BY AMANDA MOSES
Every gardener knows that a fall’s harvest can be as bountiful and colorful as a summer’s harvest. In fact, during the autumn dark shades of wildflowers, hues of orange pumpkins and dark purple eggplants create the perfect mixture of Halloween treats and Thanksgiving delights.
The Spring Creek Recreation Fund’s (SCRF) Urban Garden Classroom (UGC) is blossoming with so many fall shades, akin to a green canvas ripe for the picking. Garden Educator, Jacqui Roytman is extremely excited to welcome students back to the garden, where they will harvest winter squash, eggplants, tomatoes, Swiss Chard and so much more.
“I can’t wait for the children to explore the garden, examining the colors, the different types of vegetables and herbs and learn about the various pollinators,” Roytman said. She will also explain to her students that aside from the beautiful colors, several of the plants harvested from the garden have nutritional and medicinal benefits.
One of the many colorful vegetables students can look forward to exploring is the Red Callaloo Amaranth (an Amaranthus tricolor). This delicious plant is a West African dish, similar to summer greens like collards, kale, and spinach, Red Callaloo can be stir-fried in olive oil and seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, onions, and other herbs. This plant doubles as both a beautiful ornamental plant and side dish. Callaloo provides different minerals and a high concentration of calcium, which can help strengthen bones and prevent osteoporosis.
Another colorful treat at the UGC is the nasturtium, an edible flower. These sunset-colored petals, and bright yellow center, are the perfect garnish to any salad or pesto. Roytman will teach students this fall about the various benefits from nasturtium petals, which are filled with vitamin c, iron, and have antibiotic properties.
Dozens of bright waxy Swiss Chard leaves protruding from one of UGC’s many garden beds might be an additional colorful at-traction for students. These purple and green Mediterranean leaf stalks are a delicious relative to spinach and kale. Packed with vitamins K, A, and C, Swiss Chard is an anti-inflammatory that helps the body manage blood sugar.
Classes at the garden will start soon, and Roytman hopes to explore lessons about sustainability and so much more with students this school year.
Photos by Amanda Moses