Guest Author - Rebecca M. Cuevas De Caissie
Hispanics and Gardening are a marriage of time and history. With the first days of summer upon us, we find ourselves dreaming of gardening or at the very least enjoying the wonderful effects of gardening all around us. Many are the days we spend strolling in gardens and enjoying the fruits of the gardening season. At times, we may wonder, at least those of us who share an interest in gardening and Hispanic Culture is there a connection to modern gardening and Mesoamerican Culture? Well, if you were not wondering about it, maybe you are now. You might be surprised that both in the industrial and person garden are contributions you never knew about. In this article, we will take a journey into the past by simply strolling through our modern garden and learn:
Mesoamerican Gardening Secrets!
To begin with, did you know that many common fruits and vegetables are actually from the pre-Columbian period in the Mesoamerican culture? Often mistaken by the common person as hailing from another country when in fact, scientist and archeologist are finding that indeed the clues lead us right back to this continent. Following are a list of common vegetables that have their origins in Mesoamerican Culture adopted into out modern and mainstream diet.
Here is a partial list of Mesoamerican Crops:
Cotton, Corn, Beans, Squash, Chili Peppers, Lima Beans, Potatoes, Cocoa, Tobacco, Honey, Amaranth (used in making baby cookies), Avocados, Vanilla, Tequila, sweet potato, Tomatoes, Onions, Jicama, Peanuts, Gum, Mamey, blue-green spirulina algae, coriander, sage, pumpkin, yucca, guavas, avocado pear, mushrooms, bananas, papayas, plums, giant pineapple, passion fruit, blackberry, raspberries, blueberries, gooseberries and walnuts.
Many of these foods exported to Europe and through out the world but do indeed hold their origins in the Mesoamerican History. It is fascinating to ponder as we shop the bounty of this season or till the earth in hopes of a new crop that we find that many of the foods we enjoy today in fact have a history that dates back to pre-Columbian Latin American Culture.
It is a fact that many of the gardening techniques we enjoy today also share the same origins. For example, irrigation was a very common practice in Mesoamerican times and was in full practice many years before European countries. Chinampas, or the early predecessor to Hydroponics is another manner of advanced gardening techniques which we are just beginning to understand and use today. This manner of cultivation was to create floating gardens on the lakes by using reeds to make baskets on which to float their crops.
For the summer season, why not give your friends an informational tour of your garden and tell them a little bit about the history of the humble and common found vegetation within each of our gardens. Enjoy the great weather and have fun. Once you have your crop planted and the lazy days begin to roll by, why not plan to have a Hydroponic garden. By having a Hydroponic Garden you can bring into your house the beauty of summer, the freshness of homegrown vegetables and bring a little bit of the pre-Columbus Mesoamerican culture into your home. The prospect of a Hydroponic garden may seem daunting at first but with the following link, I am sure you will find that the love of gardening and Hispanic Culture can now be a year round hobby. It’s a great science project for school or a wonderful way to learn. Enjoy!
Simply Hydroponics is an independent website that offers Hydroponic Supplies, a Hydroponic University and free plans for making various types of Hydroponic Gardens. I found the information useful and think you will too.