Never, Ever Gardened Before in Alaska? Keep Reading. . .

Gardening for the first time can be daunting, especially in Alaska with the added challenges of a short growing season, sometimes too-cool weather, and sometimes very hot weather. Although the internet provides a wealth of information, when you’ve never done something before, sometimes you don’t even know what questions to ask. Here are some questions you may not have known to ask.

The first thing to think about when starting a garden is where are you going to put it?

An ideal garden spot would get eight or more hours of direct sunlight; have rich, loose soil free of weeds, rocks and roots; be a good distance from trees and shrubs; have an easily accessible water source; and have an 8- foot-high fence to keep moose and other pests out. That’s the ideal, but many of us garden in less than ideal spots because that’s what we have available. However, it’s something to work toward or arrange if you can.

raised bed with hoop house filled with flowers and veggies
This productive raised bed is located at the University of Alaska Fairbanks community garden which is a repurposed bridge and road over the train tracks. It heats up and gets full sun.
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Raised Beds Make it Possible to Garden Just About Anywhere

Gardening in raised beds offers a lot of benefits, and a few drawbacks. Raised beds are a great option for gardening on top of a porch, concrete, or on poor, rocky soil. They’re ideal for corralling good soil while keeping it from getting compacted. They make it easy to employ no-till gardening and to eliminate weeds in the aisles, especially if your walkways are made of concrete or something else that completely keeps weeds from growing. 

raised bed garden built with paving stones. Sunflowers, vegetables and nasturtiums spill over the side
One of the most beautiful and productive raised bed gardens I’ve seen were planted and cared for by Gretchen Kerndt for the Princess Hotels. This bed is built with paving stones.
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