MASSENA — Eight raised garden beds that have been built at the Massena Neighborhood Center will allow them to provide their clients with fresh veggies straight from the garden.

Among the vegetables that will be sprouting from the gardens are carrots, lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and beans. Existing small flower beds were also converted to a small garden to grow assorted herbs.

Massena Neighborhood Center Director Emily LaShomb said there was an existing garden behind the Massena Community Center, where the Massena Neighborhood Center has its offices. But it hadn’t been very successful in growing items for the last couple of years.

“I didn’t feel it worked very well. The soil is like clay,” she said.

She said they’ve been planning for a new garden for about two years.

“It’s a big undertaking,” she said.

Now that the raised beds are built, the results should be better.

“We have weed blockers on the bottom to prevent the weeds from popping up,” Ms. LaShomb said.

It will also require less maintenance than the other garden.

“We really don’t have many volunteers here to tend to it,” she said.

Volunteers, including students from Horizons, spent one recent morning building the boxes, and planted vegetables in the afternoon. Volunteers were able to write their names on the boxes.

Ms. LaShomb said donations covered the cost for wood to build the eight boxes, soil and some mulch.

“Triple A Lumber of Massena, Home Depot and JC Merrimans donated the wood to complete the project, along with Triple A donating 5 pounds of screws,” she said. “North Raquette Greenery donated most of the plants and seeds we needed, and what we could not get from them, we had at the center donated from GardenShare.”

Subway and Jreck Subs donated platters of subs for the volunteers’ lunches, Dunkin’ Donuts provided coffee and Tim Horton’s provided coffee and donuts.

With the vegetables planted, the Neighborhood Center can expect to see some results of their labor in the coming months. For instance, most lettuce varieties mature in 45 to 55 days, while carrots are ready to harvest about 75 days after planting and tomatoes can be picked within 80 days of planting. The items will become part of the monthly distribution to clients.

“We hope to yield more produce for the clients/families we serve, and the soil will make the plants easier to tend as the soil in the original plot is like clay,” Ms. LaShomb said.

The effort wouldn’t have become a reality, however, without lots of helping hands.

“It really was a joint and combined effort of the community, and we are very grateful for all the generous donations to be able to provide the community we serve with fresh produce,” she said.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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