Gardening is not only a tasty and rewarding activity, but also a very exciting learning process year round. For those of you who don’t know, The Knox College Community Garden Club is now in full swing and learning new things about plants everyday. Our first workday was this past weekend, and though the soil was too wet from the Saturday rain to start tilling, a group of us beautifully decorated wooden stakes for labeling the plants soon to be put in the ground. While at the garden, we noticed a group of leafy greens growing, despite the fact that we have not planted anything in the garden yet this spring. These leafy greens turned out to be kale planted last year. Upon further research, I learned that not only is kale able to survive even the harshest of Illinois winters, it is, in fact, best harvested after a frost has “sweetened” its leaves. Kale is very nutritious as it is high in vitamins A and C. The leaves should be harvested from the bottom of the plant up and can be eaten raw (in a salad perhaps) or cooked, such as in a soup.
The greatest thing about this kale discovery is that the Community Garden is just a couple of blocks from campus (on the corner of First and West Street) and the kale growing there is available to any one who fancies a nutritious and local snack. So if you need a break from the food in the caf and/or want to eat a very healthy and locally grown meal or snack, head over to the garden and harvest Knox’s very own kale!
Look for more vegetables from the Community Garden as the growing season progresses. If you are interested in helping with the garden and learning more about gardening and eating locally, don’t hesitate to attend either our meetings at 4 p.m. on Mondays in the Gizmo and/or our workdays every Saturday at 2 p.m. at the garden. Everyone is welcome to come; no experience is necessary. Contact me, Rebecca Ott, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or just show up at the meetings or workdays. Hope to see you there!