Innisfree’s vegetable garden workstation, almost four decades old, operates year-round and uses organic, bio-intensive methods. In the early spring through late fall, the garden plants, harvests, and sells vegetables. A wide variety of vegetables are cultivated on two acres of Innisfree land, including lettuces, spinach, collard greens, tomatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, corn, cabbage, and zucchini and other squash.
In the winter, the garden begins preparing for a new growing season by mixing potting soil, preparing compost, and planting seedlings in a greenhouse. Seedlings are also planted in an unheated hoophouse to provide Innisfree with early spring greens. Another winter project is collecting, splitting, and delivering firewood to Innisfree houses. Holiday projects include wreath-making workshops and cutting Christmas trees for Innisfree houses.
In 2004, a community-supported agriculture (CSA) venture known as Innisfree Community Gardens was started. The CSA sells not only vegetables but culinary and medicinal herbs and flowers from Innisfree’s herb and flower garden and sometimes eggs from Innisfree’s farm workstation. Currently, the CSA is only available to Innisfree houses and a few affiliates.
Innisfree’s residents (coworkers) and volunteer caregivers participate in the vegetable garden on many levels. They plant, weed, and mulch, and they wash, weigh, and package. They use spades, shovels, and rototillers. And they all reap the benefits of breathing fresh mountain air and basking in the warm sun!
For more information about opportunities to buy vegetables from Innisfree Community gardens or to ask about becoming a garden intern, e-mail [email protected] or call 434-823-5646.