Gardening Tips



Walk around & see how others garden:


Raised beds

  • improve drainage
  • prevent soil compaction by diverting foot traffic
  • warm the soil

Enclose the soil with boards or rocks, or just mound it up. Much more here.


Modified Microclimate 

To grow plants that require warmer conditions and/or drier soil, cover a portion of your plot with clear visqueen supported by a framework to form a tunnel. Monitor these mini-greenhouses to ensure adequate ventilation and irrigation, and to avoid cooking your plants.  Learn more here.


Soil Amendment

Consider adding sand and aged brewery grain to heavy clay soil; the grain improves texture and adds some nutrients, but should not be considered fertilizer. Aged manure is better, and compost is excellent.  Newer brewery grain is high in nutrients, but should be used sparingly, because it can burn tender, new plants.  Our frequent rainfall leaches out nutrients, especially through the fall and winter, so organic matter should be added each year. Garden soil tends to be acidic; you may need to add lime each year (except where growing potatoes, which like the acid).  Find amendment piles here.


Block Out Weeds 

Cover your mounded soil with a layer of black visqueen or ground fabric, and cut an X-shaped hole just big enough for your plant. This eliminates a lot of weeding and tends to raise the soil temperature.


Block Out Critters 

Fabric row covers eliminate many insect pests (e.g. root maggots).  Consider adding wire fencing to deter porcupines, metal flashing to block mice & voles, or copper strips around beds to discourage slugs.  Good luck!


Fine Tune the Soil










What should you grow? 

Recommended Varieties for Southeast Alaska


start with the easy stuff:



  • practically foolproof
  • pests don’t bother them
  • they require little care
  • many varieties & colors



  • loves our weather
  • grows easily, attract few pests
  • nutritionally excellent
  • harvest outer leaves it keeps growing



  • almost effortless



  • planted in fall
  • grows well here
  • pests don’t bother it
  • hardneck varieties store best



  • likes our cool weather
  • plant a short row every two weeks


 Cabbage Family

  • susceptible to root maggots
  • cover with fabric or place occlusive collars around stems
  • choose early varieties 


Root Vegetables



what's with all the seaweed? 

                    find out here

Ask a gardener

submit your questions here



Your Name:
Your Email Address:
Your Message:
Please enter the phrase above



Gardening Advice

May 8, 2015
Too Late to Plant Vegetables??

 Hi , Can someone tell me if it is too late to plant vegtables this year. I've never done it. Would like to try some carrots or other vegs that grow good here in juneau.

Thanks, Tim


April 17, 2015

Hello Fellow Gardeners,

Have you had any luck with controlling invasive buttercups?

I purchased a house with terrace garden beds and they are riddled with buttercups. The roots are deep and the horribly invasive. Any suggestions would be appreciated.




March 23, 2015
Getting More Strawberries

 I have wild strawberries which come back and spread as they grow each summer. They are in a nice warm sunny filled area of the yard in Palmer AK. But haven't given me much fruit. Do you have any suggestions for making strawberries bloom?



January 30, 2015
Seeking Gardening Instructors for JTC

 The Johnson Youth Center (by the hospital) has gardening as part of their curriculum. There are raise vegetable boxes and 2 greenhouses. The boys raise all vegetable plants from seeds which they will be soon start under lights in their classroom. There 7 boys, some having garden experience from last year and other don’t know a stem from a root. Their garden schedule is Fridays 11am-12:30 (just before lunch). We are seeking garden presenters on a variety of topics. 

We would especially like to find younger folks than myself (69) to present, show the boys a variety in age interest in vegetable gardening.  Specifically, we need of a single presentation in February/early March on these topics:

1) potatoes/tomatoes  

2) planting seeds inside under lights and outdoors

3) transplanting

Length 30 minutes to an hour with time for involvement by boys- questions. Pictures make a good visual focus and the classroom has a computer program display.

A one time guest should arrive 10 minutes early to complete confidentiality forms.

