Recommended Variety List for Southcentral Alaska

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Gardening for recreation and for food production is popular in Southcentral Alaska, just as it is in the rest of the world. Although our short, cool growing season and cold soils present gardening challenges, our long day lengths and low pest levels give us gardening opportunities not seen by our counterparts in the rest of the United States.

Red vegetablesWhile many kinds of fruit and vegetables will grow wonderfully in our gardens, not all will. In general, cool season vegetables such as potatoes, carrots and the cabbage family thrive in our gardens, while warm season vegetables such as beans, cucumbers and tomatoes struggle to produce in open, unprotected gardens.

One of the joys of gardening is discovering new varieties that are successful in your garden. Although there are many varieties that are not presented in the following charts that are worthy of your garden effort, the varieties listed have repeatedly proven successful in Southcentral Alaska. The recommendations for the varieties in the charts come from several sources. Many have been trialed by researchers at University of Alaska Fairbanks Matanuska Experiment Farm in Palmer or at the Division of Agriculture’s Plant Material Center in Butte, Alaska. Others have made the list because they are highly recommended by Master Gardeners throughout the Southcentral region.

Bushes and vegetables

Since the weather, soil type, nutrient levels and production strategies vary from garden to garden, the yield and maturity information should be used as a relative measure of the variety’s production potential. It may perform differently in your garden than where it was originally evaluated. In general, the short season varieties perform better than the long season varieties. The warm season vegetables are much more productive under high or low plastic tunnels.

Extension publication HGA-00134, "16 Easy Steps to Gardening in Alaska," is a good publication to help get you started in producing some of your own fruits and vegetables.

