Gardening in the Middle of the Bering Sea

growing dome greenhouse on island


Alaska Greenhouses on the Aleutian Islands

Recently our crew returned from Nikolski, Alaska with some amazing photos of their construction of two 33 ft. Growing Domes.

In theory, we understood that this was hard to get to the place as we had to jump through a number of hoops to coordinate shipping of the four large crates, but in reality, we had no idea the remoteness of this community.

In talking with them over the phone we also understood that gardening outside was nearly impossible, but we had no idea of the extreme nature of the environment. Nikolski is on Umnak Island towards the middle of the chain of Nikolski and currently hosts a population of 18 people (see image of map below). The island is over 300 square miles, but 55% of that is water.

Some of the pictures at the bottom show Mount Vsevidof, the highest point on Umnak Island. All of the food is flown in on planes twice a week as long as the weather is good enough, and sometimes planes can be delayed for a week or more.

This town is one of the longest inhabited settlements in human history, over 4000 years. The natives of the island are from the Aleut tribe.

The greenhouses they purchased and we helped construct are for the small community to be able to grow food in over a much longer season than otherwise is possible. Enjoy the photos!




















  • Wow = great !

    i hope that this is okay – i shared on facebook

    I have a few questions = what are they using for heat – is that just basic wood for the base? any special waterproofing?

    I would love to know more .. thanks

  • I would love to know how the greenhouses have changed the lives of the citizens of Nikolski. Have they been successful in raising vegetables and fruits? Do people of all ages participate in gardening? Does the local school use gardening as a way to educate the students? Do the residents compost? Do they compost seaweed, fish and other marine organisms? Can you garden in the soil in Nikolski or do you have to bring in topsoil?

    Actually, I would love to know about the daily lives of the citizens there. You live in such an isolated community. I wonder how it influences your world view. Do you watch TV or a movie and think “I am so glad I live here” or is it “I wish I had been born there”? I live in coastal NC. During the winter when I see frigid places I think “I’m glad I live where it’s warm.” In the summer like this week when the heat index is 110F I think “I wish I lived where it’s colder.” During the spring and fall, I’m glad to be where I am! Deb

    • You can read more about it on the website It Grows In Alaska. There was an interview in April 2022 with the current greenhouse manager in Nikolski. We are in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, so aren’t that familiar with the community, but they do have many articles on that website that talk about all aspects of gardening in Alaska.

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