Clint DeWitt, Environmental Projects Manager
Gardening is an incredibly rewarding way to spend your extra time at home, stay active, and reap the benefits of home-grown produce. From a five-gallon bucket container garden to a tilled patch in the backyard, here are a few tips on kitchen gardening straight from Kanuga’s own Foster Educational Garden:
- Grow things that make you happy—Grow what you want to eat, not just what you think should be in a garden. Eating your produce is the true reward at the end of it all, so don’t waste your energy on foods you don’t really enjoy.
- Prioritize freshness—A fresh squash will taste better than a store-bought one, sure, but fresh herbs will provide a completely different flavor profile than those that are dried. If you must choose, go for herbs!
- Don’t grow your garden too big too soon—Start small, learn about your soil, develop a watering schedule, and find the best ways to deal with your garden pests. You can always expand your garden as the weather warms up, or as a winter project for next year.
- Make and use your own compost—Most vegetables require a lot of nutrients from the soil in order to grow, so go ahead and start composting food scraps (and yard waste) to get a leg up on fertilizing your soil next year.
- Don’t forget to ask for help—Make sure you utilize local garden clubs, community gardens, or online resources to find the tricks for your particular region. At Kanuga, we base our spring planting off the 10% frost date put out by NOAA, but find the resources that work best for you and your geography.
At Kanuga, we treasure God’s gift of creation and commit to using and teaching sustainable models that have the least impact on our land and resources.
Kanuga’s Foster Educational Garden (FEC), located on the Bob Campbell Youth Campus (Camp Bob at Kanuga), is a small-plot educational kitchen garden devoted to planting and producing a variety of fresh produce for the enjoyment of Kanuga’s own guests and campers. Once a week during summer, Kanuga’s produce is also a popular item at the GP-only farmers market in Hendersonville. It is customary, as well, for some of the season’s bounty to be shared with the Hendersonville Rescue Mission.
The organic garden concept came to life in 2007, and was named for Robert “Bob” Foster (September 24, 1926-May 16, 2015), a Charleston native and former dean at the University of South Carolina School of Law in Columbia, who had a passion for environmental issues as well as Camp Bob and MTOS. Foster grew up spending summers at Kanuga and was an active member of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Columbia. Learn more about Bob’s life here.
Within its one-acre site, FEC includes a greenhouse, fruit trees, gazebo, garden shed, and an educational garden utilized by Mountain Trail Outdoor School (MTOS), Camp Bob, and the guest period program. Summer is the primary growing season, when about 1,000 pounds of produce are harvested each year.
This year, Kanuga is growing nasturtiums, squash, zinnias, sunflowers, garlic, herbs, onion, watermelon, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, radishes, beets, cucumbers, and okra.