Chef’s Garden at the InnPosted: July 18, 2015
A concise 6-month history of the Chef’s Garden: in January, on the cold grey day of my first visit to Chebeague Island, I stood on a lawn at the Inn and was asked there to create a Chef’s Garden.
In March, enthusiasm was high. The chef offered his list of desired plants and my friends at Frinklepod Farm, Noah Wentworth and Flora Brown, started the vegy, herb and flower seedings; David Buchanan, of Portersfield Cider, shared advice on berries and stone fruits; Nance Klehm, from the Seed Temple in Estancia, New Mexico, sent seeds of the 4 sisters: Corn, Pole Beans, Winter Squash and Sunflowers.
In April, Chuck Varney, of Second Wind Farm on Chebeague Island, plowed and turned the sod, we amended the soil, and then tilled to break the clumps. We had neither time nor materials to sheet mulch; on the island, bulk compost and mulch are available only if barged over in a dump truck, so we have worked with the soil at hand. The ground laid fallow a few weeks and then we worked our way across the field picking out roots and clumps of dried grass.
In late-May, on a rain-drenched day, Noah and I hauled across the bay crates filled with the starts and seeds: japanese eggplants, red and white onions, varieties of tomatoes, peppers, butternut and buttercup squash, bush beans, radishes, carrots, beets, slicing cucumbers, and a potager’s array of herbs and flowers. Some seeds failed to germinate. Some plants have been slow to take root. Overall, the garden is flowering and fruits are forming on the vines.
How wonderful to see an idea coming to fruition, and to know that customers have been fed from our shared efforts.