Plant a Row for the Hungry!
|“Plant a Row for the
Hungry” is a national, people-helping -people campaign unveiled by the GardenWriters
Association (GWA). Not since the Victory Gardens of World War II has such a
nation -wide emphasis been placed on gardening in North America The GWAA’s 1,300 members
are professional garden communicators including
newspaper columnists, magazine writers, photographers, radio and TV hosts, book authors, PR people, and others who convey information on gardening in America and Canada.
GWA communicators reach over 100,000 million gardeners in North America so it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the impact they will have on the hunger problem.
The program is surprisingly simple: garden communicators via print, radio and TV are mounting a campaign calling on every person who plants a vegetable garden this spring to add an extra row for the neighbourhood food banks, church soup kitchens, and homeless shelters
Most gardeners harvest more than they can consume. The “Plant a Row” program asks that North America’s 78 million gardeners plant an extra row of vegetables for contribution to local organizations that distribute food.
Here is what gardeners can do to ensure the success of Plant a Row for the Hungry in their own communities:
Whether your vegetable garden is large or small, you can contribute. I f you usually put in four tomato plants , plant eight instead. If you plant a window box full of herbs, plant two. (Fresh herbs improve the flavour of most anything and contain valuable minerals.) If you have a very small garden , double its productivity by planting more closely, and by intercropping.
Some produce travels and keeps especially well. Kitchens processing food for hundreds every day usually have limited storage space. Plant extras that withstand handling-broccoli, cabbage, carrots, peas, green beans, tomatoes, sweet peppers,
eggplants, summer squash (including zucchini), winter squash, onions and beets. Clean the produce thoroughly before you take it to the organization that distributes food..
Fruit trees provide a wealth of good eating. Apples, pears, and firm peaches and plums are good bets.
Here’s what you can do right now to increase your harvest and have surplus to give.
Wait-and harvest more. Let your crops go - and grow! Pick four-inch bean babies for your own table, and let a give-away portion of the crop mature to seven and eight inches. Too many tomatoes is what happens when you let plants sucker; they’ll slow the crop a bit but yield lots later. You’ll have loads of extra cucumbers, zucchini and
squash if you allow the plants to mature to 10-inch vegetables instead of harvesting four or five
inchers. Don’t allow fruit to rot on the ground; bag it and take it where it will do some good!
To sustain the extra growth, scratch a little compost, or fertilizer, into the soil beside the plants designated for increased yields and Plant a Row giving.
To have produce to give later, start seeds of the cool-weather vegetables later. Some of these have time to mature--the lettuces including
mache, arugula, and mescun mixes; radishes, as well as carrots, parsnips, turnips and the cabbage group including kale and broccoli.
A few apples, a sack of tomatoes, or a handful of cucumbers may not seem like much, but when the gardeners in a community get going they can deliver big time!