Introducing Neeva and Pica, our New Presidio Heritage Garden Interns!

Pica and Neeva began their internship at the height of grape season.  They have been feasting on our Mission San Gabriel grapes each day.  Photo by Michael Imwalle.
Pica and Neeva began their internship at the height of grape season. They have been feasting on our Mission San Gabriel grapes each day. Photo by Michael Imwalle.

We are the new Presidio Heritage Garden interns at El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park, Neeva and Pica. We come from Anacapa School every Monday and Wednesday afternoon to work with Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation Archaeologist Michael Imwalle on taking care of the gardens. We started our internship in September. On our first day, Michael took us on a tour of the gardens. Pica, who is an international student from China, was surprised by the figs because they looked like flowers inside, but were edible. On the same day, Michael also helped us pick oranges to take back to the school to share with our classmates and family. We also got to eat the baby watermelon which had been growing all summer.

The wheelbarrow is behaving itself for the time being as Pica and neeva relocate pups from the misi luki banana. Photo by Michael Imwalle.
The wheelbarrow is behaving itself for the time being as Pica and Neeva relocate pups from the misi luki banana. Photo by Michael Imwalle.
The seed harvest from last season's crop. Photo by Michael Imwalle.
The seed harvest from last season’s crop. Photo by Michael Imwalle.

After a couple of weeks we planted beans, wheat, brussels sprouts, broccoli, garlic and more. We got to harvest celery seeds, fava beans, watermelon seeds and wheat, which we ground into flour. We also made labels for the plants from clay roof tiles, which you are able to see around the gardens. It took us hours to make and put them in the correct places. The labels are heavy and easily-broken; we had to use a wheelbarrow to move them. The wheelbarrow can be really heavy and difficult to control, so once when we were moving the labels something unfortunate happened and Pica lost her balance and suddenly the wheelbarrow was on the side and a couple of the labels broke.

Neeva and Pica build a pea trellis from arunda donax, which they harvested and stripped from a cluster grown within El Presidio SHP. Photo by Michael Imwalle.
Neeva and Pica build a pea trellis from arunda donax, which they harvested and stripped from a cluster grown within El Presidio SHP. Photo by Michael Imwalle.

Recently we had planted radishes and carrots near the strawberries and orange trees.  We planted shelling peas and Christmas Lima Beans and got to make a trellis for the shelling peas at El Cuartel. Making the trellis was difficult, but fun.

Planting new winter vegetables in the Presidio Northeast Corner gardens. Photo by Michael Imwalle.
Planting new winter vegetables in the Presidio Northeast Corner gardens. Photo by Michael Imwalle.

One of the best parts of the Presidio Heritage Garden internship is that we always have oranges, mandarin and grapes to eat. Our favorite place to garden and water is the vegetable garden; it’s very green and lively.  We are also excited that the Presidio might get chickens this winter.

Neeva and Pica will be working in the Presidio Heritage Gardens through December 2013.  We hope you’ll stop by to see the “fruits” of their efforts!  You can learn more about the Presidio Heritage Gardens here

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