(Lori Adams, who owns Down-To-Earth U-Pick Garden and is a frequent vendor at the Sitka Farmers Market, will be writing a regular garden column in the Daily Sitka Sentinel this summer. The Sentinel is allowing us to reprint the columns on this site after they first appear in the newspaper. This column appeared on Page 4 of the Wednesday, March 28, 2012, edition of the Daily Sitka Sentinel.)
GARDENING IN SITKA
By Lori Adams
TAKE MY ADVICE
Your best resource for gardening advice is from experienced, successful Sitka gardeners. Ask them a lot of questions, but be ready for an interesting anomaly … they will give you different answers.
Don’t be confused and get discouraged, and DON’T think that one or both of them is wrong. Most likely they are both right! They have each been successful and truly believe that their method is the reason why. What you need to do is gather all the information you can and then decide what is the best method for you to try. If that method doesn’t work then you can try one of the other suggested methods.
The one thing you don’t want to do is say something like, “Well, Lori Adams says that you have to raise your beds.” This is a sure way to irritate them and they may stop offering you advise! It would be better to form your statement into a question, “Do you think it is important to raise your beds?” Ask lots of questions and be sure to take notes.
It is also a good idea to have some gardening resource books in your library. The problem is finding ones that are actually helpful. Sitka has such a unique climate that we just don’t fit into any of the zones addressed in their charts and graphs.
Why are we so different? For one thing we have a maritime climate. The ocean keeps us warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Our rainfall is 100 inches a year, and the winter is usually just a series of freezes and thaws. We get plenty of daylight hours, but since it is often cloudy we don’t get much sunlight. These are all unique characteristics, and when you put them together it makes gardening difficult. I recommend the following books:
- Gardening in Southeast Alaska by the Juneau Garden Club. This is the absolute Bible for gardening in Sitka. Although Juneau is warmer in the summer and colder in the winter than Sitka, this book is full of fabulous information! I try to read through it once a year.
- 3-Step Vegetable Gardening by Steve Mercer. This book tells you in simple terms just what you need to know about planting, growing and harvesting most types of vegetables and herbs.
- The Welsh Family Forget-Me-Not Gardens by Florence Welsh. Florence has gardened on their property here since 1984. In this booklet she generously shares information and seed varieties for successful Sitka gardening.
These books are available in Sitka stores and you can contact Florence for her booklet at firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s also helpful to get a few magazines for information and inspiration. I recommend Organic Gardening and Mother Earth News.
Next week’s column will address SLUGS!
Brought to you by Down-To-Earth U-Pick Garden
2103 Sawmill Creek Road
Open June-August / Mon-Sat 11:00-6:00
747-6108 or 738-2241