Hello, we are Sam, Lottie, and Elise, the new Presidio Heritage Garden Interns from the Anacapa School. We started our work here on September 22nd with a tour around the presidio grounds from Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation Archaeologist Mike Imwalle to see what our semester at the gardens would hold, and were introduced to the dedicated employees working diligently here in the Presidio offices. We have been coming here to work every Monday and Wednesday afternoon since then. On our first official day of tending to the gardens we planted rows of wheat and corn. The wheat has since grown approximately four inches. A raccoon stole one of our corn plants but that is fine because we were able to replace the corn and the raccoon needed to find some way to support his family.
On our next visit we planted celery, cabbage, and onions. We also uprooted several basil plants and moved them to a new location. We ended the day by starting fava beans and shelling peas from seed. On each of our visits we also water the plants at the presidio. We use water keys to turn on the hoses. Some days we forget to return water keys and leave them in our jeans pockets, but we always return them to Mike eventually. On October 1st we pruned the grape vines and Mike pruned the citrus trees. Sam was stabbed by the thorns on the citrus tree as he tried to place them into the dumpster, which we filled to the top.* Gardening is dangerous work! While Sam was suffering from the pain associated with physical labor, Elise was planting carrots and radishes.
This last Monday we started new Christmas Lima beans and green beans. Mike then helped us get started on making a new trellis; we cut giant cane and cleaned it off and will soon tie it together into a trellis for beans.
So far we have had a great and fulfilling experience gardening at El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park for the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation. We look forward to more gardening in the weeks ahead.
*Note: our heritage citrus trees have long thorns, which were later bred out, and don’t appear on the citrus trees we are familiar with today. The thorns protrude from under the leaves and often catch unsuspecting volunteers by surprise!