Garden Update

What’s left of the garden is now living inside. As you know, we’ve had snow several times, and it’s regularly freezing at night. I’m still eating giant salads daily, though, using the last of the lettuce that I have stored in the fridge. I’ve had fresh lettuce from July-September, into October. I think I can expand the season by planting early and late lettuce in indoor/outdoor containers.


Once I moved the tomatoes inside–not until early September this year–they started to ripen. Last year, we ate our last tomatoes at Christmas. The drought and flood conditions of the summer have not done the plants any favors, but they produced nonetheless. The one big tomato I’ve eaten thus far was mealy, but the itty-bitty cherry tomatoes have been great.

I tried moving the zucchini plants inside. After a moose ate our early unprotected zuc starts, I planted new seeds in the protected garden. They grew, but were just flowering when it stared to get cold. Zucs don’t handle the cold very well, so I decided to transplant them into buckets and move them inside, hoping I might get some veggies. My book told me that zucs like to be transplanted about as much as they like the cold, but they were going to die outside, so what did I have to lose?

It didn’t work. They died slow deaths inside.

Next year, if I don’t have a greenhouse, I will plant a zuc or two in buckets and let them live with the tomatoes and herbs on the deck.

The first frost nipped the peas while they were loaded with flowers. We harvested all we could. I’m going to start them earlier next year. In fact, I’m going to start a lot of things earlier next year. My book says April and May, but I’m going to try March.

The oregano was slow to take off, but turned out well, as did the thyme. The parsley and basil could be better. They’re all inside now. I expect the thyme and oregano to winter over indoors, and I’ll start parsley and basil earlier next year.


Expectations for carrots were looooooow after the turnips took over their bed, so we were thrilled to pull up these babies. The biggest ones were 4-6 inches long. I’m eating tiny ones in my salads these days.

If I hadn’t transplanted the beet thinnings amongst the lettuce and strawberries, beets would have been a failure. It was as though the turnips sucked all the nutrients out of that bed. Honestly, even the beets that were not stuck in turnip shade did not grow. I’m telling you, those turnips were intimidating.

Because I did transplant the thinnings rather than allowing them to die, we have a decent supply of beets in the freezer. I was going to can them, but Mike did an experiment, and we decided freezing was okay. Apparently, it was easier to do the experiment than try to locate the canner for me.

Finally, I managed to pick a few cranberries recently, and I will turn them into jellied cranberry sauce.

The freezer is packed with halibut, shrimp, some salmon (not the usual quantity, but, then, we generally don’t have halibut), greens, turnips, beets, peas, blueberries, broccoli. The feeling of abundance is a comfort and joy. I’ve learned more and look forward to doing better next year.

I’m not finished winterizing the garden, but will have it finished by the end of the week if the snow holds off.

Categories: Alaska

3 replies »

  1. There’s snow on the San Juans and we’ve had a (small) fire in the stove for over 48 hours. If it’s doing that here, I can only imagine how winter is progressing in Alaska. Your garden abundance sounds wonderful! I didn’t plant anything but herbs this year, but I want to spend the winter making raised beds so I can do a decent job next spring.

  2. Your garden success is something to cheer about. Way to go! There’s such a good feeling that comes with being self sufficient. Your cup must be flowing over, what with the state your freezer is in. I’m awed.

  3. I am impressed! Will you start one for us down here next year? We have 9 inches of snow on the ground here this morning. Impressive for the first snow. Wonder if it will be a very white winter.