Alaska Seed Starting Schedules

If you just want “easy,” use our downloadable seed planting schedules for your appropriate zone!  We lay out out, date by date, and have done all the hard work for you.  It’s not as comprehensive, but it works!

The information presented here is entirely geared to be used along with the Frosty Garden seed planting schedule for vegetables and flowers for Interior Alaska and our general recommendations for northern climates.

If you want to skip forward to our planting schedules, minus the preamble, click your appropriate northern zone.

The gist here is that we provide a northern-focused seed schedule for vegetables, flowers and herbs.  It uses the number of weeks, prior to last frost, as the indicator of when YOU should be planting seeds for your area.

If it seems complicated, this is the best way to think about seed schedules.  Most garden guides will tell you, “Plant X number of weeks to last frost” so it’s good to be familiar with how that process works.  It’ll prepare you to grow anything!

The dates on these schedules tell you when those planting dates are, in your particular growing zone.

If you’re still not sure what this is about, read on!

A Primer On Our Alaska Seed Planting Schedules

In our effort to be a regional gardening guide for extreme northern climates, one of the important things we need to distinguish are seed planting schedules across the many climates Alaska has.

The challenge we face, attempting to be a growing guide for all of Alaska and “the north”, is immense.  There are extremes between areas where trees can barely grow (zone 1) to areas that can grow pomegranates (zone 7+).

These are worlds apart in experience, as you might imagine.  It’s the difference between starting your seed planting in January or March!

In USDA zones 1 through 4, we are in a race to make it our gardens work in the short summer we have.  There is little room for error.

In warm zones, 5a+, there is a bit more flexibility and longer, valuable growing season.

This shows how the various growing zones work in relationship to minimum low winter temperatures.  There is strong correlation to this and first/last frost dates as well!

Some battle coastal influence, which can significantly influence climate conditions.  Some are in mountainous areas, which can also radically adjust the expected climate.

Furthermore, you might notice that growing zones are defined by specific, geographic areas.  If growing zone line (between say, 4b and 5a) cut in between you and your neighbor’s house, is their climate radically different from yours?  No!

You might also find it best to fine tune our schedules.  We separate ours by a month each, as that’s how the “general growing world” thinks about these things.  You might find it better to shift it a week or two in either direction.

To many degrees, it’s upon the individual gardener to understand their climate well and determine their growing process (and schedules) for themselves.  Our goal is to give you accurate, northern-focused guidelines that help you get there.

Figuring Out Your Growing Zone

We decided to use the USDA growing zones to provide general guidance, as there is a strong correlation between these and general last frost dates.

This is one of the highest quality USDA growing zone maps we have for Alaska.  You can use this to generally pinpoint your growing zone.

Click the image to expand the full map!

The USDA’s hardiness zone map features street level data with hardiness zone overlays.

The information in this guide can absolutely be transferred to other northern growing areas, as well.  We’ve provided suggested latitudes, last frost dates and various Alaskan towns that can be used to hone in on which planting schedule is right for you.

Zone 1a-1b Seed Planting Schedule

Zone 2a-4b | Zone 5a-7b | Zone 8a-8b

Alaska Location Examples:  Utiagvik, Wainwright, Atqasuk, Prudoe Bay, Point Hope.  Also most northern mountain climates above 62N.

  • Approximate last frost date:  ~June 15th (When you transplant outside!)
  • Approximate latitudes:  Greater than 68 degrees north
  • Approximate total growing days:  40 to 75

This is, beyond any doubt, the most challenging of all Alaskan growing zones.

Truth be told, better than 75% of our seed schedule will not grow to full maturity within this zone, given the average summer season. If we have major garden tips for growing in this zone:

  • Plan on crops that mature in the 30-60 day range.  Primarily cold-climate friendly crops, generally speaking.  These include:
    • Greens (head & leaf lettuce, kale, Japanese greens, dandelion)
    • Fast, cold climate growers (radish, bok choy, some early pea varieties)
    • Microgreens (all varieties)
    • Herbs will produce to some degree, even in short season
    • Broccolini, ~50 day varieties
    • There are some specialty varieties that can be expected to mature in <60 days.  This is typically defined as the transplant date, so you only need 60 days of outdoor growing, with many varieties being cold climate friendly, able to withstand early frosts.
  • Expect first frosts as early as July to August in many of these locations.  There is an incredible amount of nuance in your exact micro-climate and actual capabilities.
  • Use season extension techniques (greenhouses, low/high tunnels, heating, container gardening, indoor growing techniques) when possible.
  • For longer range crops (> 60 days), expect to sow weeks to months earlier if you want to grow them.  Expect mostly indoor growing, with little advantage and opportunity to transplant outdoors permanently.

Despite the challenges explained above, this is our corrected seed planting schedule for these regions.  There is also some merit to following the 2a-4b schedule as this schedule will generally ensure “more mature” plants.  Keep in mind, this will also increase your indoor growing requirements.

