Q&A with Melanie
2022 GROW & GIVE GARDEN ASSOCIATE
Meet Melanie. She’s the Garden Associate for Every Meal’s Grow & Give garden for the 2022 growing season. We had a Q&A session to learn more about her work in the garden and her interests.
Q: What inspired you to get involved with Every Meal?
A: I first got connected with Every Meal a few years ago when I had the opportunity to volunteer in several food packing events and got to learn more about child hunger. Then in 2021, I heard they were looking for interns to help in the Grow & Give Program, and I applied. I found great satisfaction in sharing my gardening experience and learning more about growing, harvesting, collecting, and distributing produce to support Every Meal’s mission. Being part of such an amazing group of staff and volunteers, I knew I wanted to be involved again during the 2022 growing season.
Q: How are you using your gardening skills?
A: I’m involved in all the different parts of the garden. Everything from planning, preparing, and planting to weeding, observing, and documenting. In deciding where to plant seeds, herbs, plants, and flowers, I thought through plant rotation from last year, companion planting, and succession planting for later in the season. I’ve been able to participate with energetic groups of staff and volunteers to help prepare the garden – adding wood chips around the raised beds, topping the raised beds with additional soil, and planting seedlings and seeds. Now that the plants and seeds are in… it’s a lot of weeding and waiting. We also take note of how the plants are doing to determine if insect control, disease management, water requirements, or pruning is necessary. And of course, I look forward to harvesting.
Q: What’s your favorite produce that you like to grow?
A: Picking one is a challenge! Should I base it on reliability (beans, rhubarb, swiss chard), the beautiful flowers (borage, eggplant, okra, squash), productivity (beans, potatoes, tomatoes), or flavor (herbs, garlic, onions)? What about the fun vining cucumbers or the feathery fennel? Hmmm… I’m going to pick beets based on the ease of growing, multiple uses, and rich source of nutrients. Beets can be harvested at any size. You can sneak a few out to thin out the bed, let them mature to a slightly larger size, or leave them in the ground for a late fall harvest. There are so many ways you can eat them – sautéing the greens, fermenting the greens and/or beets to make a tasty sandwich or soup, adding it to a bright summer salad with kale and feta cheese, baking a large pan to serve as a side dish, and making a late winter bowl of hearty borscht.
Want to get involved in our Grow & Give garden? Volunteer with planting, maintenance, and harvesting. Learn more and sign up here.