Though they struggled with the same challenges faced by many Vermont farmers this year, our master gardeners Pam and Amy relentlessly pushed the pace in the Center’s myriad gardens. It was a difficult year in these parts: relentless early season rain played havoc with the squash harvest at Elinor’s farmhouse and the snails, the rabbits, the tomato hornworms and those incessant June rains coupled with the cold weather presented challenge after challenge for our gardening duo. With 5 locations at the Center plus kitchen gardens at each of the three GRP farmhouses to keep track of it was no small task to stay on top of it all.
The highlights of the season? The successful pepper crop with over 400 plants put in and 14 different varieties, the bountiful cherry tomato harvest of 20 different varieties in yellow, peach, orange, red and green and the happy discovery of how strong the soil was at Ruthie’s farmhouse with less shale, excellent drainage and a productive north-south orientation.
Amy reports, “I was really happy with all the cherry tomatoes. For almost 3 months we picked 50 pounds a week and it was gratifying taking all those baskets of color to the kitchen. The colorful carrots, cherry tomatoes and Easter egg radishes are kid-friendly and when we used those at Hosmer Point they were popular and appealing. It was fun to see the kids learn about the produce and enjoy it even more because of the cool colors.
Pam had her highlights, “I was really happy with the pizza garden. We took an unattractive rock outcropping and turned it into an edible rock garden that was pretty and productive. All the flowers and herbs went on pizzas and they augmented the wine and cheese socials for the camps as well as the salad bar in the dining hall. We improved a not very attractive area and made it better – it was a fun project.”
Thank you Amy and Pam – your gardens were not only beautiful they kept hordes of us fed these past months. See you next year!