Greetings everyone! We are excited about the 2023 gardening season!
As we look outside, there are feet of snow on the ground, with much more in the forecast. Temperatures are still dipping into below zero territory.
As usual, it doesn’t at all “feel” like gardening season is upon us.
Nonetheless, it’s time for us to start dusting off the grow room and think about getting started on our 2023 garden!
2022 Was An Incredible Year
First, let’s talk about last year, 2022. It was an incredible year for us.
We made the decision to start heavily investing into our social media in 2020 and it’s paying off.
We experienced a few “viral” posts on our Facebook page that truly started to snowball our following. We are extremely grateful to those that share our posts and help us build out an organic network of fellow gardeners.
While we’ve had a rather healthy amount of traffic to our website (thousands of visits per month, much more during the growing season), social media is entirely where “people” are at these days.
We are up to over 1,700 followers on our Facebook page. Our new-ish Instagram account doesn’t see as much love, but it’s gaining some traction as well. We also started a Pinterest account in 2021 and have a few of our posts up there as well.
Now that Twitter is allowing “long form” tweets, we might consider joining there as well. We are folks that communicate information and the short character limit on Twitter just made that not an attractive social media outlet for us.
We are trying to keep up with the times here, but this site is still generally a hobby-level effort.
Our 2023 Garden Plans Are Complete
We got a later start than usual on planning out our gardens this year. Not a big deal, that’s just how it works sometimes.
We really feel like we are hitting our stride as far as our gardens go. So, not a ton of changes for 2023. Just typical crop rotation and a few minor updates as far as that goes.
Home Raised Bed Garden:
Home Container Garden & Greenhouse:
A few of the notable changes for our 2023 gardens:
- We are going with more carrots this year than we have in years past
- We are planting more onions this year than in years past
- We will be expanding the succession plantings within our leaf lettuce and mesclun greens beds. Our plan is three major successions. One grown indoors, two direct sows. We’re trying to hit a target of greens throughout the entire season.
- We are adding 10 more sub irrigated buckets to our system to accommodate more corn
- We have a few tricks up our sleeve for new subarctic gardening experiments
- Again, we are expanding our flower production even further
In case you’re curious about the images above, we talk about how we develop our garden plans in this post.
Corn Is On The Subarctic Grown Menu!
We trialed corn in 2022 and experienced an overwhelming success!
In our trial, we grew the Cafe variety, which was reported to be a successful variety in the UAF variety trials from 2021. It indeed did produce quite well for us.
We were able to make an excellent canned corn salsa from our crop last year, it’s been a super tasty thing to eat up over the winter months.
It was interesting learning how corn grew as it really hasn’t been something we’ve played around with a lot, being life-long northern growers.
Our plan is to do a much better job at hand pollinating our corn this year. We experienced good natural pollination, but actually did some research this time to figure out what we “should” be doing.
Nonetheless, we’re expanding our corn from 8 plants to over 24 plants.
We’re hoping this should be enough for our personal use, but we’ll continue to fine tune things as the years go on.
Expanding Access To Our Content To Non Social Media Users
Over the last year, we’ve sort of contracted (personally speaking) from social media. There’s a lot of reasons for this and we aren’t alone.
One of the main decisions we’ve made going forward is to start replicating our valuable social media content back into our site’s blog.
Our social media posts have been quite good, with lots of tidbits of information. We want to make this same content available to non-social media users and visitors to our website, not requiring social media accounts to access it.
Going forward, we’ll be putting our “high effort” social media posts on the blog section of our website. (If you’re reading this, you found it!)
This will also help us to “own” the content ourselves, making it more accessible for our website readers overall.
Guest Speaker Opportunities
We’ve generally been well regarded by the gardening community across Alaska. People really seem to appreciate a “far north focused” focused gardening resource.
That’s why we started this whole thing to begin with!
Dipping our toes into this world has opened up some opportunities to be guest speakers at various events across our Alaskan community.
Last year, we participated as guest speakers in a collaboration with the Fairbanks Soil & Water Conservation District. That was a fun event and helped us make some community connections.
This year, we’re continuing that tradition with two other opportunities so far.
On March 5th, we’ll be speaking at the annual Fairbanks Community Garden meeting on a brief “growing a garden from seed indoors” talk. We’ll be covering some of the basics of germination, indoor growing, grow rooms and so forth.
On March 11th, we’re travelling to Soldotna to give an hour long presentation on Gardening In Alaska & Cold Climates for the Central Peninsula Garden Club. We are really excited about this one!
We are somewhat open to public talks like this, so if you’re interested in getting us at your event, feel free to contact us.
Inside Our Little Frosty Garden Operation
In case you are curious about the back end of running a little website, we like to use these annual addresses to communicate where we’ve been and where we are at with our website.
Since 2015 when we started FrostyGarden.com, we’ve seen a steady incline of visitors. It’s all ready far beyond where we could have imagined it back then.
Here’s a few interesting statistics about our website from the last few years:
- In 2021, we saw 12,576 unique visitors to our website
- In 2022, we saw 17,284 unique visitors to our website
- For 2023, our traffic is all ready up 39.7% from 2022
- We currently average over 500 visitors per week
- Our average read time is 2 minutes, 31 seconds, pretty good!
- 53.2% of our users access our site from a cell phone, 38.9% from a desktop device
- Search engines are still our highest source of traffic
- Our top three most popular articles are:
- Our seed schedule
- Our greenhouse build
- Our guide to small greenhouse temperature control
In 2020, we made a major shift to our web development philosophy. This effort has well proven itself to us and we are confident that we are on the right path now.
Also, we are proud of the fact that our website is extremely well optimized.
Our average page load time is less than 2 seconds, which is great for an Alaskan focused site where many of our users are accessing it from satellite communication systems. Especially since we load a lot of pictures!
We put a lot of effort and money into making a “fast” website. It’s something you probably don’t even notice, which is exactly how we want it to be.
FrostyGarden.com Is Still Growing!
We are thrilled to continue to have the opportunity to garden with you all.
Our efforts to “fill the niche” of subarctic and cold climate gardening information are continuing to provide us positive feedback. We are grateful for your time, following and readership.
We are still happy to provide a truly “free” resource, absent of advertising and affiliate garbage. This is how the internet was originally envisioned and a tradition we want to continue ourselves.
We’ve had several readers ask how they can contribute to our efforts. We continue to be non-monetary focused and only ask that you comment on our articles and follow us on social media.
We’ve thought about doing something like stickers and magnets as a mutually beneficial exchange, but that’s just a lot more complicated. We’ll continue to think about it. If we change our mind, you’ll be certain to hear about it.
Thanks again and we look forward to another successful gardening season in 2023!