|Lauryn, Kati, Robb, Jeff, Christine, Charlene, and Cata|
(Click on any photo to enlarge)
Today was one of the most humid days of the year, but the Summer Stretch group from Woodbury Episcopal Church put a lot of “sweat” into the garden! This group was not only engaged, but as the pictures above show - fun, fun, fun to work with!!!
We talked about the Giving Garden, of purple green beans and how zucchini has more potassium than bananas…. But we talked about the extinction of so many vegetable and fruit varieties. Did you know that Andean farmers once grew some 4,000 potato varieties, each with its own name, flavor, and use, ranging in size from tiny to gigantic and covering the color spectrum from indigo-purple to red, orange, yellow and white?
|Christine with an Heirloom Tomato!|
Now, even in the regions of Peru least affected by the modern market, only a few dozen potato varieties are widely grown.
We all know about the extinction of animals, but few people realize that plant species are dying out at an alarming weight. Heirloom gardeners, through growing and saving seeds of treasured crops, are ensuring that these plants won't become extinct. In addition, keeping diversity in our food chain protects us against large plagues or crop failures.
What is Heirloom? Heirloom vegetables and fruit are old, open-pollinated, and mostly non-hybrid. Some heirlooms are hundreds of years old, and others originated around the turn of the 20th century. One of the places you can purchase a wide variety of heirloom seeds is through Seed Savers (click to visit website). Seed Savers is an organization dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds.
Each year in the Giving Garden we have tried to introduce a new heirloom vegetable or fruit (like tomatoes) to the garden. The first year we introduced a few varieties of heirloom tomatoes such as SunGolds and Brandywine tomatoes. The second year we introduced an heirloom variety of white eggplant. Last year we included heirloom lettuce and finally this year we planted purple beans and dragon carrots.
Other reasons to grow Heirlooms:
|Jeff harvesting cabbage|
Thank you again to an amazing group who pushed through the heat, enjoyed a reprieve in the kitchen to cool off, and donated a new 2012 record of 85.75 lbs of food!