Submitted by Gwen Herzog, Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative’s Vegetable Garden Chair
It has been another exciting month for the Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative Garden. When we were finally graced with early June rain, all our vegetable plants began to flourish! We now have small peppers on our plants, and several tomato plants have begun to flower. Our eggplants’ leaves started to become lacy due to flea beetles, so these plants were dusted. Some of the radishes started protruding out of the ground and we were able to pick about 90 so far.
Although I am behind on thinning the red beets and carrots, both are growing well. The parsley may be ready for a small first cutting for distribution this month. Our beds of zucchini and yellow squash are really taking off and I anticipate by the time you read this article, we may have little ones hanging on the vines. What we need now are hot days, warm nights, and regular rainfall to help our gardens grow. Fingers crossed!
One major addition to the pantry garden is a new rainwater collection system. Thank you to the Whitehall Township Public Works Department for installing a rain gutter on the back of our shed with down spouting into our water storage tank. Installation was completed Thursday, June 22nd just in time for the weekend’s rain and as a result, our tank is now filled to the top. Many, many thanks to the Public Works team and to Mayor Harakal for supporting this valuable project! I also want to thank the Hockey Fire Department and our volunteers who brought water to the garden during the dry spring season.
If you use the Ironton Rail Trail loop, you have surely seen our WCHI Garden. Like me, you have probably also wondered why we have so many grassy areas inside the garden fence compared with the amount of planting beds. Yes, we have space and opportunities. One of our garden volunteers has been working on clearing a space for another bed. In fact, this newly created space is almost ready to use. Due to its proximity to the outer fence, we discussed possibly having to protect it from deer.
As luck would have it, in mid-June we received a donation of used fence posts and mesh fencing from our Pantry volunteers Pat and Bob, which will be perfect to use around this new bed. Speaking of planting new crops, we kept our “U” shaped bed open in anticipation of receiving donated vegetable or herb plants. If you find that you have any extra plants, please drop them at Shari Noctor’s Re/Max Unlimited office at 1080 Schadt Avenue, Whitehall, PA or give me a call at 610-379-6823 to arrange for pick up.
In last month’s article, I announced that the Whitehall-Coplay Hunger Initiative is now part of the Lehigh Valley Plant-A-Row community. The week of June 19th, neighbors of mine, Fran and Walt, donated 4 lbs. of garden lettuce which we were not able to immediately distribute at WCHI. Fortunately, we used the Plant-A-Row community network and shared it with another local pantry that was distributing food the next day!
As a reminder, any extra, fresh produce from your garden or orchard that you donate will first be distributed at our WCHI Pantry or at our Free Community Meals. If neither of these events will be taking place within a few days, your donation will be shared with local Plant-A-Row pantries that will be able to immediately distribute it. Nothing will go to waste. Fresh produce may be donated at Re/Max Unlimited and placed on the table in the foyer or give me a call me at 610-379-6823 to arrange for pick up.
Have a great July and happy gardening!