The Edible Garden has been closed to the public since Labor Day weekend, but the staff here at Como have been maintaining the remaining plants throughout the fall season. This is because all of the produce grown in the exhibit goes to the zookeepers here at Como, and is given as treats and enrichment to many of the animals here at the zoo. We have been harvesting plenty of tasty produce throughout the season. Some of the things we are still harvesting in the garden this time of year include: tomatoes, peppers, beans, kale, swiss chard, eggplant, squash, beets, parsnips, pumpkins, watermelon, and a variety of herbs. Here are some pictures of a few of our animals enjoying some of the harvest.
This is Nils, a De Brazza's Monkey enjoying some onions.
This is Markisa, one of our Orangutans eating an eggplant.
Considering we've only had one or two light frosts in the Twin Cities, the garden is still looking great for this time of year! There are certain vegetables that can tolerate cooler temperatures than others. Broccoli, kale, mustard, onions, parsley, peas, and radishes which are all found in the garden, can withstand a pretty hard frost. Other more tender plants such as swiss chard, eggplant, melons, peppers, pumpkins, tomatoes, and squash can be damaged by a lighter frost. Inevitably our cold weather will be the demise of most of the plants in your vegetable garden but hopefully you (or the animals) have had a chance to enjoy the harvests while you can!