It’s time for gardening! For some of us, gardening is exciting; for others, it’s more drudgery than pleasure.
I belonged to the first group until I moved to Alaska. Unsuccessful attempts year after year soon drove me to despair.
Often times, we take the familiar for granted. I certainly did.
I assumed gardening in Alaska would produce similar results to the gardens I had seen growing in Kentucky. Of course, I knew soil types, maturity dates, etc. would differ in the diverse geographical locations. I really hadn’t a clue!
I figured careful tending to the gardens would at least produce some vegetables I could can for the winter. Wrong.
The only canning I was ever able to do with my garden in the interior of Alaska was 9 quarts of green tomatoes. Not exactly what one would call productive. But, please, don’t judge all Alaskan gardeners by my efforts; many are very successful.
For my first Alaskan garden I naively started my seeds indoors in February; taking great care to baby them along. I made sure the seedlings received maximum sunlight exposure, even with our short daylight hours. They grew rapidly and were transplanted several times. Soon, they were ready to be placed in the garden, They were such nice hardy plants. The problem was: the soil was still frozen. By mid May, when we could begin to think about tilling a garden, my poor plants were past their prime. Then, there was the year I watered my garden with water which had gone through the water softener and was salty.
Later gardens would appear to be promising, only to have unexpected frost ruin them. Despite the long daylight hours, frost can occur as early as the latter part of July. Weather tracking and covering did little to alleviate the problem. One day I was showing my pretty garden to visiting friends from North Carolina and we were all stunned the next morning to see it had been destroyed by an early freeze in July.
My next best gardening year, I planted extra cabbage and squash. Moose were always a problem as they routinely cut through my property. I figured I would plant extra and if the moose ate some of the cabbage and/or squash, I would still have enough for the family. Wrong again, Mr. Moose went row after row chomping huge bites from every single cabbage. The same with the squash.
That was enough for me; from then on I planted my vegetables in raised containers which could be moved quickly. I even tried the styrofoam trick. I have friends who are wonderful gardeners, just not me. I think I’m jinxed.
This year, I am looking forward to doing a bit of gardening in Henry County. No frozen soils to contend with; no moose wandering about (deer are much more dainty and definitely not as piggish as moose). The rarity of experiencing frost in July; it all sounds good to me. And the best part of all, should I fail again with my gardening here; I can always purchase the produce from someone who knows exactly how to grow gardens.