UNION COUNTY, NJ -- The Rutgers Master Gardeners of Union County are on a mission to help gardens flourish all over the County, and this summer they are offering a free Vegetable Garden Series of classes and garden tours available to all gardeners from beginner to expert.

The series is held in the Union County Demonstration Garden, located in Union County’s Watchung Reservation by the Trailside Nature and Science Center in Mountainside.

“The Master Gardeners are one of the most active volunteer organizations in Union County, and they have touched the lives of many residents with their willingness to share their expertise and time,” said Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen. “The Freeholder Board is very proud to support their efforts.”

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The first class and tour of the Vegetable Gardening Series will be on Thursday, June 22 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. The program includes a class titled “Starting a Vegetable Garden” along with a tour of the Sharing Garden beds at the Demonstration Garden.

The Sharing Garden features 24 raised beds of vegetables commonly grown in home yards and community gardens.  All produce from the garden is donated to local food pantries. The class will cover site selection, planting tips, maintenance and budgeting aimed at smoothing the path to a successful vegetable garden.

Other topics and dates in the series are:

  • Tuesday, July 25: Keeping Pests Out of the Garden -- Insect and Disease Management
  • Wednesday, August 9: Harvesting and Food Safety in the Vegetable Garden
  • Thursday, September 7: Keys to Successful Composting

All programs include a tour of the Sharing Garden that relates to the topic of the evening’s class. The program is free but pre-registration is required at tinyurl.com/Rutgers-Vegetable-Series.

Free parking is available in the Trailside Nature and Science Center parking lot, located at 452 New Providence Road in Mountainside. 

For more information about the Vegetable Garden Series, or to find out how to join the Master Gardeners, call 908-654-9854, option 4. For more details about the Demonstration Garden and other Master Gardeners program visit mastergardeners-uc.org. Links to Master Tree Stewards, 4-H youth clubs and all other Extension programs are available at ucnj.org/rce.

For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.