There is little doubt that April is the craziest month for the subarctic gardener, should you want to grow your own vegetable starts in our northern regions. This is the time when we put the most seeds under soil and things start to get busy with the gardening season.
If you haven’t started planting yet, April is definitely the month you can’t miss. This month is the point of no return for vegetables you didn’t plant in March. If you aren’t ready with your indoor garden yet, chances are good you will need to buy garden starts for your garden.
The Scope Of April’s Gardening Activities
Not only is April the busiest planting month for us subarctic gardeners, there’s also a ton of other activity that will be happening.
With the introduction of April, our schedule calls for a lot of seeding activities. Other than our very early stuff and our super fast growers, April is by far the busiest month for planting seeds in our indoor garden. This is the time where we usually have 3-4 seedling trays going, preparing our veggies for their next stage in life.
We are also maintaining the plants that we seeded in March. This process includes culling multiple seeds that may have sprouted and ensuring “one plant per growth site” principles, at least for most of our plants. We find that it’s important with most plants that only a single seed be allowed to germinate and grow to fruition in a given plant site. You could transplant extra plants into their own grow site, but we usually prefer to plant more seeds to guarantee growth and just snip off any extras.
Beyond just planting even more seeds, some of the seeds you planted in March are ready to be transplanted into larger containers. This process is essential to maintain the growth of the plants and to ensure you have proper starts for planting in your garden.
Our April Garden Starting Schedule:
For the month of April, we will do four separate plantings. We prefer to plant on the weekends as this is when we have the most time available. A few days on either side of the schedule is not going to make a huge difference, so plant things when it is convenient for you.
As we mention in our seed starting schedule, we tend to be fairly aggressive with our planting schedule. When plants have a range of potential seeding dates, we usually use the earlier of those dates. We allocate the space needed for our garden starts, which allows us to accommodate the larger garden starts. If you are highly restricted for space, we recommend using the later of the planting dates.
- Brussels sprouts
- Collard greens
- Garden Huckleberry
- Bells of Ireland
- Daisy, English
- Straw Flowers
- Sweet William
- Dahlia Tubers
- Daisy, African
- Gladiola Corms
- Schizanthus (Butterfly Flower)
- Lettuce, Head
- Strawberry Spinach
- Ageratum (Floss Flower)
- Alaska Cut Mix
- Baby’s Breath
- Candy Tuft
- Morning Glory
- Oriental Poppy
- Sweet Pea
- Bok Choy
- Lettuce, Leaf
- Squash, Summer
- Squash, Winter
- Swiss Chard
- Mustard Greens
- Bachelor Buttons
Status Of Interior Alaska Gardening Supplies
As most of you are aware, these are unprecedented times with stay at home orders being issued across the nation.
We feel fortuitous in Alaska that our state has allowed nurseries to be an essential business. We support that decision a thousand percent. Our gardens are so important to us and access to supplies is absolutely essential. Our garden is a vital component of our food security planning and we think that way whether there is a pandemic or not.
We have found that nurseries are taking orders by phone. We have placed our first local order over the phone and can report on the experience. It was fairly painless. We told them what we needed, they gathered the supplies, gave them our credit card numbers and then we call them when we are on the way. They bring the stuff we need to us and everyone is able to maintain their social distancing requirements. It was different, but doable.
We can appreciate that this experience might be challenging for a new gardener, sometimes browsing what is available is a great way to get familiar with things. That said, if you are experiencing particular challenges, we welcome comments on our Facebook and also on our blog here.
A huge shout out to the local nursery owners and also their employees that are facilitating this effort. We know this situation has to be challenging and also impacting your business heavily. Just like with our healthcare workers, we appreciate you more than words can say!
Status Of Online Ordering Of Gardening Supplies
We have definitely noticed that there is also pressure on online ordering places for gardening supplies.
Many commonly available items that you might order from Amazon are simply unavailable at this time. We have seen this across indoor LED grow lighting, cheap greenhouses and many other common gardening tools. We have also observed some significant price increases on certain things, which seems to be doing little to curb the massive demand.
There was one particular project that we wanted to accomplish this year. We wanted to replace our T5 CFL lighting with some new quantum board LED lights. These price increases and availability issues hit us in this regard. We saw an 80% price increase on the product we had picked out, and soon after, it was entirely unavailable.
We got creative and started researching US made brands. After researching things more thoroughly, we came to the conclusion this is what we should have been doing to begin with. They were certainly more expensive, but not with the price increases we were seeing with Chinese made goods! Fortunately, this research on the use of quantum board LED’s for general gardening purposes will continue this year!
Always be sure to check locally, too! It’s vitally important that we support our local nurseries through this time. We are returning to the phone call and they will appreciate hearing from you. We want them to be here when this all blows over eventually!
Please Don’t Hoard Gardening Supplies!
We hope that this goes without saying, but we are going to say it anyway. Don’t hoard gardening supplies! Please respect the needs and food security of the many gardeners within Interior Alaska and beyond!
We are aware that there is a massive interest in growing gardens this year. Seed supply houses are experiencing tremendous demand. We also know, from our experience in community gardening, that many of these gardens will not experience the love and care they require throughout the entire growing season.
More supplies will simply not make you a better gardener! More supplies than you need will simply make you poorer and in a worst case, could rob the food security from another gardener.
We also recognize that there is a fine line between getting what you need for a substantial garden and hoarding. We aren’t recommending you practice absolute minimalism with your gardening needs. Just try to get what you need.