Heckscher Farm's Organic Garden
The Stamford Museum & Nature Center's Heckscher Farm has had a vegetable garden for decades. Over the years, the vegetable garden has gone through many changes with each planting season. Some seasons have seen a community based organic vegetable garden with dozens of volunteers, other seasons the garden's focus has shifted to herbs.
The goal of the vegetable garden is to educate within the context of a working organic garden. In 2004, the vegetable garden was redesigned and expanded. During the redesign, the garden's functions were explored in order to achieve a healthy educational experience for Museum visitors, while facilitating the working aspect of the garden. New raised beds were built, placing a more permanent footprint on the Heckscher Farm. Educational programs focusing primarily on the garden were expanded and a wide range of vegetables were planted to provide visitors the opportunity to visually see how many types of fruits and vegetables grow.
In 2005, the vegetable garden was doubled in size, which provided the opportunity to grow a more diverse variety of fruits and vegetables. In addition, educational programs were expanded and created to use the vegetable garden as a classroom. Our school programs bring school children into the garden where they get to experience a working garden, learn basic botany including the life cycle of a plant and the major parts and functions of a plant, and gain a greater understanding of where their food comes from. SMNC summer camps and programs also utilize the garden as a place where students learn skills and methods needed to grow a successful garden.
Today, the garden is cared for by a dedicated group of Museum employees and volunteers. Each year they plant dozens of heirloom varieties of vegetables, providing visitors with the opportunity to experience many of the same varieties of vegetables their grandparents planted generations ago. Last season, over 700 pounds of produce was harvest using only organic methods!
Each spring rows of onions, carrots, beets, spinach, and lettuce are planted. Cucumbers and pole beans are grown on trellis and towers. Perennial favorites like asparagus and grapes provide a bountiful harvest year after year. Started by seed indoors, tomatoes, peppers, watermelon, and muskmelons ripen in the warm summer sun. Potatoes, pumpkins, and summer squash are given room to run free in the "field". Herbs such as basil, dill, chives, cilantro, and sage are harvested and add a spice to summer dishes. Garlic is planted in the late-fall for a summer treat. Annual and perennial flowers provide bees, butterflies, and humming birds with a feast throughout the growing season. Come and experience it all at the Heckscher Farm's Vegetable Garden!