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The Master Gardener’s Raised Row Pantry Garden Project – Giving At Its Best!

We were both excited and flattered this past spring when Lori Swihart, Program Coordinator for the Licking County Master Gardener Volunteers group, contacted us to tell us of their group’s plan to create a Pantry Garden using our Raised Row Gardening method.

Especially when we discovered that all of the produce was to be donated to the local Salvation Army Food Pantry.

The Licking County Master Gardener Volunteers members and interns work together to plant their Raised Row Pantry Garden this past spring.

Talk about a great way to garden and give back to the community!

But that is something the Licking County Master Gardeners have been doing for years.

The Licking County Master Gardener Volunteers

Over the last few years, we have had the pleasure of getting to befriend our local Master Gardeners Volunteers group.

They first asked us to speak on our simple Raised Row Gardening method back at their Four Seasons of Gardening Conference in 2016. And ever since, we have come to know them as both an amazing group of talented and giving gardeners.

The Master Gardener Volunteers Learning Garden, which includes this year’s pantry garden. It is truly a hidden gem in the Licking County area.

So when Lori told us about their plan to create a Raised Row Pantry Garden, we were truly honored.

And today, we wanted to highlight their efforts this past year for creating what turned out to be an incredible garden!

In fact, we hope that with it’s success, it can help serve as a blueprint for other community and pantry gardens who are looking for a way to provide fresh food for their pantries.

Raised Row Pantry Garden
The 2019 Master Gardener Volunteer’s Pantry Garden. Love the companion planting of marigolds in front of each row for help with pests!

You simply can’t get any more fresh that fresh vegetables from a garden!

The 2019 Master Gardener’s Raised Row Pantry Garden Project

The Raised Row Pantry Garden was created as a class project for the 2019 Master Gardeners Intern class.

raised row garden pantry class
The Licking County Master Gardener Volunteers Intern class took a field trip out to the farm in the early spring for a little hands on Q & A in our Raised Row Garden. As you can tell from the photo, we had a lot of fun that day!

The interns were required to spend at least 20 volunteer hours in the pantry garden All as part of 50 total volunteer hours they need to become certified members after their classes conclude.

Using our Raised Row Gardening book as a guide, the class, along with their mentors, created their Raised Row garden from scratch. See: Raised Row Gardening

raised row pantry garden
Check out this Raised Row Garden set-up! I have to say, after seeing it, Mary and I wanted them to come out and create more rows for us too! 🙂

As part of the process, the intern class even took a field trip out to Old World Garden Farms back in early spring.

It was so incredibly special for us to meet all of the interns and mentors. And of course, to talk Raised Row Gardening!

The Results Of The Raised Row Pantry Garden

So how well did their Raised Row Pantry Garden do? Well, the results speak for themselves!

The Licking County Pantry Garden finished out by growing a whopping 2650 pounds of produce! Produce that was then donated to the Salvation Army cooks and food pantry for the good of the community.

raised row pantry garden
When we visited the garden in mid-July, the garden had already donated over 450 pounds of produce. We loved their sign that updated the totals with each harvest!

That is truly an incredible total when you think the garden was nothing more than a patch of grass back in the spring!

When we visited the garden in mid-July as part of their open house, it was so wonderful to see all of their hard work come to fruition.

The garden looked so beautiful. And obviously, so productive as well!

This photo shows it all! One of the harvest’s from the pantry garden being delivered to the Salvation Army’s kitchen.

We couldn’t be more proud to tell their story today. What an amazing, talented and fun group of gardeners!

Obviously, a project like this just doesn’t materialize without some amazing volunteers.

A Shout Out To The Volunteers..

Lori Swihart, the program coordinator for the group, passed along the volunteer info below. We wanted to take a moment to give these amazing folks a little recognition for creating such a great pantry garden!

From a patch of grass to a beautiful raised row garden ready to be planted!

A Big Thank You To The Volunteers…

  • Before the garden project started, Mentor members Cheryl Campbell and Bridget Harris met with the head cook at the Salvation Army to get an idea of what was needed and used most for the kitchens menus.
  • With that list in hand, they then purchased the seeds for the project. Next, the intern class created seed tapes from the seeds for planting some crops. Other crops were also raised as transplants in a greenhouse.
  • Jane Onspaugh, an intern and now a Certified Member, took the lead in the project with communication, creating and planting with the interns.
  • Jim Rengert and Don Grube were responsible for attaining a grant through Energy Co-op. It helped to pay for a waterline and fencing material for the garden. They also worked to get approval for the expansion from the Country Commissioners.
  • Jim and Don even worked to put up a new fence around the garden to protect from deer and groundhogs. In addition, they also created a “template” for the raised rows and oversaw the purchase and delivery of mulch and straw.
  • Bridget Harris and husband provided the heavy equipment needed for digging. They dug out established viburnums to replant along the new fence row of the Pantry Garden

Congrats LCMGV!

Speaking of Lori, we are so thankful for all of her efforts. And of course, for including us in the Licking County Master Gardener Volunteers project.

It took a lot of volunteers to create the garden from scratch!

Congrats Licking County Master Gardener Volunteers on an incredible Raised Row Pantry Garden! Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary.

Jim and Mary Competti have been writing gardening, DIY and recipe articles and books for over 15 years from their 46 acre Ohio farm. The two are frequent speakers on all things gardening and love to travel in their spare time.

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