It’s time to start planning your 2023 Alaska Vegetable Garden!
It’s that time! When we dream of spring by burying our noses in gardening catalogs. It always gives me hope to see the full color photos of blooming flowers and ripe fruits and veggies.
But, it can be tricky to determine which seeds to buy and who to buy from. Although this is not an exhaustive list by any means, I thought it might be helpful to see where we get our seeds for our garden. We grow *most* of our veggies for the year based on this list so if you’re hoping to do the same, this could be very helpful!
When we get our garden seeds, we start local and get what we can before we purchase from outside sources. My very favorite local seed store is Seed and Soil Organics in Palmer. Last year we planted several things from her that did WONDERFULLY! This year I added to my order significantly. 🙂
One thing I love about Seed and Soil farm is that their seeds are all organic. They are also heirloom seeds meaning you can use your plants to save seeds from year to year if you want to. That won’t work with hybrid seeds and since sustainability is so important to us, we try to order as much as we possibly can from them.
Here are just a few seeds we ordered from Seed & Soil Organics this year:
- Beets (I love their multi-color blend for kvass, canning for salads, and freezing for soups)
- Borage (this is a flower that I know has many purposes but I like to plant one here and there to bring in bees – bees LOVE borage!
- Beans (I’m trying them new this year. I have several bean varieties to try but they say theirs can grow in our climate OUTSIDE of the greenhouse so I’m going to give it a shot!
- Radishes (I plant just a few in the spring for early salads but plant the rest in July to add to my ferments in September.)
- Tomatoes (They say they have some that also grow outside of the greenhouse. I’m going to put them in tires next to the greenhouse in hopes they get plenty of warmth)
- Chamomile to harvest for tea for the winter. There’s just something so cozy about sipping tea from my own garden when winter is settled in and spring feels so far away!
- Edible flower seeds (I got these to plant down in our children’s foraging area in the orchard. Won’t that be so fun for the kids when they come to pick fruit – to also get to grab some edible flowers?)
- And, of course, TONS of herbs for all sorts of things. We’re even thinking of having a small u-pick herb bundle pack for pickers this year – does that sound like fun?
We also love Best Cool Seeds (formerly Denali Seed). Although they aren’t located in Alaska any longer, they still make sure all seeds are field tested in Alaska before they include them in their store. (Coming soon: a podcast we recorded with the owner of Best Cool Seeds – SUPER informative!) Most of the original varieties are still offered as well.
From Best Cool Seeds here are a few things we ordered this year:
- Pumpkins (last year ours did awesome!)
- Brussels Sprouts
- Cauliflower (Snow Crown is what we planted last year and we ate a ton, gave a bunch away, and still had over 100 bags to freeze! The heads were HUGE and so so tasty!)
Once I’ve gotten all of my preferred seeds from Seed and Soil and Best Cool Seeds, my next online stop is Territorial Seed. We’ve always appreciated the folks at Territorial Seed, and we even enjoy visiting their store in person when we visit family in Oregon. I usually get a few tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, and other veggies from Territorial Seed.
Finally, we have a few outliers that we order from because when I find something that works, I tend to stick with it even if it gets a little harder to find.
I buy Alisa Craig onion seeds from Johnny’s Seeds. The Alisa Craig onion isn’t a great keeper but they get HUGE and they are so so tasty in our ferments and fresh for as long as we can keep them in the fall.
Our favorite broccoli (besides Green Goliath which I can’t even find in the states any more) is Arcadia. It produces really nice heads and enough off shoots to fill a freezer! It can be a bit tricky to find. Last year we get them from Vessey’s seeds. My daughter-in-law found us some this year to buy.
One thing to note:
Even though we do buy hybrid seeds for some of our needs, I do try to always have a few heirloom plants of everything we love to save for the following year. I’m new to seed saving but I think it’s an important part of sustainable gardening so we’re digging in more every year.
PS – Have you seen our Winter Homesteading Class list?
If you are interested in filling your pantry and freezers with food you’ve grown or sourced locally, keeping poultry for eggs or meat, Alaska beekeeping, herbalism and growing your own apothecary, or permaculture, we’ve got you covered!
Also, coming soon: Fruit tree grafting, orchard pruning, planning and managing an orchard in Alaska, and so much more!