by Jonah Holland, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Public Relations & Marketing Coordinator
I just got an email from Community Kitchen Garden Coordinator Brian Vick with some great news! As of this week, we’ve surpassed the amount of fresh vegetables that we’ve grown here at the Garden to donate to FeedMore compared to the same time last year. As you’ll notice on the pie graph, we’ve also managed to greatly diversify they type of vegetables donated. We’re really proud that it looks like we’ll meet out 10,000-pound goal, because each of the past 3 years that we’ve grown fresh veggies for FeedMore’s Community Kitchen, we’ve come so close, but never met it. This year, the first full year that Vick has been on staff, we are ahead of the game. Earlier this week we delivered 158 lbs. of swiss chard and tomatoes to FeedMore, plus we donated a 5-gallon bucket of fresh basil grown in the Children’s Garden. Yum! Year to date veggie donation total: 9,357 lbs. — only 643 lbs. to go!
“This total represents a year-over-year increase of 600 lbs. on this date, despite our challenges this summer with heat and drought,” Vick says. As a coworker of Brian Vick, I’ve watched in awe as he, Laura Schumm, and the noble volunteers constantly battle nature’s garden pests in the least invasive ways they can, while sill maintaining good production levels. The row covers, for example, in the photo to the right are an experiment to see if we can keep the the cabbage white butterflies off of the cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower.
Vick continues, “We could be in for an exciting finish to the 2012 Community Kitchen Garden. We’re now completing the planting of broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, we have sweet potatoes ready for harvest by mid-October (or first good frost), another round of turnips and beets, and a few parsnips. I’m not willing to go out on a limb with a 2012 year-end projection, because we’re not making widgets… we’re dependent upon force majeure– and the kindness of strangers (volunteers).”