Chillier winds are blowing in now that fall has officially begun in Massachusetts, but our 2016 Summer Garden Crew is still thinking about those long, hot days this past season.
Check out this reflection from Cody Berman, one of our Summer 2016 garden crew members:
This summer I was lucky enough to be a part of the amazing garden crew at the UMass Permaculture Gardens.
I am a Sustainable Food and Farming student in the Stockbridge School of Agriculture. Gardening, farming and permaculture are not new to me, but this was an excellent opportunity to see a permaculture garden through the seasons. I had taken the hands-class in the garden the previous fall, which offered the grounding experience of getting my hands dirty twice a week before class. It was a nice taste, but not enough.
Being on the crew was the chance to nurture the gardens through the summer. We grew a lot of annual crops like beets, carrots, kale, hot peppers, and tomatoes. Oh, our tomatoes were amazing, particularly the large, funky shaped heirloom varieties! This year we built a permanent trellis for the grapes to grow on. The process was fun and involved some deliberate improvisation. In the future there will be a beautiful shaded canopy of grapes under which to sit and eat lunch. If you are hungry for more you can just reach up and pick some grapes off the ceiling!
I am an herbalist, and the wide array of medicinal herbs in the garden is amazing. I got to spend time with and harvest some of my favorites, such as lemon balm, basil, tulsi, anise hyssop, skullcap and rose. I also became acquainted with a few new herbs such as spilanthes. As a group we had a lot of fun with spilanthes- it causes a very bizarre tingling sensation in the mouth when nibbled on, and causes one to drool profusely. It’s very amusing to watch someone eat it.
Bringing our harvest directly to the chefs, and their beaming faces was a very gratifying feeling. I had known some of the garden crew previously, and we all became fast friends. I think getting to work with such amazing people was probably the best part of the summer.
Interested in joining our crew next summer or getting involved? Contact Xochi Salazar for more information!
Entries are submitted by project staff and UMass students.