Spring and Off We Go…..

The morning steaming event.

The morning steaming event.

Our mostly mild winter here in Alaska has been trying to push us into spring. First we are warmer and cloudy, then sunny and cold but the warm and at least partially sunny is coming right around the corner.

The warmer winter this year  has allowed us to harvest things like Kale and Leeks all winter long. However it has many of us worried about the effect on the growing number of commercial peony fields and native berry crops. The lack of snow cover with  freezing and thawing cycles will extract a toll. It is just a matter of seeing how much once our warmer weather gets here.

A Wasilla peony farmer says he’s worried that recent warm Alaska weather will damage his crop.
Harry Davidson of North Star Peony says that the thaw-freeze cycle could kill the roots of his plants.
He planted about 7,500 roots of the perennials when he started his farm and estimates he’s lost half over the last two winters.
The plants lose thermal protection and when it gets cold again, it kills the roots.
Alaska peony growers last year harvested and sold more than 100,000 stems. Most were shipped out of state.

Recent weather!

Recent weather!

Our last short spell of cold, down into the single digits, seems to have left this portion of Alaska. The river is flowing, but still ice choked at times. At the same time the ground is slowly thawing, especially in the open areas.

For farmers, seeds and supplies are being ordered. Grow lights and greenhouses are being dusted off. CSA memberships are being offered and Farmers’ Markets organized.

Spring is coming forth, at least in the seed department

Spring is coming forth, at least in the seed department

Fishermen follow much the same cycle. Ordering nets and supplies. Outboards and boat engines are overhauled. Upgrades are being finished up. Processors are completing contracts and projected start dates for their plants.

Although many think of Alaska as ‘going quiet’ in the winter months, they are actually filled with a furious set of activities prepping to burst forward in a few short months.

3 Responses to “Spring and Off We Go…..”

  1. alaskapi Says:

    The freeze-thaw cycles you talk about have become almost the norm here in my part of Alaska.
    It has affected the valuable yellow cedar enormously.

    I have piles of seeds to start in the next few days and spuds are ordered. I hope to have all my cool weather greens planted outside under double cover in the next 2 weeks . I’m so glad you shared the information about that method Ugavic. I was very skeptical but it works really well. This will be year 4 of having fresh greens on the table by May 1, our usual last frost date .:-)

  2. elsie09 Says:

    It must be difficult to get used to the variations in weather from one extreme to another. I was absolutely shocked the other day to see photos of parts of the Iditarod trail where dog teams ran over rocky, brown dirt, with no snow at all. Apparently that caused a number of injuries, too. What a big surprise!

    Good luck with all your gardening this year–both of you!

  3. ugavic Says:

    Yes, the Iditarod has been brutal this year due to the lack of snow!! In our area of Alaska we have varied widely form temps in the 40’s and even 50’s to negatives and snow/ice.

    We will see what havoc it has caused once it, hopefully warms up.

    We will planting in the coming weeks, with a layer inside a layer with the hopes of getting more fresh greens by May 1st!

    Right now it is snowing like mad and it is 32 degrees…was 14 yesterday!

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