We planted a swath of roselle, grown with seeds from Working Food’s Southern Heritage Seed Collective, in late May. We hoped they might thrive in the summer heat and also help with weed suppression, their bushy branches shading the ground beneath.
It worked! While most everything else succumbed to the summer heat, rains, and pests, the roselle was thriving when the students returned in late August. By October, beautiful hibiscus-like flowers (they are related to hibiscus – and okra and cotton!) were blooming. And the ground beneath was relatively weed-free.
The calyxes were ready for harvest by late October, and the fun began! We turned some into jelly, dehydrated others, made sun tea and hot tea and even a sauce for a Seminole Pumpkin Cheesecake (for our November birthday party).
The Family Farm and Field Day happened right at the end of the season, and visitors got to try out a great southern alternative to cranberry sauce – and then harvest a bag to bring home with the recipe.
Roselle is cold-sensitive, and today was its last day. Students pulled them up and hauled them to the compost pile with as much joy as they planted them. What a great season! We are looking forward to seeing their seed-children next summer!