I finished my Alaska Master Gardeners course today, about… one hour ago. It was such a great class and I learned so much! I now get to do 40 hours of volunteer work in the community to officially become an “Alaskan Master Gardener.”
One if the biggest advantages I got from this class was the quite extensive list of varieties of fruits, veggies, and berries grown best in all the different areas of Alaska. Growing fruit in Alaska has quite a few difficulties. I’ve known so many people who have been told a certain fruit will grown here in AK, but once they tried, the tree died, and they gave up on that fruit. I now know it may be just because they tried the wrong variety of that fruit plant.
Because of this list, the hubby and I now have an even longer list of fruits, veggies, and berries that we want to add to the homestead, even some stuff I never dreamed we could grow up here. I’m so excited!
Here in south central Alaska (in my neck of the woods at least), we are typically considered to be in Zone 4a. Which is partially true. Our temperatures do get down -30F on occasion, but often times the gardening zones don’t take into consideration just how LONG our winters are. Many fruits and berries can handle sub-freezing and even sub-zero temperatures, but not for long periods. This is where varieties often come into play.
Our long list of fruit trees and berries we’re planning on adding to the Homestead include:
Yellow Transparent and Norland apple trees
Golden Spice or Harrow Delight pear trees
Northstar sour cherry tree
Canby, Indian Summer, Latham, or Summit raspberries
Matared, Skwentna, and Toklat strawberries
Northcountry, Northsky, or Northblue blueberries
Crandall black currents and Holland Longbunch red currants
Poorman or Lepaa Red gooseberry
Ananasnaya “Anna” kiwifruit (Yes, kiwi in Alaska!)
I’m loving my new job at a local farm. It’s been a LOT of hard work, but I love how much I’m learning, all the exercise, and being outside! I’m very ready to get our garden and orchard more self-sufficient! For more fruit, berry, and veggie varieties for growing in Zone 4 and colder, check out Alaska Gardening Guide or Sustainable Gardening: The Alaska Master Gardener Manual.