The Eckerd college garden is preparing to begin it’s fifth year of production! This last Fall season the garden flourished–providing us with a bountiful harvest!
We were able to grow some of our crops using seeds collected from plants of previous seasons. We also experimented growing several new vegetables such as peanuts and amaranth. The peanuts are slow to produce fruit, but continue looking sturdy! We have faith that sooner or later our peanut plants will begin to produce.
The amaranth, on the other hand, grew rapidly. Many students have harvested amaranth leaves, which taste much like spinach. While some enjoyed the leaves raw, others, like myself, preferred the leaves sauteed with a bit of garlic.
Another new variety of a much beloved vegetable we grew this past season was some species of huge radishes. The enormous size of these radishes left us all quite perplexed.
Although not newcomers to the garden, the carrots we grew this semester did better than they have in the last four years! Why they did so well all of the sudden remains a mystery, yet some of us believe that the soil we used to grow them in this year was less compacted than that from the previous years. The looseness of the soil, we think, allowed the carrots to grow long and wide! No sphere carrots this time..
Besides the success we had with most of the crops (except the okra, which strangely we had trouble growing this past season), we also added new trees to our orchard. A new starfruit tree and a couple of macadamia nut trees that we purchased from the Saturday morning market seem to be acclimating pretty well in our garden. All in all, we were blessed with a fruitful garden this past fall season!
During the harvest festival at the end of the season we were able to enjoy delicious meals cooked with the veggies grown in our organic garden. The garden was filled with Eckerd students playing music, eating food, reading poetry, dancing, and enjoying the cool and breezy afternoon.
Now, as we all return to campus after a delightful and relaxing winter break, we hunker down in our warm coats and plan for the season to come. Lucky for us the garden is still producing many vegetables, such as kale, peas, tomatoes, amaranth, arugula, radishes, and lettuces. This means that we get to continue harvesting and enjoying our crops while we begin to amend beds and start winter crops. My personal goal: grow as much spinach as possible! We also plan on growing several other greens, including bok choi, mesclun, microgreens, and buttercrunch lettuce.
Our first workday is this Sunday, January 12th. I enter the new season with mixed feelings– a bit of sadness, knowing that this is my last semester at Eckerd and my last season at the garden, but also (and as always) with joy, because there aren’t many things better than gardening, and spending time with good friends! Here’s to tending to our lovely garden this Winter and Spring of 2014!