It seems the nation is going "back to the land" these days. People are clamoring to "grow their own" by setting up backyard edible gardens which is good news for seed companies that are reporting record sales as well as local nurseries that are supplying the mulch, planters and accessories to ensure bumper crops for everyone.
Descanso Gardens in La Canada is helping adults and kids get hands-on experience with edible gardens, a growing trend that can easily become an everyday, long-lasting reality for many Americans.
First, following the lead of Michelle Obama, Descanso is currently establishing its new permanent edible garden called Nature's Table which will feature seasonal crops of vegetables, fruit trees, herbs and edible flowers. Visitors can get inspired and see up-close the value and beauty of edible plants. The garden was designed by students enrolled at Cal Poly Pomona's Landscape Architecture Design Studio who also pledged to lend manpower help when the actual plants will be installed as well as follow-up research.
Elsewhere, Descanso is offering kids age 6-12 this summer the chance to get their hands dirty as they learn the ABC's of fruit and vegetable gardening. As part of Descanso Discoveries Summer Camp, one week is devoted to "Let's Eat Our Garden" which aims to blend gardening fun with food science. This original program is offered June 22-26 and July 13-17. (For more information about the camp visit: www.descansogardens.org or call 818-949-7980.)
And finally, youth who have been participating in Descanso's Harvest Garden - a weekly gardening program for developmentally disabled students from local schools - have been cultivating and collecting various herbs for La Canada's Dish Restaurant. The partnership has been going on for a few months, and plans are in the works for students in the fall to grow more crops for the restaurant to use in its true home-grown dishes.
All in all, Descanso Gardens is showing how edible gardens can be more than just a passing fad - growing food can be a lifelong endeavor that's perfect for all ages, talents and abilities.