This will be our first time gardening in Fairbanks, Alaska. Although we do have a fair bit of experience in cold climates, particularly Montana, there’s some relative differences compared to what we’re used to. We’re excited to meet these challenges of gardening in the sub-arctic!
We hit the month of March and despite a foot plus of snow on the ground and no sign of melting, gardening started to come to mind. It’s probably the longer days that we’ve been having that are making us think “spring” in every way. We kicked off the initial preparations by starting to figure out what we wanted to plant, how we might organize our space and spent time really getting into the varieties that do well in a sub-arctic climate.
Our intention is to join the Fairbanks Community Garden this year. We haven’t yet received word whether we’ll “definitely” have a plot, so our backup plan is to go to Craigslist to see if there’s folks not using their garden this year and wouldn’t mind a couple “strangers” farming their land. We applied for a plot back in October last year, so we’re really hoping that was early enough!
If we get one of these plots, we’ll be pretty happy…but we’re hoping to get one for each of us, if possible. This will offer us around 600/1200 square feet of gardening space, which is enough to actually do something worthwhile and get some substantial harvests. In years past, we’ve run smaller gardens, but are finally at the point where we seriously want to grow a fair share of our own food.
We’re practiced in doing our own starts, it’s the only economical way to run a substantial garden. Although we won’t have as much space for our starts this year, we’re actually planning on growing more starts than we ever have previously. The technique we’re using is to time everything as close to perfect as possible so that we can transplant directly into our garden with minimal transplanting into 3-4″ pots. Our plan calls for 432 starts!
We’re not super familiar with what does well here and what doesn’t, but we’ve done a fair bit of research. Obviously the cold crops do well, that’s obvious, but we do like to step outside the mold a little bit. We’re going to try to grow a fairly diverse garden, learn from it first hand and try to apply some techniques to make our “hard to do, here” crops do better. We’ll be bringing you along the way as we get through the season!