The Pearls of Cascadia-Antilles Culture Club
We’re seeking gardeners of all skill levels to trial varieties of plants related to Haitian cuisine, culture, and history, to see if they’ll grow in Pacific Northwest gardens. If you participate, you’ll receive free starter plants in May, followed by questionnaires in October to find out how the plants did in your garden.
Together with Log House Plants, who are graciously hosting this project, I’ll use your feedback to develop a collection of plants for sale by Log House in 2015– the proceeds from which will go to the Lambi Fund — a Haitian organization which which supports Haitian-run sustainable agriculture projects, reforestation, and community development.
A bit about me and this project: I’m an artist from New Orleans recently moved to Cottage Grove, Oregon. I’ve worked at Log House Plants for the last four spring seasons, and this is the first year I will finally have a garden to tend. I’ve traveled to Haiti and met with artists there as part of another project and wanted to find a way to further a connection in the move across the continent; New Orleans and Haiti share a long history, and much of it can be viewed through the spectrum of food and plants– in Oregon, we relate very strongly to the same issues of land use, reforestation, self-determination, and food rights. Here is one way for us to support Haitians who are working hard to bring their land back from the brink! As the project unfolds, I will use this blog as platform to describe the plants and their histories, with gardening notes and delicious Caribbean recipes.
I will work with each gardener to prepare the plant list best suited to your needs, interests, and garden conditions and will provide growing information for each. Most of these plants do need full sun all day long, though there are exceptions (such as mirlitons)- and if you are able to use a hoop house or raised, covered bed, you may be able to coax the least likely into fruition (such as peanuts!). I am also looking for a bean aficionado willing to grow as many varieties of beans as can fit, in order to best judge which varieties have the best chance of working out. Please see the list below to preview what will be available. I look forward to discovering how all of these plants grow in your gardens!
All the best,
Myrtle von Damitz lll
(contact via this page in form provided below)
Haitian Plants Project Trials, Starts List, Spring 2014
(Please see NOTES and information on available plants in the google doc.)
Tennessee Red Valencia
Schronce’s Deep Black
Southern Pea, Peking Black
Southern Pea, Rouge et Noir
Bush Bean, Field Bean, Louisiana Red (Phaseolus vulgaris)
Cow Pea, Red Ripper (Vigna unguiculata)
Gray Speckled Palapye (Botswana)
Old Timer/Purple Hull Speckled (short bush)
Six Week Purple Hull (early pink eye) (“small plants”)
Rice Pea (bush)
Bohemian (Czech heirloom)
Ozark Razorback (two-toned, bush)
Pigott Family (Louisiana heirloom, “good size”)
PIGEON PEA (Cajanus cajan)
Hill Country Red
PUMPKIN (Cucurbita moschata)
SCOTCH BONNET PEPPER (Capsicum chinense, YELLOW)
Plate de Haiti
Olirose de St. Dominique
MIRLITONS (aka chayote, Sechium edule)
GREENS & FLOWERS
AMARANTH (Green Callaloo/Calalou)
COLLARDS, Georgia Southern “Creole”
MELOKHIYA (also Calalou)
ROSELLE (Hibiscus sabdariffa)
Indigo tinctorea (true indigo)
Indigo suffruticosa (Mayo indigo)
STARCH & GRAIN
(Other plants and varieties may follow.)
Have you grown varieties of these plants in the Pacific-Northwest? Do you have suggestions for other plants and varieties? Please be in touch.