Northday (by Confederation reckoning, summer solstice for you earthbound types) is 9:16 am ADT (Alaska Daylight Time) tomorrow, so we’re getting our longest days and our shortest “nights” of the year, with less than a minute change in day length over the four days from June 20-24. Sunrise this morning was 2:58 am and sunset will be tomorrow morning at 12:48 am, for a total of 21 hrs 50 minutes with the sun above the horizon. At its highest the sun is 48° 36’ above the southern horizon; at its lowest it’s 1° 34’ below the northern horizon. It’s cloudy today, though, so the sun isn’t visible.

Plants love these long hours of sunlight with the temperatures rarely getting high enough to shut down photosynthesis. Granted, the long hours of light make some cultivars bolt to seed (spinach and beets are notorious for this) but in general plants up here grow fast enough to make up for our admittedly short growing season. Whether they’ll grow fast enough to make up for the late start of the beans in the new raised bed is something I’ll find out by the end of the season. At least I now have everything planted, and the first blooms are out on the daylilies and the early double rose. The delphiniums are chin-high, though they don’t have buds yet.

We’ve been having showers lately, with bright sun one minute and rain the next, or sometimes both at once. This kind of rain is very spotty, and I think from the water in open containers I’ve had more than the official .7” so far this month. Perhaps I ought to get a small rain gauge? I’ll have to figure out a way to protect it from the sprinklers, though.

As always, I’m a little ambivalent about this time of year – the days will be getting shorter, now. But we still have two – with luck, three – months of frost-free weather and days longer than nights. Even the forest fires have died down, with the start of the rains. Life is good in Alaska.

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