Vegetable Seed Schedule | Flower Seed Schedule

Weeks To Last Frost:Date:
12 Weeks To Last Frost:3/23/2024
11 Weeks To Last Frost:3/30/2024
10 Weeks To Last Frost:4/6/2024
9 Weeks To Last Frost:4/13/2024
8 Weeks To Last Frost:4/20/2024
7 Weeks To Last Frost:4/27/2024
6 Weeks To Last Frost:5/4/2024
5 Weeks To Last Frost:5/11/2024
4 Weeks To Last Frost:5/18/2024
3 Weeks To Last Frost:5/25/2024
2 Weeks To Last Frost:6/1/2024
1 Weeks To Last Frost:6/8/2024
0 Weeks To Last Frost:6/15/2024
+1 Weeks From Last Frost:6/22/2024
+2 Weeks From Last Frost:6/29/2024

Zone 2a to 4b Seed Planting Schedule

Zone 1a-1b | Zone 5a-7b | Zone 8a-8b

Alaska Location Examples:  Fairbanks, Anchorage, Nome, Kotzebue, Palmer, Soldotna, Coldfoot, Tok, Bethel, Willow, Talkeetna, Unalakleet, King Salmon, most Alaskan mountain climates

  • Approximate last frost date:  ~June 1st (When you transplant outside!)
  • Approximate latitudes:  ~62 degrees north to ~68 degrees north
  • Approximate total growing days:  95 to 120

This is our bread and butter.  The zone that we ourselves find ourselves practicing within.

We can grow many things.  Not all things, but our climate allows for a lot of flexibility.

The recommended seed planting schedule we present is 100% geared towards these growing zones.

Some areas of South Central Alaska (e.g. Anchorage area) may be able to use the 5a-7b schedule.  This will entirely depend on your last frost dates in your particular area.

Vegetable Seed Schedule | Flower Seed Schedule

Weeks To Last Frost:Date:
12 Weeks To Last Frost:3/9/2024
11 Weeks To Last Frost:3/16/2024
10 Weeks To Last Frost:3/23/2024
9 Weeks To Last Frost:3/30/2024
8 Weeks To Last Frost:4/6/2024
7 Weeks To Last Frost:4/13/2024
6 Weeks To Last Frost:4/20/2024
5 Weeks To Last Frost:4/27/2024
4 Weeks To Last Frost:5/4/2024
3 Weeks To Last Frost:5/11/2024
2 Weeks To Last Frost:5/18/2024
1 Weeks To Last Frost:5/25/2024
0 Weeks To Last Frost:6/1/2024
+1 Weeks From Last Frost:6/8/2024
+2 Weeks From Last Frost:6/15/2024

Zone 5a to Zone 7b Seed Planting Schedule

Zone 1a-1b | Zone 2a-4b | Zone 8a-8b

Alaska Location Examples:  Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka, Kodiak, Homer, Valdez

  • Approximate last frost date:  ~May 1st (When you transplant outside!)
  • Approximate latitudes:  ~58 degrees north to ~62 degrees north
  • Approximate total growing days:  150 to 180

These zones bring much opportunity and generally much less conflict with growing food, flowers and many perennials.

Care does need to be taken around typical frost dates, in general, but these areas provide very functional “northern climate” growing abilities.

Some areas in this region may need to follow the 2a-4b planting schedule, typically higher elevations.  This will highly depend on your particular microclimate and typical last frost dates.

Vegetable Seed Schedule | Flower Seed Schedule

Weeks To Last Frost:Date:
12 Weeks To Last Frost:2/6/2024
11 Weeks To Last Frost:2/13/2024
10 Weeks To Last Frost:2/20/2024
9 Weeks To Last Frost:2/27/2024
8 Weeks To Last Frost:3/6/2024
7 Weeks To Last Frost:3/13/2024
6 Weeks To Last Frost:3/20/2024
5 Weeks To Last Frost:3/27/2024
4 Weeks To Last Frost:4/3/2024
3 Weeks To Last Frost:4/10/2024
2 Weeks To Last Frost:4/17/2024
1 Weeks To Last Frost:4/24/2024
0 Weeks To Last Frost:5/1/2024
+1 Weeks From Last Frost:5/8/2024
+2 Weeks From Last Frost:5/15/2024

Zone 8a to 8b Seed Planting Schedule

Zone 1a-1b | Zone 2a-4b | Zone 8a-8b

Alaska Location Examples:  Adak, Unalaska, much of the Aleutian Islands, some of Southeast Alaska

  • Approximate last frost date:  ~April 1st (When you transplant outside!)
  • Approximate latitudes:  ~53 degrees north to ~58 degrees north
  • Approximate total growing days:  210 to 240

We are definitely jealous of those growing in these climates!  The growing world is entirely open to you!

Things fundamentally change a bit when growing in this zone and above.  With such a vast number of possible growing days, there is much opportunity for multiple harvests with some plants.

You can get started early to get an early crop, but there’s a lot more wiggle room than us colder climate growers experience.

In general, you want to aim cold climate crops towards the beginning or ends of the season to take advantage of cooler weather.  Warm climate crops should be aimed towards peak summer season and allowed to mature into fall.

Some people in these regions may need to follow the 5a-7b schedule, typically depending on your elevation, coastal influence and average last frost date.

Vegetable Seed Schedule | Flower Seed Schedule

Weeks To Last Frost:Date:
12 Weeks To Last Frost:1/7/2024
11 Weeks To Last Frost:1/14/2024
10 Weeks To Last Frost:1/21/2024
9 Weeks To Last Frost:1/28/2024
8 Weeks To Last Frost:2/4/2024
7 Weeks To Last Frost:2/11/2024
6 Weeks To Last Frost:2/18/2024
5 Weeks To Last Frost:2/25/2024
4 Weeks To Last Frost:3/4/2024
3 Weeks To Last Frost:3/11/2024
2 Weeks To Last Frost:3/18/2024
1 Weeks To Last Frost:3/25/2024
0 Weeks To Last Frost:4/1/2024
+1 Weeks From Last Frost:4/8/2024
+2 Weeks From Last Frost:4/15/2024

 

If you have any comments, corrections or specific regional advice, we would love to hear it!  Slap a comment below if you have something to add.

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