One of Sitka’s best known gardeners is Florence Welsh, who heads up The Welsh Family Forget-Me-Not Gardens. The Welsh family has been gardening in Sitka since 1984, and the garden on Davidoff Street has been used to teach other gardeners what works in Sitka. Several years ago Florence wrote a guide to help other gardeners take advantage of her family’s experiences trying to grow edible and ornamental plants in Sitka using organic methods.
This past winter, Florence updated her book and during the “Let’s Grow Sitka!” garden show event on Sunday she released the new version of the guide.
The book includes information about how to prepare your garden for Sitka’s short growing season, including how to set up your home for plants you may need to start inside. She talks about using sand and seaweed in the garden to help with drainage and fertilizer. The guide also lists many of the plants, bushes and trees the Welsh family has grown in its garden, including the specific varieties that did best in Sitka. There also are several photos from the garden.
The Welsh Family Forget-Me-Not Gardens is one of Sitka’s most productive gardens when it comes to producing food, and Florence frequently has a booth at the Sitka Farmers Market to sell her produce. The garden grows berries, fruit trees, herbs/mints, and a wide variety of vegetables. She includes some instructions with the vegetables, and the guide also includes a timeline for seed starting so you know when to plant. The guide ends with information about invasive plants, insects and slugs, and a list of useful seed catalogs and Web sites.
The homemade booklet is available for $5 a copy, and people can order copies by contacting Florence at (907) 747-8705 or firstname.lastname@example.org. There are several different cover photos, but the content is the same on all the guides.