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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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Alaska Microgreens (Seeds and Soil Farm)

Microgreens on a table

Learn how to harvest fresh food from the comfort of your own home with our mini microgreen course.

In the depths of winter when fresh produce is lacking- microgreens are an excellent alternative and are tasty too!

In our mini course we will walk you through our step by step process on how to grow, harvest and store your very own microgreens.

We even include a kit to start growing at home- where fresh is never far.

Register here:

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Alaska Fireweed Seed

Close up of Fireweed Seed

Fireweed is one of Alaska’s most memorable wild flowers… for its spear shaped blooms that line the most picturesque landscapes in the last frontier.

Rhizomes and wind borne seed help fireweed blanket the wild spaces throughout our great land. Fireweed can easily take over a growing space is left to its own devices…management should be used if adding Fireweed for landscaping purposes.

Fireweed seeds and extremely small and can be challenging to start indoors. A magnifying glass works perfectly for this task.

Shop our fireweed seed here:

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Gardening in Alaska: Nurturing Nature’s Bounty in the Last Frontier

A beautiful Alaska vegetable garden surrounded by mountains

Alaska, with its awe-inspiring landscapes and extreme weather conditions, might seem like an unlikely place for gardening. However, passionate gardeners in the Last Frontier have proven time and again that with determination, knowledge, and the right strategies, you can create a thriving garden even in the land of the midnight sun. In this blog post, we will explore the unique challenges and opportunities of gardening in Alaska and provide valuable insights for anyone eager to embark on this rewarding journey.

Can You Have a Garden in Alaska?

One of the most common questions asked by aspiring gardeners in Alaska is whether it’s even possible to have a garden in such a challenging environment. The answer is a resounding yes! While the short growing season and harsh winters pose significant obstacles, Alaska’s long daylight hours during summer make up for it. With proper planning, strategic plant selection, and the use of protective measures, you can successfully cultivate a beautiful garden that yields a bountiful harvest.

When Should I Start Gardening in Alaska?

Timing is crucial when it comes to gardening in Alaska. The short summer season requires careful planning and early preparation. Typically, the gardening season begins around mid-May in southern parts of the state and can extend until early September. However, in northern regions, where the frost arrives earlier, the growing window may be shorter.

To get a head start, many Alaskan gardeners start seeds indoors in late winter or early spring. This allows the plants to develop sturdy roots and be ready for transplanting when the ground thaws. Alternatively, you can use cold frames or greenhouses to extend the growing season and protect delicate plants from frost.

What Vegetables Can You Grow in Alaska?

Alaska’s cool climate presents an excellent opportunity for growing certain vegetables that thrive in these conditions. Cold-tolerant crops like kale, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, radishes, and peas can be sown early in the season. These hardy plants can withstand lower temperatures and even improve in flavor after exposure to frost.

Root vegetables, such as potatoes and turnips, also fare well in Alaska’s soil. They have ample time to develop before the first frost, resulting in robust and flavorful harvests. Additionally, leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, and Swiss chard can be grown successfully throughout the season, provided they receive enough sunlight and moisture.

What Foods Grow Well in Alaska?

Apart from vegetables, Alaska offers abundant opportunities for cultivating other types of food. Berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries, thrive in the wild and can also be grown in domestic gardens. These flavorful gems not only provide a delicious treat but are also rich in antioxidants and nutrients.

Alaskan gardens are also perfect for growing cold-hardy fruit trees, such as apple, cherry, and plum varieties bred specifically for northern climates. With careful selection and proper care, you can enjoy homegrown fruits that are as delightful as they are unique.

Gardening in Alaska may present its share of challenges, but the rewards are well worth the effort. By embracing the uniqueness of the Alaskan climate, carefully choosing cold-hardy plants, and employing effective gardening techniques, you can nurture a vibrant garden that thrives in the Last Frontier. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, the beauty and bounty of Alaska’s gardens will captivate your heart and nourish your soul.

Remember to check out Seeds and Soil Organics for a wide selection of high-quality seeds that are perfect for your Alaskan garden. Happy gardening!

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Growing Through Obstacles – Mulch, Straw, and Shade

Vegetabes growing in mulch

“Will Vegetable Seeds Triumph over Mulch, Straw, and Shade? The Growth Dilemma”

Ever wondered if your vegetable seeds can grow through mulch or straw, or perhaps in the shade? Let’s untangle the mystery and delve into the secrets of successful vegetable gardening.

– **Vegetable Seeds and Mulch**: Mulch is commonly used in gardens to conserve moisture, improve soil fertility, and reduce weed growth. While it’s incredibly beneficial, tiny vegetable seeds may struggle to grow through a thick layer of mulch. It’s often better to wait until seedlings have emerged and established before applying mulch around them.

– **Vegetable Seeds and Straw**: Similar to mulch, straw can be a challenge for smaller seeds. Larger seeds like beans or squash may have a better chance. Again, waiting until seedlings have established before applying straw is a good practice.

– **Vegetable Seeds in the Shade**: While most vegetables prefer full sun, there are some that can tolerate or even thrive in partial shade. Lettuce, spinach, and some herbs like parsley and cilantro can do well with less sun. However, no vegetable will grow in complete darkness.

Recognizing the needs of your specific vegetable seeds will ensure you provide the best growing conditions for a bountiful harvest.

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