Wasilla Alaska Garden Adventures

Wasilla Alaska Garden Adventures - learning about gardening up north.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Starting Seeds

More snow today - another 4-6" so far and still coming down. About 18-20" on the ground now.

In Wasilla Alaska - Memorial Day weekend is the start for outdoor gardening. We are in in Hardiness Zone 3 to 4. Our last Frost date is about May 20. We have about 100 - 110 frost free days - but we have almost 20 hours of sun in June and that is the same as adding 2 extra weeks to our season. Those lucky enough to have a greenhouse can start earlier. Fighting the urge to plant garden seeds in the middle of another Alaska winter takes self control. Last year I planted seeds the first week of February and I had 24" tomato plants in gallon pots taking over the house by May! This year I held off until the first week in March.

I use a special seed starting system from Park Seeds called the Bio Dome that worked very well for me last year. There are 40 cells per tray and it is bottom watering so you only water the tray about once a week and I had nearly 100% germination. I also use electric heat mats under the flats.

I have a 7 ft high 4 shelf wire rack with 6 florescent lights per shelf. I bought all new 6500 degree daylight bulbs this year. I use a timer to control the lights set for 16 hours per day. I hang 2 inexpensive "Space Blankets" on the front and back as light reflectors.

March 3, 2010: Planted 80 vegetable seeds in 2 Bio Dome Flats. All early cold tolerant verities...

30 Tomatoes...
10 Beaverlodge Plum
5 Oregon Spring
5 Legend
5 Stupice
5 Early Girl

25 Peppers...
10 King of the North
5 North Star
5 Golden Star
5 California Wonder

25 Eggplant...
15 Millionaire
5 Twinkle
5 Fairytale

Saturday March 6 - some Tomato sprouts peeking through.

Sunday - about 10 Tomatoes were up and a few Eggplant.

Tuesday March 9 - 6 days after planting - 28 tomatoes are up and all 5 Twinkle and 3 Millionaire Eggplant. No Peppers yet.


  1. Hello fellow Wasillian. I enjoyed reading your post about how you start your seeds. Did you get those Bio Domes locally. Does the foam medium easily transplant and degrade in the soil. I will be following your blog and thanks.

  2. Nice tomato selection. I am a valley girl born and raised. From Willow.

  3. Hello from Chateau Listeur. We get the Bio Dome trays from Park Seeds. They are kinda pricy - but seem to work very well. The foam grow plugs seem to transplant very well and slowly break down over the summer. We plan to try regular seed flats with planting cells filled with seedling mix and maybe grow plugs to compare. I think the secret is some way to bottom water the trays. Bottom watering seems to promote deep healthy roots.

  4. Lister Sister JaneApril 4, 2010 at 5:19 PM

    Just started tomatoes peppers eggplant and basil yesterday. I use the cell flats too and like them, but never tried the grow plugs. Still get good germination. Seems I always have too many seeds anyway so I put 2 or 3 if they are very old per cell. Bottom watering is a good plan. My flats are on our radiant heated floor until they sprout. Then to the south double door with grow lights. I am about a week later than usual this year but still early enough I think.