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Let's talk manure, 100 square feet of it
MEXICO- Now that I have your attention, won't you join me and many others in our communities in making a plan for how you can cut down on your grocery bill, increase your health and teach your family how to become more self-sufficient, all while helping feed local hungry families.
Last week 20-plus participants attended the first of a two class instructional on how to plant a 100-square-foot garden, offered through Region 9 Adult Education and taught by master gardener Sandra Witas of River Valley Healthy Communities Coalition and extension educator Barbara Murphy of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Oxford County.
Each year, you may have noticed volunteers out in the garden next to Hosmer Field Complex watering, weeding and harvesting the fruits of their labor. That Harvest for Hunger garden is part of a state-wide initiative to help teach families how to plant and successfully harvest their crops. The hope is to reduce dependency on aid, feed local families who may not be able to provide sufficient means of nourishment due to loss of employment or disability and enforce a self-reliant community.
One of the first questions you may be asking yourself is how can you help feed hungry families. In the first 15 minutes of this class we all learned that most people bite off a little more than they can chew when planting a garden.
Did you know that you can feed a family of four by planting just one tomato plant? If cared for correctly, that one plant will reap 30 – 50 pounds of fruit before the end of harvest. How many of you plant all six plants that come in the container that you purchased at your greenhouse? What do you do with the extras?
Witas and Murphy are just a phone call or email away to help you find homes for all that extra fruit you don't know what to do with each year. And, with their instruction and guidance, there are more than 20 citizens in our surrounding communities that will have a successful harvest this year.
For more information on planning or planting a garden visit, www.umaine.edu.
The above link will help you learn how to donate the extra or unwanted produce you harvest to area agencies who are in need or if you would like to volunteer your time in helping maintain one of the many gardens in Oxford County.
Local businesses are also welcome to help by donating things like eggs, breads, and of course monetary donations are always welcome.
As you begin the process of starting your own garden or helping with someone else's, you may consider keeping a journal of your progress from start to finish to allow a look back next year of how you did things.
I would enjoy hearing from you with your tips, successes and anything you would like to share with other interested readers as the summer months carry you through your gardening experience. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like your garden experience featured.