We also need coaches in the summertime outdoors,  Fridays  11-12:30. Coaches encourage -- they don't relieve the boys from work. If the garden succeeds or fails, that falls on the boys' efforts.  An example: We notice leaf condition that tells us of a health problem and draw that to the boys attention, supply them with information, draw out possible solutions from the boys. That could mean poking a finger into the soil to test for moisture. Encourage and join in on removal of competitive plants (I refuse to call them weeds) and the why that matters. 

There are at least two guards who remain attentive on the edges of the gardens but do not join in the gardening. There will be a summer schedule of Fridays that folks can sign up. Even giving a month  of Fridays or at the least 2 Fridays together is valuable.

A half hour of background paperwork, fingerprinting, and photo for ID badge needs to be done for re-occurring visits. Speaker need only complete confidentiality form.


Call me Patricia Wherry 209-3374 email me

May 23, 2014
Where to get Top Soil?

I recently became a member of the Juneau Garden Club. This is my first year setting up and maintaining a garden in the southeast. I live downtown and have a drastic knotweed problem in the area of where I want to grow things. I am reluctant to use the soil that has been riddled with knotweed and I need advice on where to get good topsoil (besides home depot). Do you have any suggestions?

Megs Harris

Email Address:

February 21, 2014

I’m going to try growing asparagus (from crowns) in my plot at the garden this summer.  Does anyone have experience or advice with growing asparagus?





586-1787 home

January 8, 2014
Seeking Sweet Spud Advice

Has anyone ever tried to grow sweet potatoes in our climate? What success? If not, do you know what climate zone they require?

Liz Cuadra

January 3, 2014
Growing Chard

I've had my best luck starting chard seeds under lights in March & transplanting to the garden in May.  I keep the plants covered with fabric all summer.  Only problems I've experienced are slugs & porcupines.


January 3, 2014
How can I grow better chard?

My family and I love swiss chard! Every year I try to get it to grow, and every year I fail miserably. I'm determined to grow some chard successfully this next year and am looking for advice. Please email me any tips/tricks/advice regarding chard that you have. Thanks!


October 8, 2013
Help with Strawberries

We just started a bed of strawberries this year. Few of the plants bore fruit, however there are a multitude of small start plants from runners, to a fairly high density. Does anyone have advice about winterizing this bed and should we trim all the runners before winter?


Thank you. 


Trousil Family


October 4, 2013
Artichoke Answer??

I'm trying!  The variety I planted is grown as a perennial in Oregon, so I've cut back the old stalks, covered it first with a layer of manure, then surrounded with newspaper mulch, then covered with straw, and finally topped with vented cardboard.  Let's see if I have any luck!

October 4, 2013
Artichoke Help

Can artichokes be overwintered in Juneau?

a curious gardener




Putting your plot to bed
(for a long winter's nap)
Clean up your plot in the fall.  Plants with club root, tomato and potato vines should be bagged and placed in the dumpster.
(Club roots left in your soil will increase the severity of infection next year.  Learn more here.) 
Compost other plant debris on your site, if possible.  Excess weeds should be piled in designated areas inside the south fence.  Keep your soil in your beds to minimize our weed mountains. 

Protect your soil by mulching with seaweed or straw, then covering with a tarp to discourage weed growth and conserve fertility.

You'll find spring startup much easier next year!

Find more information here.



Dates to Remember

 May 8  –  last chance of killing frost?    

June 15  –  deadline to start working plots

July 1  –  end of root maggot threat?

                    maybe not: check these data


Compost: Heaps of Fun!

Like life,    

what you get out of it

depends on what you put into it. 

Remember never to dump diseased plant material,

or tomato or potato vines in communal compost piles.

Learn more: 

The Compost Heap

Basic Composting in Alaska

Trash Can Composters









Juneau Community Garden
PO Box 033395
Juneau, AK 99803
Physical location: 5669 Montana Creek Road