Vegetable growing in Alaska is a challenge but not impossible. Gardeners with a greenhouse will have an easier time starting and nurturing plants through a cold spell, but gardeners with a yard can grow a surprising amount of vegetables.
Alaska gardeners mainly grow potatoes, lettuce, cabbage, carrots, beets and turnips. More delicate vegetables like eggplant, tomatoes and pepper are grown, but they present more of a challenge.
Alaska gardeners must choose plants that can survive in the Alaskan hardiness zones, which indicate the average maximum and minimum temperatures for the region. Alaska falls into hardiness zones two to four.
Alaskan gardeners may need to warm up their water to air temperature before watering the garden so as not to shock the plant. Alaska Master Gardeners recommends using an elevated water heater or filling jugs in the morning and letting the heat of the day slowly warm them before watering in the evening.
Once the vegetable plants are outside, cover plants with a row cover or inverted plastic bottles or small plastic cups. Start plants indoors or in a greenhouse to keep them warmer.
Alaska gardeners may not have a long growing season, but they are able to produce some hefty vegetables. The Alaska State Fair holds an annual giant vegetables contest; past winners include a 64-lb. cantaloupe, an 81-lb. kohlrabi and a 39-lb. turnip.
- America's Heartland: Alaska State Fair
- Alaska Master Gardeners: Vegetables
- Anchorage Daily News: Gardening
alaska gardening, alaska vegetable growing, alaska gardeners
About this Author
Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.