As community and school gardeners we love our vegetables and in honor of St. Valentine we asked several lifelong gardeners to tell us about their favorite. The interesting part is how they all waxed poetically about their love for growing food.
Fred Conrad, the Community Gardener Coordinator for the Atlanta Community Food Bank, is well known throughout metro Atlanta for his love of community gardens. You can often see him riding through the Atlanta streets on a tractor!
Fred loves growing tomatoes. He says, “I like the on-going interaction of training them during the season as they grow and how great your hands smell when you handle the foliage. I also like that there is some finesse in growing them, that you can use little tricks here and there to improve your plant health and your harvest.” Doesn’t that make you want to get started on your own tomato planting??
Kyla Van Deusen, a Program Manager for the Captain Planet Foundation, spends her days passionately working in school gardens. She loves connecting children with their food! When asked about her favorite vegetable she told us about a special variety of crowder peas. She says that they “pop up in my garden now 3 years running without re-sowing, and I let them take over a couple of beds where they produce massive amounts of beans that I harvest as they dry and store for winter soups. They are a truly effortless crop.”
Betty Janacek is the Director of Capacity Building in the Friends of the Park programs for Park Pride Atlanta. Betty spends her days connecting people with parks. This often involves helping them build community with food gardens. Betty loves growing English peas. She says “they are easy to grow, are one of the first veggies to ripen, their vines and flowers are pretty and you don’t even have to cook them- you can just pick & eat.”
This Valentine’s Day we hope you spend some time preparing some delicious Georgia grown food and dream of the garden with your special someone.