The First Feast Project, Part 6: Frustration Grows Best in the Garden


| 11/27/2015 10:26:00 AM


Tags: garden planning, summer, local food, community gardens, Thanksgiving, holidays, Kiara Ashanti, Florida,

 

Read all posts from The First Feast Project series here.

When I set out to replicate the First Feast of the Pilgrims and Indians, my aim was to grow the vegetables and hunt the meats. Fulfilling the project appeared straightforward enough. Add the vegetables they ate to my garden, and go out and focus on catching the animals — easy-peasy. It was not my intent to experience even a sliver of the frustration the colonists felt that first year after they arrived on these shores. Yet, frustration is exactly what I was feeling as the growing season in Florida began.

One of the primary obstacles I knew needed to be overcome was the long growing cycle for some of the vegetables. Winter squash and corn each require 75 days-plus to harvest. Collard greens and peas require 60 days-plus to harvest.

I needed to get my veggies into the ground, but summer heat was dragging itself into the fall season. August and September were recording average temperatures in the nineties. The only plant the heat was good for was my sweet potatoes — which I had planted late, because they were a last-minute addition to the menu. I knew the temperatures were too high, but I needed to get things into the ground. I started some plants off in my house, like my corn and collards, and planted the cuttings for them. I also planted the squash, tomatoes, and yard-long beans.

The yard-long beans started off wonderfully. Natives of Asia, the heat does not bother them that much. In short order, I had beans ready to harvest. Despite the heat, my corn, greens and squash started great, too. By the end of September, my gardens looked lush and green. My corn was reaching for the sky beyond all expectations of the other members of the community garden. Each day and week, I began patting myself on the back.




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