Short and Sweet–Gardening in Interior Alaska

It may seem that growing a garden in Interior Alaska is very challenging given the extremes in our temperatures. However with the proper varieties of plants and gardening techniques, combined with our long days of sunlight and warm summer temperatures, gardens thrive. The USDA growing zone in my north Fairbanks area is Zone 2b, it is a short season, so any techniques to lengthen the season and warm the soil can make a huge difference. Although we have long days of sunlight here, I do struggle with getting enough sun Read More …

Gardening in Interior Alaska

Gardening in Interior Alaska at the edge of a lovely lake at latitude 65 degrees, Zone 2b, is filled with great rewards and challenges. Succeeding in the face of challenges sweetens the benefits and rewards of gardening in an extreme climate zone. The growing season is short, requiring frenetic gardening activity in a few short months, but weary gardeners have a long rest period during the cold, dark winters. Temperature and photo period extremes go with the latitude and challenge gardeners to figure out plants that are suited to both Read More …

Gardening in the Golden Heart: Fairbanks Climactic Profile

Called the Golden Heart City, Fairbanks is the second largest city in Alaska, and is known for short, sunny summers and long, harsh winters. Gardeners in the Fairbanks area can expect the outdoor growing season to be from early June to mid-to-late August. Some years the weather is favorable enough to begin outdoor growing in mid-to-late May, however, unpredictable, late frosts and even late snowfalls encourage local gardeners to be cautious and not to begin outdoor planting until early June. This short outdoor growing season requires Interior gardeners to be Read More …

Our First Year Gardening, Mistakes and Accomplishments

My wife and I purchased our first home in August of 2016 located in Fairbanks, Alaska. The property included 10 acres of land. Most of the land is treed but the backyard area included a cleared space that is large enough for a garden. This was our first opportunity to create our own organic garden. We had an open canvas to create the garden that we dreamed of having for years. The potential was very high, but it didn’t take long for us to realize that building our dream garden Read More …

Modern Farmsteading: Getting Started

By Sarah Richards After years of daydreaming about having a farm of our own, the day is finally upon us. Toting a little log cabin, our partially cleared acre is surrounded by the hushed boreal forest. We call it Alaska Tiny Farm. My husband and I live here with our daughters (ages seven and five), two dogs, sixteen chickens, a rabbit, and two thousand red wiggler worms. Staking its claim off a quiet dirt road on the edge of the eastern Alaska Range, our new home is both remote and Read More …

What’s That on my Turnip?

This past year I bought my first home  and it  came with a fenced-in garden and some raised garden beds. I was ambitious to plant a garden this year, although gardening is new territory for me. I have to admit I did not put the time and effort required into my garden. After the initial excitement of preparing the beds (at what was probably minimal standards of preparation), I planted the seeds and carried on with busy summer plans and activities. Next thing I knew June was over. Then July. Read More …

Hare today, Gone tomorrow: Grafting to Replace Apple Trees Decimated by Hares.

Hare damaged apple tree

The hare population seems to be booming in Fairbanks. This winter, some hares were able to walk right over the fences and completely girdle some fruit trees by eating the bark   Girdling happens when the phloem, the inner most layer of the bark, is removed from the tree. The job of the phloem is to conduct materials created in the leaves (for example, sugar) down to the roots of the tree.   Over time, girdling results in the death of the parts of the tree above which the bark Read More …

Peas Be With You

Well, it is now nearing August and my first Interior Alaska garden is thriving more than I ever imagined it would. I planted a little bit of everything to see how it would all do.  My most thriving vegetables happen to be my lettuce and snap peas.  I planted the last week of May, and my snow peas were the last thing I thought would do so well in my raised beds. Week after week,  night after night, after watering them I would check to see if there were any Read More …

3R Potatoes or… What Do You Do When the Kitchen Gives You a Case of Sprouting Potatoes?

I love trying new things and learning. More importantly, I love learning alongside my students.  This was my second year of teaching in Nenana.  I teach Life Skills and Art in grades 9-12 during the day and after school I run our 21st Century Community Learning Center where we have 4H, Art, Science, Homework, and Robotics clubs along with a few other programs.  During the after school programs, I get the opportunity to work with students in grades K-12. During both 4H and Life Skills, we cover nutrition and growing Read More …