Even though we have officially entered spring according to the calendar AND we had a mild winter, our Alaskan home still has snow around the yard. Life on the side of a mountain has its downsides and the lack of sunshine for several months each winter mean we have a colder spot for growing compared to friends who live ‘in town’ where there is no mountain shadowing their yard. So, not only do we need to learn about cold climate gardening, our personal growing season is cut shorter from this ‘mountain shadow effect.’ Let’s just say that the few years here have had poor results in our garden. But, we are educating ourselves on techniques in the hope of growing more produce at home.
I found the following resources to help those of us needing a cold climate gardening approach. Hopefully it will not only help ME, but also help any other reader in the same situation. (Note ~ These are Amazon affiliate links which may provide our family with a small commission. Thank you in advance for anyone who elects to purchase something through our links.)
General Cold Climate Gardening Books
Cold-Climate Gardening: How to Extend Your Growing Season by at Least 30 Days was written by a long time Vermont gardener, so he knows how winter can run long and make it a challenge for growing certain plants. I remember borrowing this book years ago and need to revisit it again.
Organic Gardening in Cold Climates caught my eye as I want to have the healthiest produce possible and that includes finding alternative ways to keep pests at bay.
The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year Round Vegetable Production Using Deep Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses has a Maine gardener drawing from his experience and sharing with the reader on how to produce vegetables year round. While I am not sure if I can do year round gardening like this, I am really intrigued as the idea of fresh produce beyond the summer is quite appealing.
Growing Food in a Short Season: Sustainable, Organic Cold-Climate Gardening has the focus on making the most of your short growing season.
Taylor’s Weekend Gardening Guide to Cold Climate Gardening: How to Select and Grow the Best Vegetables and Ornamental Plants for the North is another with both types of gardening (flowers and vegetables) along with the added benefit of being written for busy people.
Cold Climate Gardening Books Specifically Written for Alaska
The Alaska Gardener’s Handbook is not new as it was written in 1994. There are mixed reviews as some people found it lacking when it came to growing vegetables compared to flowers. But, it is still a go to book for many up here.
Alaska Gardening Guide is a little newer (written in 2000) and has a focus on vegetables. While the writer has a focus on growing in Alaska, the techniques can be applied to any northern garden.
There’s a Moose in My Garden: Designing Gardens in Alaska and the Far North goes beyond what to grow and talks about the more unique ‘pests’ Alaskan gardeners can find. We have a 6 foot tall fence around our backyard, but I know that a moose or bear could come over it in a heart beat if they wanted.
Cold Climate Gardening Books Which Talk About Using Structures
Building & Using Cold Frames: Garden Way Publishing Bulletin A-39 is available for Kindle or in print. If you want to extend the life of your gardening season with a cold frame, this booklet will help you build one.
How to Build Your Own Greenhouse: Designs and Plans to Meet Your Growing Needs is for the DIYer who wants to construct their own. However, it could also be a good starting point to see what you need. We have a ‘cheap’ structure that does a good job heating things up in the summer. But, for year round growing we’d most likely need one designed for the arctic.
Black & Decker The Complete Guide to Greenhouses & Garden Projects: Greenhouses, Cold Frames, Compost Bins, Trellises, Planting Beds, Potting Benches & More has a variety of projects for ANY gardener to use. I find there’s such satisfaction in making your own devices when able.
The Greenhouse Gardener’s Manual is on my list as we have struggled to find the right ‘balance’ when using our structure. The last thing I want it to end up killing my plants because it got too hot.
While I don’t expect to have monster sized veggies like my neighbors in the Mat-Su Valley, I do hope to enjoy the fruits of our labor this year and for years to come. However, I’ll admit that it would be really cool to have produce worthy of the Alaska State Fair!
Do you have a garden (either flower or vegetable)?
What challenges do you have for gardening?
For more spring and Easter fun visit a few of my favorite bloggers:
- 10 Egg Decorating Books by In Our Spare Time
- Spring Books for Kids by Better in Bulk
- 8 Free Printable Easter Games by Gaggle of Gamers
- Fun Spring & Easter Games for Your iPad or Tablet by Pretty Opinionated
- 5 Beautiful Spring Board Books for Babies by My Kids Guide
- Herb Gardening Books by Upstate Ramblings