small garden plot in Alaska

By Andrea Hood, an Alaska Master Gardener

This has been a growing season of revised expectations, and you know what? It has turned out just fine! Finding a great spot to garden can sometimes be a challenge. For those of us with the gardening bug, winter time is for dreaming of glorious spaces filled with fruiting vines, flower laden bushes, and vegetable patches overflowing with zucchini and tomatoes. In the spring, we receive or catalogs and make lists. All of those plans were shot earlier this year with news of an expanded driveway. Our otherwise perfectly reasonable landlord had decided to level out and fill with gravel the very large, well-drained area on the south side, yes south side, of the house. This is the very area that contained our five hard-dug, edged garden beds and one strawberry plot.

Finding a new dream spot…
Alaskans will forgive my brief period of self-pity. Yes, gardeners need to be adaptable, especially in our northern state, but sometimes it can be overwhelming. Really, should covering a south facing spot even be legal? Temptations to give up floated around the brain. I decided to revise my garden plans and find another way. I didn’t have the money or equipment to dig new beds in time for planting, but I did remember reading an article in Mother Earth News Magazine about making quick garden beds. I found Barbara Pleasant’s article titled, “How to Make Instant Garden Beds” on A quick trip to Lowes and less than $60 provided me with seven nice garden spots. I cut drainage holes in the bottom, removing the top and added seeds.

Smaller Plans and big satisfaction…
Harvesting kale, lettuce, and scallions from my smaller plots has been a rewarding and enjoyable experience and as always, gardening as taught me a new lesson, mainly to appreciate a previously overlooked spot of dirt and try again.

About Heidi Rader

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