Grit Blogs > Close to the Earth in Alaska

Portrait of an Alaskan Garden

Using the old John Deere to clear space for the garden.

In 2006 my husband, Matt, cleared a space for our garden. He used the old John Deere to drag cottonwood logs cut from our property as raspberry bed borders.

The garden in March

March may still look like winter, but it’s spring in my head, and I start thinking about what I’ll plant in May. The gardening books come out, I review previous years’ notes, and rattle my leftover seed packets because I like the sound of all that potential. Weeding and back pain don’t even cross my mind.

Spinach plants and leaves in a laundry basket.

One summer, the spinach leaves grew to the size of salad plates! I washed out a laundry basket for hauling my favorite greens to the kitchen for processing. We eat lots of spinach salads, and blanch and freeze the rest.


Rhubarb is an Alaskan staple.

Crimson Giant radishes

Crimson Giant radishes from Denali Seed Co. (based in Anchorage) really did grow into giants. They have great flavor and are crunchy with just enough heat.


Broccoli grows surely but slowly and is ready by mid-late August.

Boyne raspberries

We grow three varieties of raspberry. Boyne, shown here, are the best for just popping in your mouth as a snack or dessert, but our Goldens and Killarneys are tasty too. All three make excellent jam.

Containers with chives growing

I’ll try transplanting one of these chive pots to a permanent place, and try over-wintering the other inside.

Hot peppers in the greenhouse

Hot peppers did well one sunny summer in the greenhouse, but I had to bring them indoors in fall to fully ripen.

Yukon Chief corn

This year, we’re trying corn for the first time—Yukon Chief from Denali Seed Co. We only have 16 plants, but if it’s successful, we’ll try lots more next year.

A cabbage as big as my head

My first attempt at growing cabbage yielded one as big as my head!

A rustic fence to deter moose

Most of the time, this rustic fence deters moose. Now, if it would only do the same for weeds…