WCHI Pantry Garden Article – September 7, 2023
Contributed by Gwen Herzog, WCHI Pantry Garden Chair
August has been a very full month at our WCHI Pantry Garden! Hot days, warm nights, and a good amount of rainfall have helped our plants continue to produce incredibly well. We have been routinely picking zucchini and yellow squash and until just the fourth week of August, they had not slowed down production. We were fortunate to be able to offer all August Pantry guests a variety of fresh Pantry Garden vegetables including zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, red beets, radishes, and parsley in addition to cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, and apples donated by our generous community gardeners. Combined with the produce boxes, lettuce, onions, lemons, and grapes we received from Second Harvest Food Bank, it was a cornucopia of fresh produce for all guests! We were also able to supply some of our Pantry Garden produce to WCHI’s community meal at the Whitehall Bible Fellowship Church and to other food pantries in our area.
During our work night on August 1st, pantry garden neighbors, Walter and Stella, walked down for a visit. In addition to donating items grown in his garden, Walter brought cleaner and brushes and generously scrubbed the algae and mud from our shed while Stella, his dog, patrolled for groundhogs. Our shed looks brand new thanks to Walter!
Thanks to Michael Agrippine and the Whitehall-Coplay Press for featuring our Pantry Garden in the August 17th edition. Mike stopped by the garden during a Tuesday work night to interview us and take photos, and I was pleasantly surprised to see us on pages one and two!
I want to recognize and thank our amazing local gardeners who have generously donated their garden and orchard bounty! So far this year, with your generous donations, over 250 lbs. of fresh produce has been contributed to Lehigh Valley Plant-a-Row. Remember, our priority for donations is the WCHI Food Pantry and WCHI Free Community Meals, then other, local food pantries. Nothing goes to waste! Any amount of produce, large or small, is greatly appreciated. Please bring your donations to the vestibule at RE/MAX Unlimited, 1080 Schadt Ave., Whitehall, M-F 8:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. or call me at 610-379-6823 for other pick up or drop off accommodations.
As I wrote in last month’s article, I was able to purchase broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and turnips from The Seed Farm’s fall plant sale. These were planted in available beds in the Pantry Garden, and with some metal rabbit fence, the plants have remained untouched! On 8/28 The Seed Farm reached out to donate more plants and herbs to our garden, so at our work night on 8/29, we cleared out our zucchini and yellow squash beds to make room for arugula, kale, Swiss chard, cabbage, turnips, pac choi, bok choi, endive, basil, and dill. We expect to plant these at our work night on 9/5. With continued sun, heat, and rain and without critter interference, we should be able to offer Pantry Garden produce to our WCHI guests throughout the fall.
Finally, my article would not be complete without sharing our fabulous year-to-date Pantry Garden yield of 373 zucchini, 222 yellow squash, 24 bags of radishes, 65 tomatoes, 95 peppers, 7 bags of red beets, 42 eggplants, and a tote bag full of parsley. I hope your gardens have been just as successful. Have a great month!