EASTHAM -- There’ll be no potato famine this fall.

Volunteer pitch-forkers and diggers descended on the Nauset Food and Research Garden one recent afternoon to harvest the potato crop before the first frost. Rand Burkert and Gretel Norgeot, the two garden coordinators planted five varieties of potatoes in the spring, along with a plethora of native and exotic cops.

There are squash of assorted shapes and sizes, beans, beets, amaranth grain, sweet potatoes, chard, lettuce, mustard, okra, hot peppers, cowpeas, bitter melon and more growing behind Nauset Regional High School.

Sweet potato is one of the more exotic crops, as it has a Central American origin. Students from the English as a Second Language Program at the school started it themselves.

“They started them in class,” Burkert explained. “They put the plants in water and then cut the shoots out and rooted them in water and then planted those out. I’d like to take the plants and put them in as many classes as possible.”

The sweet potatoes formed a morning glory-like ground cover over the ground and were still in bloom last week. Those potatoes will be dug later. Standard issue potatoes, Yukon Gold, Russett Burbank, Red Pontiac and Adirondack Blue were being plucked out of the soil on a beautiful fall afternoon.

The garden was revived by the Farmer’s Market of Orleans and the Food Forest Initiative of Cape Cod, which Norgeot and Burkert represent, respectively. There were six 40-foot rows of potatoes so the eight volunteers had to move a lot of dirt.

The crop will go to the Harwich Family Pantry. It has already received two earlier harvests, and some of the bounty will land in Nauset’s culinary arts classes.

Behind the potato rows stands a tall field of bright red opopeo amaranth tassels, a native “grain” – it’s not a true grain but is used like one. In front of that is a large population of evening primrose – planted by mother nature herself.

“I planted mixed clover,” Burkert said. The clover was to cover a fallow field for a year but the crop fizzled out in midsummer and the primrose thrived. “So I let them go,” Burkert added. “I thought perhaps what nature is offering is a better cover crop. And I know the Native Americans used to eat primrose root in the winter.”

Burkert wants the garden to expose students to the genetic diversity of food crops. He planted a field of the three sisters; corn, beans and squash, to remind students of how the Wampanoags grew their food.

The corn is an old variety; King Phillip Red Corn. Native American corn was dried and stored and used for flour, not eaten fresh with butter. The beans are Cherokee Trail of Tears and the pumpkin (squash) is Connecticut Field.

The garden also features New Jersey Pie Pumpkins, Butternut Squash, Golden Beets, Red Russian Kale, French Leeks, Scarlet Nantes Carrots. The ESL students contributed not only the sweet potatoes, but scotch bonnet peppers (from Lake Farm Gardens) and bitter melon.

“The garden was successful,” Burkert said. “But I also measure success by the involvement of the students. This was a trial balloon. It was dormant and restarted. We developed it over the summer so they would see the potential.”

It started late last spring, and classes were out over the summer, so student involvement has been limited. Art classes have come out to sketch in the garden. Burkert would like to see science classes more involved, perhaps history as well, since there are historic elements to the garden.

“There’s a lot to learn about genetics,” he said. “We could even do our own plant breeding over a period of years. There is a lot of potential for research. It’s really here for the imagination of the students.”

The garden has received contributions from the Robert B. Our Company (compost), Ace Hardware and Agway of Orleans.