Conscious management of food supplies affords opportunities for tribal use of land, deliberate control of health, sustainability of the environment, and maintenance or revitalization of cultural integrity.       NFDI

Alaska Gardening


When building a new home, the first step is to plan carefully and follow that plan. Successful growing needs the same kind of planning. When plans are put off until the last minute or neglected altogether, the garden is unorganized, with too much or too little of most crops in all the wrong locations. Good planning, selecting proper vegetable varieties, adequate fertilizer and lime applications, careful planting and good pest control all contribute to a successful garden.

How large should the garden be and how many people is it intended to feed? A well kept 20′ x 50′ garden will supply enough vegetables for the average family of four.

If less space is available, which vegetables will be left out of the plan?

Plan a garden using the vegetables the family likes best, trying new crops and varieties. Plant enough to supply the family all year. Some satisfaction comes from growing a little extra for the neighbors. A good garden will easily return the cost of the fertilizer, seed and pest control. The pleasure of working in the garden and eating high-quality vegetables is an additional dividend.

Make an actual scale drawing of the garden and then stick to the plan.

Run rows north and south when possible so both sides of the rows receive maximum sunlight. Plant tall crops such as trellised peas on the north side of the garden where they will not shade shorter vegetables. Plant low crops on the outside edges of the garden, preferably toward the south.

Plant the cole crops — cabbage, broccoli and other hardy vegetables — in the lowest part of the garden, where an early frost is most likely to occur.

Plant beans and other warm-weather crops on the highest, best-drained part of the garden.

Allow ample space between rows and plants of broad-leaved vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, turnips, rutabagas and chard. (See the chart on page 19.)

Plan conservatively for each planting of rapidly maturing vegetables like radishes and lettuce. A short row planted every two weeks from June to August will provide fresh radishes and lettuce all season.

Remember: The biggest downfall of a first-time gardener is planting a garden too large to adequately or easily maintain.

Helpful Links

AK plant hardness

What Works in Alaska Zones

Want to keep up with what's new at agAlaska? Enter your email and start receiving our newsletter.
Holler Box