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Alaska Seed Starting Calendar

Indoor Seed Starting: Growing Vibrant Vegetables, Herbs, and Flowers in Alaska

Greetings, green thumbs and seed starters of the North! I’m thrilled to share this comprehensive guide on indoor seed starting dates for various vegetables, herbs, and flowers. Alaska’s unique climate offers a challenging but rewarding gardening experience. It’s time to embrace the joy of nurturing seedlings indoors and watch them bloom into a bountiful harvest or a floral spectacle.

  1. Understanding Alaska’s Growing Season

Before we delve into specific dates, it’s crucial to grasp Alaska’s unique growing season. Our state’s high latitude results in extended daylight hours during the summer, ideal for fast-growing, productive plants. However, the short growing season, generally from late May to September, means we have to start many plants indoors to ensure they reach maturity.

  1. Indoor Seed Starting Basics

Indoor seed starting involves nurturing your seeds in a controlled environment before transitioning them outdoors. The key factors to successful seed starting are:

  • Correct timing: This is species-specific and largely depends on the last expected frost date. Everything is about counting backwards in time to the approximate start date
  • Proper soil: Use a high-quality seed starting mix that provides excellent drainage.
  • Adequate light: A south-facing window or artificial grow lights can provide the necessary light.
  • Appropriate temperature: Most seeds require warm conditions for germination, typically between 65-75°F.
  • Regular watering: Keep the soil consistently moist, but avoid overwatering to prevent damping off.
  1. Seed Starting Dates for Common Vegetables

Let’s dive into when to start some of the most popular vegetables indoors:

  • Tomatoes: Start seeds 6-8 weeks before the last spring frost, typically around early to mid-March.
  • Peppers: Start pepper seeds 8-10 weeks before the last spring frost, generally late February to early March.
  • Cucumbers: Begin 3-4 weeks before the last frost date, often in late April.
  • Lettuce: Start lettuce seeds 4-6 weeks before the last spring frost, usually in early to mid-April.
  1. Seed Starting Dates for Herbs

Many herbs thrive in Alaska’s summer and can be started indoors:

  • Basil: Start basil 4-6 weeks before the last frost, typically in April.
  • Parsley: Parsley seeds can be started 10-12 weeks before the last frost, around late February to early March.
  • Dill: Start dill 4-6 weeks before the last frost, generally in April.
  1. Seed Starting Dates for Flowers

Adding color to your Alaskan garden with flowers is a joy. Here are some popular flowers and their seed starting dates:

  • Marigolds: Start marigold seeds 6-8 weeks before the last frost, generally in March.
  • Cosmos: Start cosmos seeds 4-6 weeks before the last frost date, usually in the middle of April. 
  • Sunflowers: Start sunflower seeds indoors 2-3 weeks before the last frost, usually in early May.

Remember, these are general guidelines, and individual results may vary based on specific local conditions. It’s always wise to consult with local extension services or experienced gardeners in your area for precise timing.

As you prepare to start your seeds, remember that gardening is not only about the end product. The process itself, watching a tiny seed grow into a fruitful plant or a beautiful flower, brings immense satisfaction. Happy gardening!

Here is a PDF file for some Alaskan cities and some common vegetable, herbs and flowers. Please note that you will need to confirm your last anticipated frost date and count backwards to know the seed starting date. Please note that this file is for the absolute latest I would start seeds indoors and still expect a harvest.

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