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STELLER BOTANICAL HEALTH:

Growing Guide for Gustavus, Alaska

Gustavus, Alaska

Basic Planting Calendar for Gustavus,

Southeast Alaska

Every year is different so there can always be variation but here is my basic planting guide to help you plan your garden success:

January & February

Nourish yourself, relax and reinvigorate for the coming season. Get inspired by reading and researching about garden topics you are curious about.

Dream and make plans!

January:  start herbs seeds like Echinacea or Rhodiola that require stratification (freeze and thaw)

February: start leek seeds indoors.



March

Early March, start indoors slow germinating seeds: parsley, celery, onions (long daylight varieties), pansies, slow growing herbs like rosemary, lavender, thyme. and tomatoes and peppers.

Late March: start indoors cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, basil, flowers like bachelor buttons, lavatera, strawflower, marigolds, slow growing herbs- german chamomile, anise hyssop

We use thermostat controlled heat mats and a woodstove in our greenhouse and kick cool weather plants like onions out as soon as possible as they get stronger in more natural conditions vs our house.



April

Start indoors, do one planting then 2 weeks later another planting so you get a continuous harvest: fennel, kohlrabi, lettuce, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, broccoli, collards, chard. herbs like marigolds, poppies

Late April: fast growing flowers like nasturtiums, zucchini, winter squash.

Getting plants outdoors in a greenhouse or covered shelter will increase vigor and reduce legginess. In this case protect from frost on cool nights so plants don't get nipped or damaged

Keep potting plants up as they grow so they stay healthy. Root bound plants are not as vigorous.

Prune fruit trees and berry bushes.


May

Still plenty of time to start in pots: kale, cabbage (not long season varieties), broccoli, collards, spinach, chard, lettuce. Start in pots as this gives plants a head start and protects young seedlings from slugs.

Row covers will allow you to transplant cold hardy crops like cabbages, onions, broccoli, collards, turnips as the row cover will protect from frost (and root maggots)

Plant pea seeds and potatoes directly in the ground.

Late May: transplant tomatoes, peppers, winter squash to the greenhouse.

With extra care hold care seeds like arugula, radishes, mixed greens can be direct seeded they will grow slowly however in cold soil, generally I find planting seeds planted in June catch up with those planted in May and take less attention for cold nights/frost.



June


Direct seeding frenzy: get baby greens like arugula, mixed greens, kyona, lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, beets, carrots, parsnips, turnips, cilantro, dill.


Transplant: kale, cabbage, onions, flowers, zucchini

Succession plant things like baby greens, lettuce, cilantro, dill for a continuous harvest.


It is essential that your brassica crops are covered by row covers so they don't get devoured by root maggots!



July

Direct seeding frenzy: get baby greens like arugula, mixed greens, kyona, lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, beets, carrots, parsnips, turnips, cilantro, dill.

Transplant: kale, cabbage, onions, flowers, zucchini

Succession plant things like baby greens, lettuce, cilantro, dill for a continuous harvest.

It is essential that your brassica crops are covered by row covers so they don't get devoured by root maggots!


August

Days getting noticeably shorter- the second week of August is my cut off for last plantings of quick growing salad greens. 

Cover crop seeds to grow dense need to be planted by mid-August.


September

Savor the harvest. Preserve for winter.

Plant garlic for next year!



October - December

Put beds to rest- cover with seaweed, leaves or fabric.

Clean up all those crazy messes from summer fun and projects.


plant tea

Caring for Seedlings:

Managing moisture is hard. Too dry and your seedlings will die. Too moist and your seedlings can die from fungal diseases or your soil will grow fungi


To prevent fungus I make herbal teas of and water my plants with these. Chamomile, Calendula and Neem Leaf are my favorites to keep seedlings healthy.


Plants in the middle of trays often stay far more moist than seedlings on the edges, take special care to water around the edges.


Feed your plants Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner: as your plants grow pot them up into bigger containers or soil blocks always adding more nutrients. 

Grow Your Own Starts:

Keep records of dates you start seeds, varieties, and learn what works best for you.

Starting seeds indoors in Alaska gives a jump start to our gardens so that they can suddenly fill up once the weather is amenable.

Thermostat controlled heat mats and LED grow lights increase germination and prevent leggy plants. Adjust the distance of your lights as your plants grow taller.  

A greenhouse provides natural light and makes plants stronger. You will want to have a way to keep plants from getting nipped or freezing in cool weather.


basil starts
plant tea

Caring for Seedlings:

Managing moisture is hard. Too dry and your seedlings will die of dehydration. Too moist and your seedlings can die from fungal diseases or your soil will grow fungi.

To prevent fungus I make dilute herbal teas and water my plants with these. Chamomile, Calendula and Neem Leaf are my favorites to keep seedlings and soil healthy.

Plants in the middle of trays often stay far more moist than seedlings on the edges, take special care to water around the edges.

Solid propagation trays can be used to bottom water plants, which allows soil and plants to take up moisture as needed vs being drenched from above.

Feed your plants Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner: as your plants grow pot them up into bigger containers or soil blocks always adding more nutrients. 



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