Garden Vegetables

Vegetable Variety Maturity Yield Comments
Snap Beans Contender Earliest Heavy Pods may become splashed with purple
  Provider Early Heavy Good quality
  Strike Mid-season to late Heavy Good quality
  Top Crop Mid-season Moderate Good quality and dependable
  Royal Burgundy Mid-season Moderate Good quality and dependable
Beets Bolthardy Intermediate Heavy Solid dark red and round; does not go to seed; Gourmet Seeds only
  Ruby Queen Early Heavy Uniformly smooth
  Cylindra Intermediate Fair Long, cylindrical
  Burpee Golden Intermediate Fair Yellow flesh instead of red; round
  Detroit Red Intermediate Heavy Standard, good for processing
  Chioggia Intermediate Fair Heirloom; flesh with concentric red and white rings
  Touchstone Gold Intermediate Heavy Yellow flesh instead of red, mild flavor
Broccoli Packman Early to mid-season Heavy Medium central heads
  Green Comet Early Fair Large central heads; wholesale only
  Waltham 29 Second earliest Heavy Medium central heads, many laterals
  Emperor Mid-season to late Heavy Large central heads
Brussels Jade Cross Early Heavy Uniform sized sprouts, good quality
Sprouts Prince Marvel Early Heavy Uniform sized sprouts, excellent quality; Vermont Bean Seed Co. (retail); Ball Seed Co. (wholesale)
Cabbage Early Jersey Earliest Good High quality, pointy heads that burst early
  Early Marvel Early Good Good quality, round heads; all heads mature over a short period; Stokes Seeds
  Emerald Ace Early Good Nice shaped heads; Stokes Seeds
  Hybrid Golden Acre Early Good Fair quality, round heads, long core
  Stonehead Mid-season Heavy Firm, uniform heads, long core
  Survivor Late Heavy Good storage keeper
  O-S Cross Late Very heavy Has potential for very large size; Denali Seed Co. (wholesale only)
  Multikeeper Late Heavy Good storage keeper; Stokes Seeds
Carrot Nantes Coreless Early Fair Medium, cylindrical, sweet, tender, stores well; Farmer Seed & Nursery Co.
  Gold King Mid-season Heavy Long, cylindrical, tapered point
  Gold Pak Mid-season to late Heavy Long, tapered, commercial type, high quality, needs deep soil
  Nantes Scarlet Mid-season to late Good Consistently large
  Royal Chantenay Late Very good Large diameter, large core, fair quality
Cauliflower Super Snowball Very early Very good Light heads, does not get ricey or purple; Farmer Seed & Nursery Co. (wholesale only)
  Early Snowball Early Very good Medium heavy heads, fair leaf cover
  Snow Crown Early Good Dependable early variety
Vegetable Variety Maturity Yield Comments
  Andes Mid-season Heavy Self-wrapping type
Celery Utah 52-70 Mid-season Good Long stalks, dark green
Chives Nearly all varieties Early Good Perennial, onionlike flavor do well
Cucumber Slice King Early Good Gynoecious, hybrid slicer
  Early Pride Mid-season Good High quality (slicing)
Corn Espresso Late Good Start in greenhouse and transplant soon
Kale Nearly all varieties All Good Harvest as baby greens and/or full-sized plants do well
Kohlrabi Early Purple Vienna Early Good Substitute for turnip where turnip root maggot control is impossible
  Early White Vienna Early Good Both Vienna's keep well into late winter in common storage
Greens Fordhook Giant Chard Late Heavy Vigorous, large leaf and petiole
  Green Wave Mustard Very early Good Distinct mustard flavor; Stokes Seeds, Denali Seed Co.
  Seven Top Turnip Early Good Use turnip and tops when the root is 1 inch in diameter; Reimer Seeds, Kitchen Garden Seeds, Nature Hills Nursery
  Collards (Vates) Late Heavy Mild mustard flavor
  Bulls Blood Beets Early Good Beautiful dark red leaves with mild flavor
Lettuce (head) Ithaca Mid-season Heavy Less susceptible to tipburn than other varieties
  Great Lakes 659 Late Heavy Tolerates more cold than other varieties
(butterhead) Buttercrunch Early Good Excellent quality, withstands some frost; long season of use
(looseleaf) Salad Bowl Early Good Does not go to seed as early as other varieties
  Grand Rapids Early Heavy Best adapted to low light intensities
Onion (sets) Ebenezer Early Good Yellowish flesh, very mild, stores well; Park Seed Co.
  White Portugal Earliest Good White flesh, mild; Heirloom Seeds
(bunching) Evergreen Bunching Early Good Bulb area enlarges more than others; Burpee
Parsley Curlina Mid-season Good Suitable for garden or indoor culture; Stokes Seeds
Parsnip Hollow Crown Late Good May be left in garden if winter is mild
Green Peas Spring Earliest Good 10-day picking period, trellising not necessary; Stokes Seeds
  Sparkle Early Heavy 8-day picking period, trellising not necessary; E & R Seed
  Dwarf Gray Sugar Early Good Flat edible pod pea, trellising not necessary
  Alaska Early and continuous Good Small pod, small pea, light color
  Freezonian Early and continuous Heavy Continuous but only a few at a time, must trellis
  Sugar Ann Early Good Plump edible pod, trellising not necessary
  Progress No. 9 Mid-season Heavy Trellising is desirable; Burpee, Seedway, Inc.
  Green Arrow Mid-season Heavy Continuous, trellising not necessary
  Sugar Snap Late Fair Plump edible pod, trellising is desirable
Vegetable Variety Maturity Yields Comments
Potato Alaska Red Early Heavy Red skin; seed potatoes are uniform shape for market gardening; available from many Alaska nurseries and garden supply stores
  Allagash Russet Mid-season to late Heavy Round tuber, medium to heavy russeting
  Kennebec Early Very heavy Plant space 7–9 inches, tubers green quickly when exposed to light
  Alasclear Early Good Very resistant to common scab
  Superior Early Good Heavy yield when irrigated; to reduce disease problems, be sure to purchase certified seed
  Shepody Mid-season to late Heavy Long white, high dry matter, large size
  Alaska Frostless Mid-season to late Good Grows after others are killed by frost
  Denali Mid-season to late Good Baking and chipping quality
  Alaska 114 Mid-season to late Good Tough white skin
  Idita Red Mid-season Very heavy Tough red skin
  Green Mountain Mid-season to late Very heavy Widely adapted, tender skin, boiler
  Bake King Mid-season to late Heavy Uniform tuber shape, good baker
  Highlat Russet Mid-season to late Good Good texture and flavor when baked
  Yukon Gold Mid-season to late Good Good quality, yellow flesh
  Butte Mid-season to late Good Long tuber shape
  Lemhi Russet Mid-season to late Good Long tuber shape, baker
  Pumpkin Spirit Late Good May mature if transplanted through polyethylene film
  Autumn Gold Late Good Turns from yellow to deep orange
Radish Cherry Belle Early Good Small top, round root, crisp
  Burpee White Early Good Tender, mild and crisp; Burpee
  Chinese White Mid-season Heavy Long, large diameter, good for winter storage
  Champion Second earliest Heavy Uniform root, good quality
Rhubarb Many varieties perform well; available from various Alaska nurseries and national mail order sources      
  MacDonald Early Heavy Cooks red, high quality
  Victoria Later Heavy Green stalks with red speckling
  Canada Red   Moderate Smaller but tender red stalks
  Prince Albert Early Heavy Can become impressively large with proper fertilization
Spinach Melody Very early Good Excellent quality, resists early bolting
Squash (summer) Gold Rush Early Good Slender, gold colored
  Elite Early Heavy Dark green zucchini; Harris Seeds, Johnny's Seeds
  Black Jack Second earliest Good Produces over a long period
  Greyzini Second earliest Good Light green, slender; Stokes Seeds
  Aristocrat Early Good Excellent quality; Thompson & Morgan
(winter) Gold Nugget Late Fair Small fruit; Johnny's Seeds, Reimer Seeds, Territorial Seeds, Ed Hume Seeds
  Sweet Mama Late Fair Buttercup type, compact vines
Vegetable Variety Maturity Yields Comments
  Golden Hubbard Late Good Long fruit
  Improved Hubbard Late Good Thick flesh, dark green
  Spaghetti squash Mid-season Heavy Novelty squash
  Sweet meat Late Good Short blue, hubbard type
Sweet Corn Growing season must be extended by growing with clear polyethylene      
  Polar Vee Early Very good Short cob, short plant
  Earlivee Early Good Excellent quality

