Wasilla Alaska Garden Adventures

Wasilla Alaska Garden Adventures - learning about gardening up north.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

End Of May Update

Today is May 31 and we have had more than our fare share of fantastic sunny weather this past month. You could say we have had too much of a good thing. The warm and very dry weather helped spawn a terrible forest fire down on the Kenai Peninsula. As of today the area burned is estimated to be over 190,000 acres. The location of the fire was several hundred miles South of my house, but the thick smoke and the smokey smell covered the Matsu Valley where I live. I even noticed a fine layer of ash covering my truck hood.

The weather finally turned cool, a few days ago, and we got some much needed rain. This has helped put a damper on the fire. Containment is getting near if this weather pattern holds for a few more days.

I have been very busy with some needed garden projects this spring. An 8 ft high electrified Moose fence is out of my budget so I am building Moose Cages over my raised beds.

We shall see how well it works. I added hinges along one side so the hoop cages can be moved out of the way to reach my plants.

They are much more affordable then fencing my property. I have several completed and just two more to build.

I finally got my annual flower bed planted. I had 4 flats that totaled over 100 seedling starts. It took me all Thursday afternoon to get them into the ground and I was pretty sore after many hours crawling around on my knees, but it was worth the effort and I always enjoy playing in the dirt.

I am not a flower expert, so I just picked out some bright colors that I have had good luck with before.

 I hope to see a bed full of color soon. Some of my Marigold transplants are blooming today.

I am a little behind in getting my warm season eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes transplanted out into my hoop tunnels. They are doing just fine inside my greenhouse, although it is a little crowded. I decided to hold off until this colder weather pattern passed and we get some more sunny days, but I simply cannot put it off much longer. It is all about timing, here in Wasilla, in order to take full advantage to our long sunny days and short growing season.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

May Planting Update

The weather has been unbelievable this May 2014. It has been warm and sunny and the temperatures have been much warmer than usual with many daytime highs in the mid 70's and on Saturday, May 17th it made it up to 78 degrees.. It is very tempting to put many plants out into the garden - but I am not so sure just yet. My home weather station has been a great help in tracking overnight low temperatures and it was still dropping below freezing last week. It is finally staying in the mid to high 30's F at night. Luckily I have been able to move many plants out to my greenhouse and keep it warm enough at night with an electric space heater, but my greenhouse is getting over crowded and I could use more space.

I have 20 Grow Bucket tomatoes and many extras in gallon pots that I will move out to my hoop tunnel garden beds later this week. I could make more grow buckets if I had a more greenhouse space. A second unheated greenhouse is on my to-do list.

I will be transplanting my broccoli, kale, and lettuce today, and many of my flowers too. I also have flats with peppers and eggplant and some will go into Grow Buckets and most will go into raised beds with hoop tunnels in my garden.

Thank goodness for our long Alaska daylight as I am able to comfortably work in my garden past 10 PM with 17 hours of sun and increasing every day. Summer in Alaska is simply unbelievable and with just the right timing you can have a very successful garden season - even if the outdoor growing season seems short - serious gardeners are kept busy for many months getting ready for the mad dash to take advantage of our warm summer weather. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Too Much To Do ...and Not Enough Time ?

This is the main seedling shelf system I use when starting seeds inside my house, in the living room. I moved my tomatoes along with broccoli and kale flats out to the heated greenhouse over a week ago and they are doing fine.

I will be moving more plants out to the greenhouse today and might just plant my onion sets out in the raised beds tomorrow and maybe some beets and radish seeds too. I picked up some replacement strawberry plants on my way home Friday morning to add into my strawberry bed for the ones that did not survive over winter. I want to make some more Alaska Grow Buckets also to hold more tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers. I have a plan to put up another unheated Hoop Greenhouse as soon as I can to hold more Alaska Grow Buckets. I know this all sounds pretty ambitious - but you will just have to check back and see how much I can accomplish ...oh and there is that electric moose fence that I should work on too.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Still Too Early To Plant Outside

You can't let the warm sunny days in early May fool you into planting outside too early. Even though it is 70 degrees F outside as I am writing this.  The 24 hour Temperature Graph below tells the real story... The red line is the temperature outside and the blue line is inside my heated greenhouse. The minimum outdoor temperature was 27.7 degrees F at 5:48 AM on Friday morning May 9th - and tender plants would suffer frost damage if they were planted outside unprotected. My heated greenhouse never went below 44 Degrees F. Hardy plants like kale or broccoli would probably be okay outside, but unprotected tomatoes and peppers would be likely to show some damage from cold stress and probably some frost damaged leaves. It is still very possible to get another hard freeze for the next few weeks and it is simply not worth the risk. The micro climate in my yard happens to be 5 to 10 degrees colder than the official weather data from the local airport weather station just 3 miles away. My home weather station has really helped me to know what is going on in my garden.