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Alaska Garden

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Alaska Garden

Post  kpreston46 on 4/23/2011, 7:55 pm

I am just getting started on my SFG. The book cautions about placing the box too close to a tree. The only place I have is 3-4 feet from a birch tree. I am considering putting a plywood bottom on my box and putting it up on cinder blocks, however I am worried that having the box open underneath will allow cooler air to circulate and cool the soil temperature particularly in the spring and fall. I need every growing day I can get and don't want to lose days on either end of the season.

There is no forum for Alaska, but parts of Canada have very similar conditions. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Karin

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Re: Alaska Garden

Post  Goosegirl on 4/23/2011, 9:01 pm

flower flower

I'm not in Alaska or Canada, but I do have a similar growing season. I am in NE SD, and until I looked up your climate zone and compared it to mine, I had always thought I was in 4B, but I am in 4A! It looks like you are on the line between 3 and 4. Ain't it wonderful?! There are LOTS of members from Canada with LOTS of experience that will be able to help you. I am on my first year with SFG and this is all new to me, but definitely an adventure!

TC
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Re: Alaska Garden

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 4/23/2011, 10:13 pm

Welcome aboard, Karin! Love Alaskan members.

You are right...every growing day matters up there. Have you started seeds inside before? It may be worth looking into to get the most of your growing season. I would also look into covers and hoop houses someday for extending your growing season a bit longer. They aren't that expensive when compared to the initial startup cost in building a bed from scratch.

Please do post some pictures when you get the chance. I would love to see both your garden and some Alaskan surroundings.

Ask any question that comes to mind. We are here to help. Hope to see more of you around.
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Re: Alaska Garden

Post  Old Hippie on 4/24/2011, 12:04 am

Hi there. There are a few of you on the forum from Alaska. I grew up in the Yukon right next door to you! Now I live in central British Columbia.....Prince George to be exact. We have about three weeks more frost free days here than we did in Whitehorse. It is amazing though how many wonderful gardens there are up north there. Even with the fewer frost free days than they have down south, the perpetual daylight up there for June and July, makes a huge difference.

You are right about trying to conserve heat, especially at the beginning and the end of the season. If I were doing SFG om Whitehorse, I would attach a slab of 2" styrofoam on the bottom of the boxes. I have done that here for the inside of my cold frame and for some of my planters that I keep stuff in all year round. You may have to figure out something for drainage but obviously drilling holes in the styrofoam will be counter product. You know how they put insulated skirting around mobile homes up there. Perhaps you could adapt that idea for your raised boxes.

Hoop houses for the top are an excellent idea. The trick with using the hoop houses, cold frames, etc. is getting the stuff uncovered during the day. I lose more stuff due to things getting too hot during the day than I do to the cold. Clear spring weather has such a wide variation between overnight lows and daytime highs. Today we had a 22 degree difference. It was minus 6 Celsius this morning when I got up. Still -1C when I left for work and up to +16 C this afternoon.

Others might have more ideas.

Nice to see you here.

Gwynn
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Re: Alaska Garden

Post  quiltbea on 4/24/2011, 12:15 am

Welcome to the forum. I'm sure you will get more information that will help you.
I, too, understand the long daylight hours of summer are a big advantage for those in Alaska making plant growth exceptional.
Good luck.
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Reply from Alaska Garden

Post  kpreston46 on 4/24/2011, 12:27 pm

Thanks for the warm welcome and helpful advice. I think adding skirting around the raised bed may solve the problem of cold nights. Apparently in warmer climes, having a raised bed is used because it heats up faster. With the skirting, maybe I can take advantage of this and prevent too much cooling at night. I still have a few weeks before there is only a 10% chance of another frost.

BTW - how can I find out what zone I am in?

Thanks again.

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Re: Alaska Garden

Post  Old Hippie on 4/24/2011, 12:56 pm

Here's a link that you can check to see what gardening zone you are in. Where in Alaska are you? I am familiar with a fair bit of Alaska since we spent a lot of time vacationing there while we lived in the Yukon. My favourite area ever is the Kenai Penn. I love Soldotna. We have spent time in Haines, Skagway, Anchorage and Fairbanks. The Matanuska valley had a fairly large dairy production if I remember correctly. I have fond memories of a high school trip to university in Fairbanks. A couple of friends and I got in some trouble and got ourselves suspended from school when we got back home over partying in the men's dormitory. Wink It was in the days before co-ed dorms. It is kind of a good thing they didn't discover the Canadian beer we smuggled in to Alaska in our suitcases or it might have been an international incident.

Anyway, about the gardening.......besides the skirting to keep the cold from the bottom of your planter, don't forget to cover it by sunset in the evening in the spring and in the fall. That helps to keep the heat in over night.

Best of luck.

Gwynn
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Re: Alaska Garden

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/24/2011, 4:53 pm

Karin

You can check out your zone on the links listed in the following post REGIONS AND ZONES (I think Gwynn got so caught up in her story about playing in the men's dormitories, she forgot to insert the link Razz )

So glad you joined us. Many of us try to push the envelope and use the 50% average last frost date for planting, especially if we are able to use hoops and covers to help store a bit of warmth overnight. As BackyardBirdGardener said, hoops and covers are not very expensive.

Please keep us updated on your progress, and yes, we I love you pictures.
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Alaska Garden

Post  kpreston46 on 4/24/2011, 8:33 pm

I am in Anchorage, Alaska. Thanks for the links. It looks like I am in Zone 4. I have lived in several places in Alaska. I had a large row garden when I lived in Eagle (a small community on the Yukon River) and a smaller one when i lived in Fairbanks. I even grew cucumbers in the house when I lived in Nome. This will be the first time I have tried in Anchorage. We have a lot of cloudy, cool days here, but I am hopeful I can get the plants that like cool, shady days to grow. Of course I will have to try one of the varieties of tomatoes that have been developed for this area. Everyone has to try at least once. Smile

I will probably get things started in about 2 weeks when we hit the 50% chance of no more freezing nights. I will have a cover for the beds.

Thanks again.
Karin

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Alaska garden

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 4/24/2011, 9:09 pm

kpreston, you might want to get acquainted with some gardners just to the north of you. Folks in the Matanuska Valley grow tons of vegetables, i.e., cabbages so big one can't carry but one at a time. Part of it's the long hours of sun, but probably some veggie varieties have been bred to be especially successful in your area. Looking forward to more posts from you and your garden!

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