FAIRBANKS - As the sun begins to shine a little longer each day — and brighter; one
can actually feel it — thoughts turn to summer and, for many, gardening. But with Alaska’s famously short growing season, some careful planning is in order to ensure the best crop production.
I have been providing a seed starting schedule since my regular gardening column began 19 years ago, and every year it has generated the most reprint requests. This timetable is only a general guideline — you can pretty much plant a week either way of the dates listed. Even the traditional Memorial Day weekend transplant date is variable, depending on your location, slope and shading. In some areas, plants can be set out in mid-May, while residents in other parts of town would do well to wait until June 6. This schedule assumes that you are going to transplant the Sunday before Memorial Day, which falls on May 31 this year.
This schedule is a compilation of personal experience (meaning there are alterations almost every year) and information collected from: “Seed Starting and Transplanting” and
“Recommended Variety List for Interior Alaska” (both published by Alaska Cooperative Extension); “A Beginner’s Guide to Successful Gardening in the Fairbanks Area,” by Eloise DeWitt; “Gardening in the Cabbage Patch in Fairbanks, Alaska,” by Pat Babcock; Ann D. Roberts’ “Alaska Gardening Guide” and an herb chart compiled by Barbara Fay.
Over the years, additional information has been provided by Cyndie Warbelow-Tack of Plant Kingdom and Nursery, Jim Holm of Holm Town Nursery, and Michele Hebert of Cooperative Extension. I thank all of these folks for the many times they have helped with or reacted to my columns; any mistakes are mine. —Linden Staciokas