Not only should you check out the Chuck Williams Culinary Arts Museum when you are in Napa, you should also make a stop at the culinary garden. This gem of a cuisine garden is in front of the CIA at the Copia. While it features a variety of citrus trees on the right side, the main attraction is the 32-bed-garden. It is as educational as practical. Everything this edible garden has to offer is used by the CIA. In rare cases the website promises to offer any surplus at the Marketplace. The two gardeners Jacob Tracy and Rachel Kohn Obut show their love for the job and the sustainability of the land by ensuring crop rotation, no-till gardening, and an interesting array of local and climate related plants.
Currently they are working on offering garden tours, summer produce and flower sales.
The little stone walls invite you to sit down and take in the beauty and smells. You could even bring lunch from the next door’s Oxbow public market. The only thing you are asked to not do is sample any produce. Nevertheless they do offer a seed library! Get inspired and start your own culinary garden.
I hope you will take some time to enjoy the culinary garden at the CIA.
Libraries are a great resource, not only for books. For example our library, in Mountain View, offers language lessons, movies, events, and my favorite program, Discover & Go. They also have a seed library. You can donate seeds or check out their inventory. Currently they have leeks, peas, basils, and ornamental flowers. Like Mountain View, a lot of local libraries offer a seed exchange program.
These programs prevent the loss of seed integrity, and preserve genetic diversity. In addition they promote self sustainability. You can become a gardener with little to no start-up cost.
To participate you don’t have to exchange seeds, but you are encouraged to collect seeds from the ones you acquired and share again.
The basic rules for seed sharing are:
Take what you need
Plant what you take
Learn to save seeds
Share what you save
The last Saturday in January is National Seed Swap Day. This day celebrates the beginning of the new gardening season. Unfortunately the UC Master Gardeners canceled their event at Martial Cottle Park in San Jose for this day. But you can always stop by their seed library in front of the park’s demonstration garden.
Does your library offer a seed library?
If you would rather buy seedlings, please support Valley Verde in San Jose.