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Free gardening workshops coming to Montgomery

By Staff | Feb 1, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED Susan Andrews is a Montgomery resident who serves as a Councilwoman and volunteer with the Montgomery Volunteer Fire Company. She also founded Valley Rehabilitation and is a physical therapist. She will be conducting a community garden in the Montgomery borough this year.

MONTGOMERY – On Monday, January 21st Montgomery resident Susan Andrews shared her knowledge and love of gardening at the Montgomery Borough Building to teach others how to plant and sprout seeds. With lots of examples and informative handouts, it was the first of one in a series of gardening how-to demonstrations that she is volunteering to teach in the coming months.

While January may seem early to be thinking about gardening, many types of vegetables, beans, and herbs need to be sprouted as seedlings indoors before they can be transplanted outdoors. Andrews provided a seasonal schedule for this region that shows the best times to sprout and transplant a wide variety of vegetables. Cabbage plants should ideally be sprouted indoors as early as the middle of February, while cauliflower should be sprouted indoors in June.

Growing produce is a much less expensive option than buying it in stores. Fortunately gardening can be a very low cost activity. Andrews said that inexpensive seeds can be purchased at major retailers and many common household objects can be used to plant and sprout seedlings. Some examples included egg cartons, egg shells, paper cups, yogurt containers, milk jugs, and disposable pie containers. She also provided instructions for making newspaper tubes that can serve as mini planters. While all of these options require a certain amount of watering, Andrews also explained how to make a self-watering planter out of a 2-liter soda bottle and provided a handout with a D-I-Y diagram.

Andrews is hoping to educate and prepare residents to be able to grow their own vegetables in the Montgomery Community Garden which will be open on May 1st. The garden will be located on the corner of Broad Street and South Main Street behind the Post Office and the Montgomery Volunteer Fire Company Garage. Ground plots will be available, and there will also be a number of raised beds available so that people with limited mobility can take part as well. She is looking forward to opening the garden in hopes that it will breathe new life into the community and that it will bring camaraderie to local residents.

“Lots of people want to get back to a simpler way of life, wanting to know where their food is coming from and what’s in it,” Andrews said. Having the Community Garden will bring a lot of benefit to those who lack space to grow gardens in their own yards. In addition to the advantage of eating freshly grown produce, she added that being physically active with gardening work also helps to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Garden plots will be available to anyone who lives within the Montgomery Area School District at low cost. Community Garden applications can be printed off of the Montgomery Borough website (montgomeryborough.org/community-garden-project/) or paper forms may be picked up at the Montgomery Borough Office. Applications will be due on April 15th, and residents will be free to access their plots on May 1st. The plots will be pre-tilled and ready for planting.

Andrews next gardening workshop will be held in the Montgomery Borough Office on Monday, February 18th from 7-8 p.m. She will briefly review her prior information on seed starting and then discuss companion planting so that residents can plan how they should lay out their garden plot. Information presented will include tips on what types of plants can repel insects and how certain plants can help other plants grow.