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The Food Growers Roundtable

Panelists from left: Sam Rose, Suzanne Kelly, Kiera Faulkner Jekos, SonyaJoy Key, Anna de Cordova

We have to thank Ruven Liebhaber for giving us the idea of getting gardeners together in late winter to talk about how they grow. Ask a Gardener: A Food Growers Roundtable, which we held at Morton Memorial Library in Rhinecliff again this year, was enlightening and entertaining once more! We had a great panel: Anna deCordova from the National Park Service, who oversees the Roosevelt Home Vegetable Garden in Hyde Park; Suzanne Kelly from Green Owl Farm in Rhinebeck; Sam Rose of Four Corners Community Farm in Red Hook; Kiera Faulkner Jekos of Gardenwell New York (maybe you visited her garden during our Edible Gardens Tour last summer) and SonyaJoy Key, co-education director at the Poughkeepsie Farm Project

Each panelist had 10 minutes to talk about their chosen topic, and although few actually cued up the iPad timer provided, all hit their mark with precision! Sam teed the event off with a wealth of info on soil health and composting. Suzanne followed with a no-tilling presentation, demonstrating how the less we disturb the soil before planting the better—and the fewer weeds we’ll have to contend with. Kiera, an expert in gardening in small spaces (she advises New York urbanites on rooftop gardens and does seasonal consulting/installations in this area), talked about arranging plants closely together and succession planting. Interplanting for pollinators was one of SonyaJoy’s key points. She works with school-age kids and also has some ingenious ways of getting them involved with gardening and enjoying the vegetables and herbs they harvest. Anna deCordova closed the evening with slides showing the handwritten notebooks of the Roosevelt estate’s gardener, William Plog. With detailed records like his, she and her team have been able to put together a list of the heirloom vegetables and their varieties grown in Roosevelt’s time. She shared with us—and all in attendance—adding sources for finding them today. You can see the list here.

Hope this brief recap of the evening encourages you to watch the event itself—we taped it! Here’s the link.

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