On September 15th, the TJDG participated in Monticello’s Heritage Harvest Festival. Thousands of people came out on this beautiful Saturday afternoon to learn about everything from gardening to soap making, tanning hides to making chocolate. Everyone there was extremely excited to learn and share what they know.
We set up a table in the Master Gardeners tent, between a master gardener and people who want to teach others how to safely and respectfully take care of trees and remove trees. On our table was a multitude of samples straight from the garden.
We had cuttings from indigo, passion flower, sesame, and tansy, just to name a few. Many onlookers were fascinated by our peanut plant. Few people have ever seen the unique way a peanut grows. Our cutting beautifully displayed how the peanut sends out shoots into the ground, on which the peanuts develop. We also had an unripe maypop from the passion flower vine that caught the eyes of many. The fruit should be ripe in a week or so!
It was such a joy to be able to share information about our garden. People of all ages approached our board with curiosity. Children who could barely walked were thrilled by the soft cotton fibers and adults were intrigued by our dyed fabric.
I was fortunate enough to have the chance to look around the festival. I learned that the flower of a fig is actually inside the fig fruit and a wasp will fly through a hole in the fruit in order to pollinate it. I also saw a pretty awesome chocolate making demonstration and learned that the cacao tree was considered the tree of knowledge long ago in Guatemala.
I talked to a man selling iris seeds and learned that irises should be planted prior to the winter. The main growth of the seed actually occurs in very cold temperatures. He gave me a seed and told me that if I couldn’t plant it in the near future, I should keep in in the refrigerator and plant it when spring comes. I learned about how kelp can be used as a very effective fertilizer and I learned about the effectiveness of chicken whispering.
There were a number of food venders, but also a tasting tent. Never before have I seen so many different kinds of tomatoes! It was quite an adventure for my taste buds!
The festival was more stimulating than I could have imagined! I can’t wait for next year!