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How to Celebrate Juneteenth with Plants? Hail Emancipation

With the motto, ‘The seeds we plant. The flowers we share,’ from Main League Soccer, you can also celebrate this year’s Juneteenth day by growing plants in your Emancipation garden.

To celebrate Juneteenth, grow vegetable plants like Okra, Beans, Summer Squash, etc., in the Emancipation Garden and honor the resilience of our African American ancestors. Besides that, you can also celebrate Juneteenth by educating youngsters about the tradition and culture of African Americans.

Read on to find out how planting such plants in the garden will celebrate our ancestors’ victory for freedom and the hope they gave for equality.

What is Juneteenth and Why Is It Celebrated?

Juneteenth is a federal holiday celebrated as America’s second Independence Day since 2021.

The day commemorates the end of slavery for African American folks in the United States.

It marks June 19th, 1865, two years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

Every year, Juneteenth is celebrated to remember and respect African Americans’ struggles and resilience during the journey to liberty and freedom.

The Juneteenth celebration also acknowledges the progress made so far and encourages younger minds to unite and racial harmony.

Nowadays, people celebrate Juneteenth in various ways. Some celebrate Juneteenth by attending a parade or festival, volunteering, donating to a charity, and learning African American culture and history.

But we, plant enthusiasts, can also commemorate and celebrate Juneteenth in our way. That is by planting an Emancipation garden.

The Emancipation Garden is basically a garden where we grow plants on Juneteenth day that our ancestors relied on for food and medicine.

So, as a gardener, you can celebrate Juneteenth by planting those crops alongside the heirloom veggies native to the African region.

How Our Ancestors Dealt With Food Needs During Emancipation?

After their immediate freedom, people had problems fulfilling basic needs like food. They had no land to grow food to sustain themselves, and they obviously did not have money to buy one.

So, our ancestors opted to collect leftover crops after the harvest from the lands of white farmers. They also rented lands from the landowners and shared the harvest with them.

However, their agreement was often unfair as the landowners’ interest was always to control them.

And our ancestors chose to grow crops with the highest production to trade surplus goods for capital generation.

okra plants
Okra is one of the most commonly grown plants by former slave African American peoples.

Here are some crops that helped our ancestors deal with food needs during Emancipation.

Vegetables & FruitsHerbs & Flowers
Alliums (Garlic, Onions)Lemon Balm
Cayenne PepperPerennial Chives
Bell PepperCalendula
Sweet PotatoesParsley
Bush BeansBasil
Summer SquashBenne Sesame

Besides that, you can also grow heirloom plants like love-lies-bleeding (Amaranthus sp.) and rose campion (Lychnis coronaria) that our African American ancestors brought to the U.S.

Do you know there is a symbol for Juneteenth? Red (blood), white (hope), and blue (unity) are the flag’s colors, with a bursting star symbol in the middle.

How Can We Commemorate Them and Continue Their Legacy Using Plants?

By planting the crops in the Emancipation Garden, you can honor the survival strategy of our Ancestors.

Also, you will be popularizing and preserving African American communities’ authentic or original food traditions.

Moreover, directly or indirectly, you will support African American-owned food or plant businesses.

Also, an Emancipation Garden connects people, makes them feel tied to their roots, and understand the historical significance of agricultural practices.

So, here is a step-by-step guide for planting Juneteenth plants in the Emancipation Garden this year.

  • First, choose any plants I mentioned above that you like to grow in your garden on a Juneteenth day.
  • Select a planting location, ensuring you meet all the growing conditions.
  • Loosen up the ground soil using a rake, and if you use raised garden beds, ensure to add fresh soil mix and best compost.
  • As per Smith Farm at Atlanta History, enslaved peoples opted for circular gardening, so you can also use circular gardening.
  • Properly sow the plant seeds and water them thoroughly.
  • Watering habits differ as per the plant species, so aim for a flexible watering habit that does not cause overwatering or underwatering issues.
  • Feed your plants with organic fertilizers in the active growing season.
  • Regularly inspect plants for pest eggs or infestations and apply neem oil as a prevention measure.

Editor’s Note

Happy Juneteenth Day!

This year celebrate Juneteenth day by planting the plants that helped our ancestors to survive when they needed the most.

Besides that, you can also celebrate Juneteenth day by partaking in the events organized by botanical gardens.