Potluck in the Park- Wednesday, July 9- featuring special Apios americana presentation and planting

The park is looking great, and this Wednesday evening we’ll be celebrating all our hard work with a potluck. Bring a dish to pass and get ready- this event will feature a short work session putting in strawberry plants (which will also be available for participants to take home for free) followed by a special presentation on the Apios americana by Dr. Gautam Bhattacharya, who will also be donating several of these plants for an experimental garden plot in the park. We’re really excited about this- the Apios, sometimes known as “potato bean,” is a native perennial vine that seems like a perfect permaculture crop. After that we’ll break out the picnic blankets and eat! This is a great chance to take in the park and learn about new plantings if you haven’t been over in a while, and we’re also hoping to gather your input and ideas for the next phase of the project’s development. 

More about Apios americana-

apios

Apios americana, also known by a variety other names including potato bean; hopniss; and groundnut, produces a tuber that is like a more nutritious version of a potato- similar taste and look, but almost 4x the protein content (15% vs. 4%.) Apios is very versatile and can be grown in regular soil but it’s also notable for performing well in flooded, nutrient-poor environments such as swamps. This gives it an advantage if planted in areas that are vulnerable to heavy spring melts (such as our flooding creek!) It is also nitrogen fixer and helps regenerate the soil.
Apios_photoshoot2_2013 (3)
Apios is native to the area between Southern Canada and Florida and to the west as far as Colorado. However it has never been cultivated domestically, perhaps because the wild plants take a couple years to produce tubers. That makes these self-sowing perennials a perfect candidate for use in permaculture projects, which place less emphasis on immediate crop yields and allow for more patience. Dr. Bhattacharya’s crops were acquired from stocks created during a breeding experiment at Louisiana State University. He is currently attempting to set up a study on them at Cornell. They’ve been planted in several local areas, such as the meadow at Beebe Lake, and we’re excited to add them to the park as both an educational resource and a food producer!
apios_field_2012(1)apios_plant_2012 (6)Apios_1849_2011 (5)
For more information on the Apios americana and other edibles with domestication potential, see this article:http://www.wired.com/2014/06/potato-bean

 

The permaculture park project is located in Conley park, which is on Alice Miller Way between the Sciencenter and the old Neighborhood Pride building. If you live nearby, please consider cooking your dish-to-pass (and other meals!) with ingredients from the park. We’ve got a lot of things ripe right now, including lettuce, sorrel, chives, onions, garlic, yokatta-na (a leafy green similar to bok choy,) and serviceberries.

Event schedule:

4:30- work session, planting strawberries and mulching. Extra plants available for free!

5:30- Apios americana presentation & planting with Dr. Gautam Bhattacharya

6:30- Potluck dinner

info and updates available here: https://www.facebook.com/events/351979634952091/

 

 

 

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