Vegetable Varieties Suitable for Greenhouse or High Tunnel Production

Vegetable Variety Maturity Yields Comments
Tomato Subartic 25 Early Fair Good ripe fruits; Denali Seed Co.
(Outdoors) Early Tanana Early Poor Several fruits mature per plant; Denali Seed Co.
Turnip Tokyo Cross Very early Fair May bolt to seed
  Purple Top White Globe Mid-season Heavy Mild flavor
Cucumbers Lemon Late Fair Small yellow-skin cukes, good flavor
  Straight 8 Intermediate Fair Excellent fresh eating and pickling
  Tasty Green Hybrid (formerly Burpless) Intermediate Good Good flavor; one of the first good burpless cukes; Burpee
Sweet Corn Growing season must be extended by growing with clear polyethylene      
Tomato Tropic Early Heavy Desirable for hydroponics
  Vendor Early Heavy Short vine; good for lower ceiling houses
  Early Girl Very early Heavy Good resistance to gray mold
  Ultra Girl Early Heavy Attractive fruit; Stokes Seeds

Small Fruits

Fruit Variety Maturity Yields Comments
Strawberries Matared Very early Heavy Deep red fruit, excellent quality, winter hardy if mulched; various Alaska nurseries
  Susitna Mid-season Heavy Deep red fruit, excellent quality, winter hardy if mulched
  Pioneer Earliest Low Low quality,prolific plant maker, frequently survives without mulch
  Skwentna Mid-season Good Medium red,distinctive flavor, excellent frozen
Fruit Variety Maturity Yields Comments
Raspberry Latham Early Good Excellent quality and flavor; various Alaska nurseries
  Festival Mid-season to late Good Large fruits
  Boyne Early Good Excellent quality and flavor
  Reveille Mid-season to late Good Excellent quality and flavor
  Indian Summer Mid-season to late Good Excellent quality with mild flavor
  Kiska Early to mid-season Good Very hardy, small fruit
  Titan Mid-season heavy Large fruits, mild flavor, hardy to -15°F
  Golden Amber Mid-season Good Yellow fruit
Gooseberry Pixwell Late Fair More winter hardy than Champion
Currant Red Lake Late Heavy Very large fruits and seeds; various Alaska nurseries
  Holland Long Bunch Mid-season Good Large fruits, reliably hardy
  Stevens #9 Late Heavy Large fruits, medium-sized seeds
  Boskoop Giant Mid-season to late Heavy Large fruits, excellent quality
  Swedish Black Late Heavy Large fruits, excellent quality

