Spring/Summer 2008

The garden story continues….

When I arrived at the hostel in April, the gardens were loaded with hearty winter greens, loose leaf lettuces, potato patches, snap peas, green onions, and an array of bolting greens bursting with future life. It was clear to me that these gardens had received a lot of love, but a few months of neglect had allowed the weeds to run wild on every inch of open space. After getting the blessing from Jeremy (former manager / gardener), and after receiving complete creative freedom from Poppy (current manager), I set my tent up behind the pear tree and made the garden my home.

The Secret Garden – Early April I focused mainly on familiarizing myself with the soil, sun, and past garden records. Some seeds were saved, but most flowering veggies were cleared to make way for more summer crops. Weeding and clearing was our main priority, I thank all the guests and hostel staff that got dirty with me in the garden. Zucchinis, squash, pumpkins, peppers, and watermelons had all been planted a few weeks before I had arrived. I followed those summer crops with some cucumbers, okra, pole beans, and more squash.

With the arrival of Carlyn (another excited gardener). the gardens potential increased with each day. The Jasmine entryway was revitalize, artistic pumpkin beds were created, and future projects were everywhere. As soon as more beds were cleared, we planted eggplants, a variety of peppers, sweet potatoes, tomatillos, loofah gourds, and more watermelons and sweet potatoes. Our heirloom tomato seeds arrived late in the season, but we look forward to eating yellow pear tomatoes, brandywines, and peach tomatoes later in the summer. By early May, the secret garden was loaded with a bounty of summer crops and it looked beautiful. As May rounded out, the zucchinis were putting out a daily harvest, and the tomatoes were swelling with new life. By June 1st, the garden was at 75% capacity, and was looking beautiful.

It has been an absolute pleasure tending the gardens here at the hostel in the forest, and I look forward to rekindling our relationship in the future.

Zak H Stern