Giants Garden, the edible garden that’s planned for AT&T Park in San Francisco and billed as the first of its kind at a major American sports facility, is already generating an early public reaction that has its designers a little overwhelmed.
The cold and foggy San Francisco weather has skeptics convinced that the edible garden, announced by President Obama earlier this week, will be problematic when it opens next season.
“People think tomatoes won’t grow in the fog,” lamented Silvina Blasen, the plant expert who designed the landscape with her husband, Eric Blasen. “Several grow in such conditions -- Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes, for instance.”
The Blasens said they researched solar orientation and wind patterns to find plants that will yield vegetables and fruit all year long. And the garden, they said, will be in a spot behind the center-field wall that gets full sun.
“We want to have things growing constantly,” Eric Blasen said.
The designers, whose Blasen Landscape Architecture firm is based in the Marin County town of San Anselmo, have completed edible gardens for schools and wineries.
“The last thing we want is a garden that doesn’t grow well,” Silvina Blasen said.
The couple, who are working on the Giants project with architecture firm EDG, wanted to thwart another misconception about the garden: “People are mistaken that this area below the scoreboard has bleachers,” Eric Blasen said.
“That’s not the case. This area is sod. There will be no loss of seating at the stadium -- especially not the cheap seats,” he added, laughing.
What the new garden will have: aeroponic towers where leafy green vegetables and tomato plants can grow vertically, as well as raised beds with peas, more greens and Persian cucumbers.
Lemon trees will be planted in containers that are mobile and easy to maintain, the couple said. Long dining tables will feature rotating trays of herbs and edible flowers such as pansies and marigolds. “You can pluck off fresh herbs while you’re sitting there eating,” Eric Blasen said.
An on-site kitchen will help to process the harvests and will supply food to two of concessionaire Bon Appetit’s restaurants in the stadium.
The Blasens stressed that the garden isn’t just about catering baseball games with kale. The hope is that children from local schools will visit, so the garden has an educational component too. Said Silvina Blasen: “This garden is not going to be about serving vegetables, but growing food.”
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