As with many communities in Alaska, gardening in Chugiak has many upsides and downsides. Compared to many other areas of the state we have considerably moderate temperatures that can extend our growing season with the help of picking appropriate varieties of plants to grow and the use of a greenhouse or season extender. According to the USDA Plant Hardiness Map, Chugiak is in Zone 4b. When compared to many other Alaskan communities, Chugiak has relatively mild weather extremes.
Another upside to my community is that I live in a neighborhood that is nestled alongside a mountain. It is a small enough mountain that I consistently have a full yard of sunshine May through September, but large enough to protect us from much of the wind that the nearby communities of Palmer and Wasilla are exposed to.
The Largest of Downsides
Possibly the most difficult part of a successful garden in my community is dealing with the abundance of wildlife. Even for those yards that have a tall fenced in yard, the moose still manage to jump their way in and make themselves at home. Just this summer on my own one acre property, I have had six sightings of moose helping themselves to my garden greens and all the willow trees in the backyard.
I also had two black bear sightings. They helped themselves to berries and an afternoon nap. Although I still get excited each time I see wildlife near my home, it has definitely prevented me from expanding my garden until I have figured out an effective defense against such large animals that will work for my property.
Garden Climate Zone Information
The following information is from the Palmer Job Corp Weather Station. It should be noted that this station is not the closest in proximity to Chugiak, but the one with the most similar elevation and environmental surroundings that has the information needed readily available. One major difference that should be considered between the Palmer Job Corp area and Chugiak is the significant amount of wind that can occur in Palmer that isn’t present in Chugiak.
|Average Daily Temperature (°F):||51.1||57.9||60.3||58.1||50.1|
|Average Daily Maximum (°F):||59.8||65.9||67.5||65.2||56.5|
|Average Daily Minimum (°F):||42.3||49.8||53.1||51.0||43.7|
|Average rainfall (inches):||0.72||1.23||2.05||2.61||2.50|
|32°F is used here to determine frosts.||Probable Growing Season (90% probability)||Possible Growing Season (10% probability)|
|Date of First Frost:||October 15||September 20|
|Date of Last Frost:||April 15th||May 6|
|Freeze Free Period (Number of Days):||141||177|
|When day lengths are longer than 12 hours:|