Lecture set on raised bed gardens

HUNTINGTON-With spring’s arrival, it will soon be time for gardeners to get their hands dirty – in the rich soil that surrounds their homes. For Adrianne Kunz, who moved into town last fall, she is eager to begin planting herbs and perennials the entire length of her house.

“I’m so excited,” said Kunz, noting last fall she cleaned out the garden area and has been planning her strategy over the winter months.

Learn the techniques of raised beds next month at Stanton Hall in Huntington. (Submitted photo)

Kunz, the nursery manager at Kelly’s Home and Garden in Westfield, also was an assistant grower for 15 years at Bartlett’s Ocean View Farm in Nantucket. While the hill town soils and conditions differ from the isolated island, she is eager to share her knowledge of both regions with area residents on April 6 at Stanton Hall, 26 Russell Road.

Her 10 a.m. lecture, titled “Raised Bed Gardening,” is sponsored by the Huntington Council on Aging, and is open to all ages. A question-and-answer period will follow the 60-minute event.

Kunz encourages parents to consider bringing their children to the lecture which will cover a wide variety of topics from soil types, fertilizers, watering recommendations and crop rotation to pest, weed and disease control.

“Knowing how food is grown and where it comes from is very important,” said Kunz. “Having children work with you in the garden and seeing their hard work flourish is very rewarding for children.”

Since raised beds have become a popular alternative to a regular garden, Kunz will discuss the benefits and how to create one to meet one’s needs.

“Most of the diseases you will face in a raised bed would be fungal,” said Kunz, noting any issue can be easily avoided by proper spacing and cleaning.

Kunz said that spacing is important to insure that plants have enough room to produce a mature crop.

“Planting too many plants in a limited area will weaken the plant as they are fighting for space, the nutrients and water in the soil,” she said.

Kunz said her lecture will focus on planting edibles, however, she will also touch on trees and bushes.

To ensure that one’s plants will thrive, Kunz will review the varieties of soils available, ranging from compost and organic vs. non-organic, to soils with and without fertilizers.

“There are many soil companies and varieties of soil out there,” said Kunz, adding, “knowing which one is best suited for your needs is important.”

Kunz acknowledged that fertilizing plants is a “necessity for healthy plants.”

During the lecture Kunz will also review the various “pests” that gardeners can expect to encounter and how to deal with them.

“Pests can include moles, voles, chipmunks and birds, as well as insects such as beetles, caterpillars and slugs,” she said.

While any garden – in the earth or in a raised bed – can require a lot of attention during the growing season, Kunz is hopeful that area residents will consider a garden that is appropriate in size for one’s needs.

“Area residents should grow their own fruits and vegetables because it is a healthier alternative,” said Kunz, adding, “you know exactly what is used in growing and it is satisfying to grow your own produce.”

For persons interested in attending the free lecture, call (413) 512-5205 by April 3 to reserve a seat.

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