Tree Fruits

Fruit Variety Maturity Yields Variety Comments Sources
Apple Chinese Golden Early Very early Fair Sweet, pleasant flavor, ripens in late August various Alaska nurseries
  Rescue Early Heavy Crisp, juicy, small red fruit, sprightly, ripens early September  
  Yellow Transparent Mid-fall Good High quality, for eating and culinary uses  
  Summer Red Mid-fall Good Crisp, juicy red fruit, sprightly, ripens late September  
Crab Apple Quality Late Good Small yellow fruit, astringent flavor, good preserving; various Alaska nurseries
  Jacques Late Fair Firm, yellowish red; remove calyx and bake whole  

Notes on shipping plant material: Contrary to the statements of some national plant vendors, plant material can be sent to Alaska. As for all interstate shipping of living plants, the material must have passed a USDA phytosanitary inspection. The phytosanitary certificate should be available upon request. It is also important that the material won't freeze during shipment. These logistics can be worked out with your shipper.


Ball Seed Company P.O. Box 335, West Chicago, IL 60185

W. Atlee Burpee & Co. 300 Park Ave., Warminster, PA 18974

Denali Seed Co. P.O. Box 111425, Anchorage, AK 99511-1425

D.V. Burrell Seed Growers Co. P.O. Box 150, Rocky Ford, CO 81067

E & R Seed 1356 E 200 S, Monroe, IN 46772l; 206-692-6827 Ed Hume Seeds P.O. Box 73160, Puyallup, WA 98373

Ferry-Morse Seed Co. 601 Stephen Beale Dr., Fulton, KY 42041

Gourmet Seeds International, LLC HC 12 Box 510, Tatum, NM 88267

Gurney's Seed & Nursery Co. P.O. Box 4178, Greendale, IN 47025-4178

Harris Seeds P.O. Box 24966, Rochester, NY 14624-0966

Hydro-Gardens Inc. P.O. Box 25845, Colorado Springs, CO 80936

Irish Eyes Garden City Seeds 5045 Robinson Canyon Rd., Ellensburg, WA 98926

Johnny's Selected Seeds 955 Benton Ave. Winslow, ME 04901

Kitchen Garden Seeds P.O. Box 638, Bantam, CT 06750

Nature Hills Nursery 9910 North 48th Street Ste. 200, Omaha, NE 68152-1548

Park Seed Co. 1 Parkton Ave. Greenwood, SC 29647

Reimer Seeds P.O. Box 236, Mount Holly, NC 28120

Seedway, Inc. 99 Industrial Road, Elizabethtown, PA 17022

Seeds of Change c/o Marketing Concepts, P.O. Box 152 Spicer, MN 56288

Stokes Seeds Inc. P.O. Box 548, Buffalo, NY 14240-0548;

Tomato Growers P.O. Box 60015, Fort Myers, FL 33906

Thompson & Morgan P.O. Box 4086, Lawrenceburg, IN 47025

Territorial Seed Co. P.O. Box 158, Cottage Grove, OR 97424-0061

T & T Seeds, Ltd. Box 17100, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 3P6, Canada

Otis S. Twilley Seed Co., Inc. 121 Gary Rd., Hodges, SC 29653

Vesey's Seeds, Ltd. P.O. Box 9000, Calais, ME, 04619-602

Vermont Bean Seed Co. 334 West Stroud St., Randolph, WI 53956-1274

To simplify information, trade names of products have been used. No endorsement of named products by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service is intended, nor is criticism implied of similar products that are not mentioned.

Stephen Brown, Extension Faculty, Agriculture and Horticulture. Originally prepared by Wayne Vandre and Don Carling, former Extension Horticulture Specialists.

Reviewed October 2019