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Great Gardens In Alaska Require Great Gardeners, And Warm Summers

Bugs Aren't Usually The Problem. It's Lack Of Water & Cold Summers That Makes Gardening Tough In Alaska.             

Garden used to feed travelers at Denali Park hotels and restaurants.
A Tatlanika truck gardener grows vegetables for Denali Park hotels.

In many parts of America, bugs are a real problem for the average gardener. Aphids, cutworms, and a variety of beetles swoop down on the garden, attacking the plants. Also, in other parts of America, there are other problem pests, such as snail-like slugs.

Log cabin homestead cabin and garden in Kenny Lake.
A lush, well-tended garden at a Kenny Lake,
 Alaska log cabin homestead.
Because Anchorage is so close to the shore and incoming pests -- and because Anchorage gardens are adjacent to each other and any bugs that do arrive can easily migrate -- you'll sometimes see some of these bugs, and slugs, in Anchorage. Especially in greenhouses.

But they are rare in the hinterlands of Alaska. They're rare for the same reason that earthworms are pretty much impossible to find here, too.  Bugs, earthworms, slugs... they would have to travel across hundreds of miles of spruce forest and swamp, through areas without a single potato, tomato, green pepper or lettuce to latch onto and destroy. They need a supply chain of vegetables along their route, like an army traveling across Alaska on its stomach. But, Alaska is so sparsely populated that a typical garden might be two, three, or even 15 or 20 miles away from the next garden. Pests simply have nowhere to resupply as they head cross-country.

Watering a homestead garden in rural Alaska.
A typical rural Alaska garden, in Eagle, along the Yukon.
Just as you'll never find an earthworm in Interior Alaska (unless you deliberately brought it there) and you'll never find a honeybee for the same reason, you won't find many of the typical bugs that have led to America's obsession with sprays, soap washes and outright lethal chemicals in the household garden.

The worst pests for gardeners in a typical Alaska vegetable garden are shrews, wild hares, and large ungulates, such as moose. 

This doesn't mean gardening in Alaska is easy. Alaskans have other problems.  The largest stem from the climate: Killing frosts, hard winds, cold rains, lack of rain, permafrost-frozen soil, and a lack of nutrients in the ground.

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