12 Field Gardens

field gardens

Field Gardens

A quick visit to the garden for some extra hot peppers for the evening meal. Just like today's islanders (see image below), the Lucayans enjoyed a bit of spice. 

Lucayan gardens, filled with the most immediately useful plants - such as herbs, medicines and fruits -  were planted in close proximity to their houses. Cotton (Gossypium spp.) and other useful trees - such as Bixa orellana (its fruits used to create red pigment for body painting) and Crescentia or Lagenaria (which produced gourds) - would also be located close by. 

Larger gardens for crops including manioc (Manihot esuelenta Cranz), maize (Zea mays L.), coontie (Zamia sp.), sweet potato (Ipomoea botatas L.) - not to mention chili pepper (Capsicum spp.) - may have been located on the periphery of the villages, in suitable fields. Various combinations of these plants were likely grown together in mutually beneficial companion plantings, which not only increased yields and provided diverse crops at different seasons but reduced weed growth. This illustration shows manioc, maize and chilis growing together. 

When the first settlers came to the Lucayan archipelago, they brought with them useful root and seed crops (e.g., manioc, maize, chilies, squash) and over the years these species were absorbed into the local landscape, becoming 'wild' in abandoned plots. 



field gardens now


Unit 12a Field garden (JPG, 0.7MB)

Unit 12b Garden basket (JPG, 0.5MB)

Unit 12c Field garden now (JPG, 0.7MB)