Summer supply of fresh vegetables available at community garden

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AMHERST – Growing garden vegetables has never been easier.

“All the hard work is done already,” said Matt Cole, a community outreach gardener. “All you have to do is come out, put the seeds in the ground and let the sun and the plants do their work.”
Volunteers were out tilling the soil and building raised beds on Saturday at the community garden adjacent to E.B. Chandler Junior High School, between Donald Avenue and Willow Street.
When all is done, there will be at least 30 rows and several raised beds available to grow a garden. There are also an abundance of free seeds available.

“Anyone who wants a row will get one row each,” said Cole. “You should be able to grow enough produce that you would eat all summer in one row.”

In past years the garden has grown vegetable as small as radishes and as big as giant pumpkins.

“People can grow peppers, lettuce, potatoes and tomatoes. Anything that can grow in our climate can grow in this soil.” The raised beds will help make it easier to garden.

“If we get young students or if we can get people from a retirement home or other elderly people it’s a lot easier to garden out of a raised bed than a traditional garden row,” said Cole. “We want to have garden space that’s available for every single type of person in the community.”
As the vegetables grow and are ready for harvest there will be workshops to on how to cook and preserve the vegetables.
“The very first workshop will be at the end of June and it will be about how to store radishes. I will try to teach people how to make kimchi radishes which is an Asian way of preserving food,” said Cole. “I picked radishes because it’s not something you do much with traditionally. Previously I’d have about 10 radishes a year, now when I run out of jars of kimchi radishes I’m kind of sad. I hope to pass that enthusiasm along.”
Cole said learning how to grow your own food is an important piece of information everybody should have at their disposal.
“I’m trying to start a farm myself, so it’s something I’ve been interested in for some time. Now that I’m getting an idea about what I’m doing I’d like to pass the knowledge on,” said Cole. “Everybody eats three meals a day, ideally, but few people know how to make the food to make those meals. It’s keeping that knowledge in the public sphere.”
Cole thanked everybody who came out to help on Saturday