Garden Talk: What grows well in Juneau greenhouses

Master gardener Ed Buyarski grows corn inside a greenhouse. (Photo by Sheli DeLaney/KTOO)

Greenhouses expand the possibilities of what can be grown in cool, wet climates. Certain cucumber and tomato varieties do particularly well in Southeast Alaska.

Growing cucumber plants vertically can increase air circulation and reduce mold and mildew (photo by Sheli DeLaney/KTOO)

Master gardener Ed Buyarski uses some of his greenhouse space to experiment with dry-weather crops, such as corn. While his corn is tall, it’s not quite maturing.

“The corn has reached the ceiling, but it’s gonna be a while before we get any of that,” he said.

The rest of the space is dedicated to tomatoes and cucumbers. Buyarski selects varieties that are adapted to growing in a greenhouse, such as the Manny cucumber.

“Manny, I’ve grown for two or three years now,” Buyarski said. “They’re tasty. They’re smooth-skinned slicing cucumbers — they’re considered a European-style cucumber.”

Inside the greenhouse, Buyarski has staked the cucumber plants to grow vertically instead of flat on the ground.

“Cucumbers tend to get mold and mildew on them pretty easily, unfortunately,” he said. “I’ve got them strung up in the hopes of getting good air circulation in between the plants.”

A cluster of ripening, greenhouse-grown Siberian tomatoes (photos by Sheli DeLaney/KTOO)

Sungold, Siberian, and Glacier are examples of tomato varieties that consistently produce good harvests. The plants were started indoors from seed in April and transferred to the greenhouse in mid-May. The green tomatoes just started to show colors in early August.

And for gardeners without greenhouses, it’s still possible to grow tomatoes in the rainforest.

“Fourth of July is a short-growing tomato, determinate tomato, which could be grown in good-sized hanging baskets or in pots.” Buyarski said.

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