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Re: need some project advice

  • Subject: Re: [cg] need some project advice
  • From: yarrow@sfo.com
  • Date: Wed, 8 Mar 2006 11:21:02 -0800

>...proposed local school project to bring World
>History to life by creating four 3' x 15' theme gardens:
>bed #1 -- *Americas - squash, chili peppers, corn, bush beans,
>pumpkin, echinacea
>bed #2 -- *Ancient Greece - lavendar, leek, chive, basil, parsley
>bed #3 & #4 -- *China & Mesopotamia - rhubarb, barley, oats
>* Are there more representative plants for these themes?

I googled for fun and found some ambiguous info on what originated 
where. Is the purpose to show the origin of plants, or to show 
representative diets? It might be fun to grow foods in each section 
that represent daily meals -- plant a legume, a grain, a vegetable or 
two, and a fruit for each region.

Or you could decide on a few plants you know are easy to grow and 
then research where they came from.

Random suggestions...

soybeans, garlic (may be too late to plant), ginger (tropical), tea
Chinese vegetables in the cabbage family -- red mustard leaf is 
beautiful (though strong)

Ancient Greece:
bay tree, lemon tree in containers ? (indoors in the winter)
grape vines (leaves and fruit)

grow corn, pole beans, and squash/pumpkin as "Three Sisters"
for medicinal use, echinacea roots are  harvested from 3-year-old 
plants, though the leaves can always be used
potatoes are easy and come in red, white, yellow, purple; can be 
grown in piles of straw or mulch to make harvesting easier and save 
blueberries or cranberries?
strawberries http://www.uga.edu/fruit/strawbry.htm

melons (not watermelon), onions, lentils, barley, millet

Barley and wheat are the cereals that occur most persistently in 
Mesopotamian archaeological sites. ...Barley was not only the most 
common of the useful natural products but also the most abundant, and 
in the absence of money as a medium of exchange, barley grain served 
as the accepted standard of value.  [flat] Bread and onions formed 
the basic diet of the people of Assyria and Babylonia.... Gardens in 
fertile Mesopotamia flourished, and onion leeks and garlic were 
amongst the most frequently cultivated plants. ... A good meal 
consisted too of vegetables such as lentils which, like beans, have 
always been grown in the area, boiled millet, barley prepared as we 
prepare rice, and possibly maize.... Other common vegetables included 
pumpkins, cucumbers and melons. ...The date...was, in the words of 
Herodotus, their 'food, wine and honey'. Fig-syrup was also used in 
Assyria. ...The varieties of fruit most commonly eaten, other than 
dates, included grenadines, medlars, apples, pears, apricots, plums, 
and pistachio nuts-varieties which flourished in Assyria.

origins of vegetables
Americas: tomatoes, snap beans, peppers, lima beans, and potatoes

eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea and well inland: asparagus, 
beets, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, endive, kale, lettuce, 
parsley, parsnips, and rhubarb.

both the Middle East and the Near East: peas, Indian mustard, carrot, 
onion, and muskmelon

far east (including China): various mustards, radishes, Chinese 
cabbage, soybeans, cucumbers, eggplant, and cowpeas.

India: cowpeas (black-eyed peas), eggplant, and cucumbers.

Africa: okra and watermelons


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