It’s never too early to plan ahead for the best community garden ever, and with that in mind the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to invite educators, civic group leaders and other aspiring community gardeners to the third annual “Get Your Youth and Community Garden Growing” workshop on Saturday, February 28.

Presented by experts with the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County, the workshop will take place at the County’s Trailside Nature and Science Center, 452 New Providence Road in Mountainside. Pre-registration is required by February 20. Continuing Education Unit credits are available.

“Now more than ever, we want to help the next generation of Union County residents grow up with a hands-on appreciation for the connection between our health and the earth, air, and water that supports us,” said Freeholder Chairman Mohamed Jalloh. “I encourage you to come to the workshop and get all the information you need to get started.”

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Attendees can choose from sessions covering the fundamentals of growing a successful produce garden, such as how to pick a good site and how to keep pests out.

Other sessions cover integrating garden activities into health and nutrition lesson plans for youngsters in grades pre-K to 4, and for youth in grades 5, 6 and up.

Also included are two very popular specialty topics, how to grow strawberries and how to garden-in-a-hurry with containers.

“Strawberries are a popular school project because the fruits can mature while the school year is still in session, and container gardening is an easy, space-saving solution when you don’t have much room to work with,” said Jalloh. “Let our Extension experts show you some of the amazing things you can do with a few plastic buckets and a few minutes.” 

The fee for “Get Your Youth and Community Garden Growing” is $25.00, which includes lunch and all materials. More details and a registration form are available at the Union County website, ucnj.org.

To register online visit tinyurl.com/schoolgardenconference by February 20. Registrations are also accepted by mail. To request a brochure and registration form by mail, call the Extension office in Westfield at 908-654-9854.

The Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County is a program of the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. Supported in part by the Freeholder Board, it is part of a national network organized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to foster youth development and community health. For more information on 4-H, Master Gardeners, Master Tree Stewards, and many other programs in Union County, visit ucnj.org/rce.

Please join the County of Union online at ucnj.org, on Facebook at ucnj.org/facebook, and on Twitter at twitter.com/countyofunionnj.