It is not easy to grow tomatoes outside in Alaska. Most people who grow tomatoes do it in a green house. In the past we have tried on the south-facing wall of our house, without success. To grow tomatoes you need eight hours of sunlight each day. Not a problem. But you also need 3-4 months of warm temperatures between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. That's the problem. In the typical Anchorage summer there is just not very many warm days or a long enough season with temperatures above 55 °F. Plus, our elevation is at almost 1000' above sea level, so not exactly the banana belt of Anchorage.
This year, after a very warm summer and spring, I decided to plant some seedlings I got from the Alaska Pacific University's (APU's) Spring Creek Farm. They were Sungold Cherry Tomatoes. The guidance from APU specifically says to grow indoors. I planted in my vegetable garden on June 15th. On September 15th, I harvested my first three vine ripened tomatoes. Success!! My daughter who had never had a vine raised tomato was my taste tester. The expression on her face said it all, "Wow I have never tasted a tomato like that! Delicious!" Thank you Spring Creek Farm.
There is one other thing that tomatoes need - lots of water. This was a bit of a problem this summer do to the area drought. We have a pretty low flow water well, so yard and garden watering is not really an option. So I have two 150-gallon rainwater tanks, which during a typical year is plenty for garden use. With the drought, however, I was dry on tank one and down to the last ten gallons in tank 2 when rain in early September replenished our supply. Looks like I need more storage.
Because of the high temperatures (see article for record 90°F day) we really needed to stay on top of the watering this summer, more than I ever remember in the past. This is just another indicator of how unusual the summer of 2019 really was. In June, the average temperature at the Ted Steven's International Airport was 58 °F, 63 °F in July, 63 °F in August, and 56 °F in September, but still with days in the 70s. I also planted two apple trees, so hoping for some more fruit next year.