Posts Tagged ‘New’

Oasis on the Plateau

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Here east of Zion, we don’t usually see the lush greens that fill the canyon below. Zion Ponderosa is much more of a desert, with shrubby bushes and short trees filling most of the space. But this doesn’t deter our gardener. Zac has taken the responsibility of creating an organic garden here on site to provide herbs, vegetables, flowers, and more to our kitchen staff for cooking and decorating. By the end of the summer, it will form a small oasis here in the desert.

Situated just north of our mini ATV track on a little plot of land, the garden is beginning to look beautiful. It is part of a sustainability project designed by one of the resort’s intern, Thiago. Along with the garden, this new project will include a recycling initiative, Green Team, and more ways to lower the resort’s carbon footprint.

Our Oasis

Zac at our Organic Garden

The garden is still in its early stages because of the late winter we had here on the plateau. Surrounded by a log fence, the garden is divided into several sections. In the little plots, a wide range of produce has been planted. An herb spiral supports golden sage, lemon thyme, cilantro, Italian parsley, and more. Many of these herbs are almost ready to be clipped daily for our kitchen. Nearby is a row of carrots and onions – planted together to reduce pests. Carrot flies don’t like onions and vice-versa. In the next plot are six kinds of tomatoes. “My favorite is Mr. Stripey. It’s one of the heirlooms and it’s really called that,” Zac told me. Seven kinds of peppers also grow here now. Although it will be three years until they produce, we even have asparagus in our garden. Further back are beans, corn, sunflowers, and a wide range of gourds, including pumpkins. Zac has filled an old trash bin with soil to grow potatoes in.

After giving me the tour, Zac explained several of his organic methods of gardening. He was happily surprised to find that the soil here is quite good quality already and that has made this venture much easier. To further enrich the garden he uses natural fertilizers. Using kitchen scraps and horse manure from our horses he makes compost. It’s been breaking down quickly and will be ready for use in the garden in about two weeks. Until then, he is using a basic, all-purpose organic fertilizer from a local store. Some of the top-growth plants are also given blood meal to encourage more growth. The garden is watered using what Zac calls “Rabbit Poop Soup,” a mixture of rabbit poop from our petting zoo, molasses, and water.

The entire garden has been designed to use supplies already here on site. Old straw from the barn and wood chips from our wood pile are being used to hold moisture in the ground and protect produce from sitting on the ground – which can result in disease. The trellis for beans, sunflowers, and corn was found behind the recreation barn. Each little plot is lined in discarded wood. It makes for a mismatched, relaxed look that is really quite charming. Even the fence was built using old logs that an employee had at his furniture shop and was planning on discarding.

In addition to all it offers by way of produce, the garden will be a beautiful sight up on the dry plateau. Zac wants to put a bench or two up along the edge of the garden for guests to sit at and enjoy. We even have an entry arch with a sign. Be sure to stop by during your stay! Say hi to Zac and see how our garden is coming along.