Our gardens do far more than contribute fresh flowers, greens, and other produce to the dining rooms; they help campers see how every bit of food they eat derives from soil, sun, and water and requires planting, cultivating, weeding, and harvesting.
We harvest thousands of pounds of produce throughout the summer, but the gardens in turn sow in us creativity, devotion, hard work, and community in quantities hard to measure.
Flowers, Veggies, Herbs & More
At Treetops, five acres of farm and garden are under production.
Along the border of our pastures, a 4,000-foot long flower garden is planted with a vibrant array of annuals like lobelia, cosmos, sunflowers, zinnias, alyssum, and amaranth, among many others.
At the height of the growing season, 95 percent of the produce we eat for our meals is homegrown on our own land. Each year, we harvest nearly 16,000 pounds of vegetables, including:
Two large greenhouses provide 4,000 square feet of indoor growing space. Throughout the spring and early summer, the greenhouses are used for propagation. Thousands of seeds are planted in soil blocks and get their start in the warmth and protection of the greenhouse.
Our greenhouses are home to a succession of greens, including lettuce, kale, Swiss chard, and spinach. The greenhouses allow more warmth than our unpredictable Adirondack weather can provide for the basil, tomatoes, and peppers that will thrive there throughout the summer.
The Children’s Garden
The Children’s Garden is a special plot separate from the production beds. Here campers can play and experiment. They choose what kinds of seeds to plant, watch the results of using different kinds of mulch, and track progress as morning glories wind their way up trellises. They also harvest vegetables, herbs, and berries for cooking activities in the camper kitchen.
A quiet and beautiful place, the Children’s Garden has become a favorite setting for reading, drawing, painting, and playing music, as well as a venue for all-Camp events.
At Treetops, campers have the unique opportunity to learn and explore the process of aquaponics, a hybrid of aquaculture (the farming of fish) and hydroponics (growing plants in water).
In an aquaponic system, the fish waste provides needed nutrients for the plants, eliminating the need for artificial fertilizers. As the plants soak up these nutrients, the water is cycled back through, now clean enough to enter the fish tank, eliminating the need for waste removal and large amounts of water replacement. In addition, the nitrification cycle that occurs is similar to what happens in the compost pile, but in a way that may be easier to observe and understand. As always at Treetops, exploration and education are woven into the fabric of everyday Camp life.