Alaska's Growing Season
Alaska has a very short growing season, only 105 days, on average. However, the Alaskan growing season does not have dark nightsthe Arctic is tilted toward the sun and plants grow in almost 24 hours of sunlight. In a growing season months shorter than the rest of the country, Alaskas gardeners grow some of the largest produce75-pound cabbages, 100-pound kale and 1,000-pound pumpkins.
A growing season is the period of the year when crops and other plants grow successfully. The length of a growing season varies from place to place. Most crops need a growing season of at least 90 days.
In tropical regions, where it is warm year-round, the growing season can last the entire year. In some tropical places, however, the growing season is interrupted by a rainy season. During this time, it is too wet to grow crops. Coffee, which grows in tropical climates, has this type of varied growing season. In Colombia, coffee is harvested all year. In Indonesia, heavy rains often interrupt the coffee growing season.
In other tropical places, it is sometimes too dry for crops to grow. The tropical region of northern Africa, called the Sahel, experiences frequent periods of drought. The Sahel is a transition zone between the Sahara Desert in the north and the savanna in the south. Due to dramatic weather patterns, the prospect of a successful harvest in the Sahel is highly uncertain.
In temperate regions, which have warm summers and cold winters, the length of the growing season depends mostly on temperature. Some growing seasons last as long as eight months. Europe and most of the Americas enjoy long growing seasons like this. The farther away a place is from the Equator, the shorter the growing season. In regions near the poles, the growing season is sometimes less than two months. The U.S. state of Alaska has an average growing season of only 105 days.
Elevation, or the height above sea level, also affects the growing season. This is because higher elevations usually have colder temperatures. High in the Sierra Nevada mountains in the U.S. state of California, the growing season lasts only 50 days, but along the state's southern coast, the growing season lasts 365 days.
There are two ways to determine the growing season. In temperate regions, the growing season is usually calculated by the average number of days between the last frost in spring and the first severe frost in autumn. The growing season can also be determined by the average number of days that the temperature rises high enough for a particular crop to sprout and grow. This measurement varies depending upon the crop. For rice to grow, the temperature must be at least 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit). Wheat, however, will sprout at just 5 degrees Celsius (40 degrees Fahrenheit).
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry Arctic Noun
region at Earth's extreme north, encompassed by the Arctic Circle.
Encyclopedic Entry: Arctic cabbage Noun
leafy green vegetable.
to reach a conclusion by mathematical or logical methods.
all weather conditions for a given location over a period of time.
Encyclopedic Entry: climate coast Noun
edge of land along the sea or other large body of water.
Encyclopedic Entry: coast coffee Noun
plant native to Africa whose dried berries and seeds are used for a drink of the same name.
Encyclopedic Entry: crop determine Verb
very expressive or emotional.
period of greatly reduced precipitation.
Encyclopedic Entry: drought elevation Noun
height above or below sea level.
Encyclopedic Entry: elevation Equator Noun
imaginary line around the Earth, another planet, or star running east-west, 0 degrees latitude.
Encyclopedic Entry: equator frequent Adjective
thin coat of ice covering objects when the dew point is below freezing.
Encyclopedic Entry: frost growing season Noun
period in the year when crops and other plants grow rapidly.
the gathering and collection of crops, including both plants and animals.
leafy green vegetable.
extreme north or south point of the Earth's axis.
agricultural products such as vegetables and fruits.
edible orange gourd.
rainy season Noun
time of year when most of the rain in a region falls.
grass cultivated for its seeds.
transition zone in northern Africa between the Sahara Desert in the north and the savanna ecosystems in the south.
type of tropical grassland with scattered trees.
sea level Noun
base level for measuring elevations. Sea level is determined by measurements taken over a 19-year cycle.
Encyclopedic Entry: sea level severe Adjective
to begin to grow.
having achieved or completed the goal.
degree of hotness or coldness measured by a thermometer with a numerical scale.
Encyclopedic Entry: temperature transition zone Noun
area between two natural or artificial regions.
existing in the tropics, the latitudes between the Tropic of Cancer in the north and the Tropic of Capricorn in the south.
weather pattern Noun
repeating or predictable changes in the Earth's atmosphere, such as winds, precipitation, and temperatures.
most widely grown cereal in the world.