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Growing food in Alaska!

 
Posts: 4
Location: Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
1
dog forest garden fish
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Hi everyone! I have lived in Alaska my whole life and during our short spring and summers I spend every moment I can outside in my garden with my dog digging something up or planting something new. I currently have

Goodland Apple
Parkland Apple
Crimson Passion Cherry
Evans Cherry
Saskatoons
Honeyberrys
Goosberrys
Raspberry's (golden and red)
Currants (red, black, and white)
Siberian Pea Shrub

They are all thriving on my little acre. I want to try hazelnuts and black walnuts next. Does anyone know of anyone successfully growing nuts in Alaska? I believe my zone is a 4b but I have found that those zones don't always apply to us up here. Also is there any other fruit tree I should be trying? Anyone have any Alaskan gardening success stories?
Us northerners need encouragement!
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steward
Posts: 9709
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
2781
hunting trees books food preservation solar woodworking
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Hello Amanda, welcome to Permies!  Here's a thread that is discussing Fruit Trees and Berries that grow well in zone 4 which might be of interest.

I'm in 4a so I'm likely a bit colder but a fair bit sunnier than you.  Hazelnuts grow rampant around here so I'd at least give them a try.  The wild ones are very small (nut meat the size of a garden pea) so I'd go for improved varieties.  The ones I got from Forest Ag Enterprises were amazingly healthy.

Other nuts are a bit tricky for me but I think that's due to the cold.  I'm not sure how they'd do with 5-10 extra degrees but different sun.  The ones that are closest to working for me are shagbark hickory, butternut and chestnut.  I believe the butternuts are a bit more hardy than black walnuts.  And I had black walnuts growing up and don't like the aftertaste...
 
Amanda Bundy
Posts: 4
Location: Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
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dog forest garden fish
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I double checked my zone, I guess I am zone 4a as well. Up here we have long day summers and short day winters. Do you think hazelnuts would survive this? Should I try the JEFFERSON HAZELNUT (Corylus avellana) or the BUSH HAZELNUT (Corylus americana)? I am looking at making a order off of Burnt Ridge Nursery for this coming year. I have looked on here and found some people that have successfully grown hazelnuts north of me but they are almost a zone warmer and have not gotten any nuts, the plants survived tho.
 
Mike Haasl
steward
Posts: 9709
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
2781
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I don't know why they woudn't work.  I'd try both varieties and see if one is better than the other.  The Jefferson would likely give you bigger nuts, the Bush one sounds like the wild ones near me.  I much prefer the American hazelnuts (like the bush one) to the Beaked hazelnuts.  When the husks dry the American ones are easier to dehusk.
 
Posts: 98
Location: Frederick, MD zone7b
28
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Dunno if you saw this thread, but it might give you some good info about growing buts in alaska:

https://permies.com/t/6745/Growing-nuts-North-cold-resistant
 
Amanda Bundy
Posts: 4
Location: Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
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dog forest garden fish
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I did see it! It is a great thread with lots of info for Alaska. I did comment asking if anyone had a quick update.
 
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I do believe if one has a green thumb: One can grow things that others can't; It might even take several attempts or years. Like the lady or person up in New England, has more things growing there and should or could. I don't live in Alaska but I was in Chistochina for awhile. 2a zone is a bit harsh for me. A possible plan to have a self sustaining fruit and vegetable growing set up: Open seasonal plots, main growing season greenhouse; and a deep winter greenhouse. Problems: Bears, Moose, Caribou, Shrews and squrils etc. I know there are some fruit trees that can grow there! I would love to try Shagbarks and Black walnuts etc. I have a BA in Horticulture. Plus get my bees going again. I would have to move there. A land area and home have been offered to me. Much prayer is needed. Pray for me. Thanks
 
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In Norway, wild European hazel (C. avellana) goes up to 66 degrees north in some places along the coast, and gives nuts. So it doesn't seem to have a problem with long summer days at least... Temperature might be trickier. The Norwegian coast is rather warm for its latitude...
 
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