Growing fresh foods with the New Castle County Master Gardeners

August 20, 2015

New Castle County Master Gardeners have been working hard all summer tending to their demonstration garden outside the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension office in Newark.

Produce grown in the garden is donated to the Food Bank and Little Sisters of the Poor. Last year, the group donated close to 900 pounds!

Master Gardener Rick Judd leads the group of dedicated volunteers who spend time weeding, watering, pruning, harvesting and more to make sure the demonstration garden is in tip-top shape. The garden serves three purposes – teaches the community best practices for vegetable and fruit gardening, shows how easy it is to compost and provides an opportunity for Master Gardeners to donate fresh foods to Delawareans in need.

The 288-square-foot garden has produced more than 300 pounds of food for the Food Bank so far this year. Rick says the gardeners are now harvesting some of their heaviest crops including sweet potatoes, squash and cantaloupe. Cucumbers, tomatoes and fresh herbs are also growing in abundance.

The demonstration garden also features unique ways to grow fruits and vegetables, especially if space is limited. Squash and cantaloupe are grown vertically on a trellis, beans and Swiss chard are grown in plastic containers traditionally used for storage and raised beds are home to healthy beets.

While Labor Day is just around the corner, growing will continue through the chilly fall months at the demonstration garden.

“This is a great month to get your fall crops in,” advises Rick. “Some you can sew in directly. I would actually start raising [seeds] under the lights. Now is a good time to start planting seeds such as broccoli, kale and cauliflower. Start them inside under the light about six weeks before you want to put them out. As they mature, they prefer the cooler weather of the fall.”

For those who are new to gardening, Rick says three ingredients are needed – sun, soil and water!

To learn more about the Master Gardeners in New Castle County, please click here.

Check out some photos of the demonstration garden!

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