By William Park
A new community garden in Brighton Heights will provide fresh produce for the neighborhood this summer.
Volunteers from the Brighton Heights Citizens Federation planted the garden the first week of June as part of the city of Pittsburgh’s Edible Gardens Program.
Located at 3515 McClure Avenue, the garden will grow herbs and vegetables such as zucchinis, tomatoes and peppers.
Weekly harvests will distribute vegetables to volunteers based on the amount of time they volunteered that week. The harvest’s weight will also be reported to the city.
After providing many of the initial resources such as raised beds, vegetable seeds and mulch, the city will leave the care and maintenance of the garden largely in the hands of volunteers.
Community Garden Steward Adam Hnatkovich said that volunteers will help water and weed plants as well as remove garden pests. He estimated a need for six to 12 volunteers.
“It doesn’t require a whole lot of people. Obviously, the more people we have involved the better,” he said.
Whether the city will provide seeds and plants for next year’s growing season is currently unknown. However, Hnatkovich hopes “to keep the garden going as long as we can.”
He plans for his group to provide its own seeds in the case the city doesn’t.
If seeds are not provided next year, volunteers will grow a specific plant species in their homes and bring them to the garden next summer, result in a wider variety of plants and a larger harvest.
Though the garden’s primary purpose is to provide fresh produce, Hnatkovich said there is also an educational benefit.
“It’s a demonstration of what you can do in a small space in terms of producing large amounts of fresh, clean food,” he said.
The garden might also “encourage people to start small gardens in their backyard, where they maybe didn’t think they had the space to accomplish that.”
Those interested in volunteering can email Hnatkovich at firstname.lastname@example.org.