A Guide to Starting Seeds and Planting in Alaska

I recently got a message asking for advice regarding putting in a garden and starting seeds. I was so thrilled to be asked advice, that I’m writing a whole post about it. After all, it’s time to start seriously thinking about garden plans for the coming summer.

Most seeds need to be planted in pots long before the garden is ready. In order to grow varieties besides the fertilizer-drenched options at the local box store or greenhouse, you’ll need to think about picking out seeds from local seeds racks, or ordering from online seed companies.

 Seed Planting Calendar:

Below is a general planting calendar for starting your seeds indoors. Keep in mind:you will likely want to stagger your plantings. In other words, plant a few seeds a week over a couple of weeks. That way you’ll be able to harvest continually and not end up with 200 lbs of cabbage at once!

Fishy Peat is a local potting soil

Jan/February

  • Bulb Onions  (1-2″ cell packs)

Beginning of March

  • Celery (4″ pots, may need to transplant into larger pots before placing outdoors)

Mid-April

  • Cabbage/Brocolli/Brussel Sprouts (6-pack deep cell-packs)
  • Lettuce (2″ cell packs)

May 1st:

  • Peppers/Cucumbers/Tomatoes (4″ pots)
  • Corn (4″ pots)

Plant directly in the garden by Memorial Day:

  • Peas
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Roots crops (turnips, rutabagas, beets)
  • Green onions
  • Salad mix
  • Spinach
  • Potatoes
Soil for Your Seeds:

Many books say that you need sterilized soil for your seeds. I think that’s nonsense. In Alaska, I create a mixture of  half topsoil and half local potting soil called Fishy Peat. You can find it at Alaska Mill and Feed in Anchorage, or Budget Feed in Palmer. I find that it contains a little too much peat — it can get easily water-logged — so I like to mix it with topsoil that tends to contain more sand. Soil should drain well but retain moisture. It should contain enough nutrients to give your plant babies a good start! Any mixture of topsoil, potting soil, and finished compost should work just fine.

**NOTE: I have tried using the MiracleGro “organic” potting soil before. Don’t bother. My plants never really thrive in the stuff.

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3 Comments

  • Vanessa

    December 29, 2012 at 12:45 am Reply

    I’m so excited to have happened across this blog! I’ll be exploring it over the next few days, and am looking forward to Spring!

  • Julie

    April 2, 2015 at 10:55 am Reply

    Hi, Where can I find Fishy Peat Potting Soil? Thanks!

    • Erik

      April 2, 2015 at 12:38 pm Reply

      I know it’s for sale at Dimond Greenhouse, 3 Bears, and Alaska Mill and Feed.

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