CONTACT: Sebastian D’Elia, 908-527-4419
Tina Casey, 908-527-4346




Elizabeth, NJ – If you are hoping to cut your grocery bills by growing vegetables this summer, the Union County Master Gardeners can help you increase your chances of a bountiful harvest.

“A little advance planning will help you save money and get the biggest bang for your buck, while cutting down on harsh chemicals in your garden,” said Union County Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella.

The Master Gardeners are expert volunteers dedicated to sharing their knowledge with the community.  They are trained and certified by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County, and supported by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

As part of their mission, the Master Gardeners run a thriving vegetable garden that yields hundreds of pounds of fresh produce every season.  They donate the harvest to community food banks and senior centers.

The Master Gardeners also staff a free community helpline, Monday through Friday, 9:00 – 3:00 p.m., at 908-654-9852.  Email inquiries are also welcome at  Union County residents can ask anything about gardening, including:

Soil: Good soil makes all the difference between success and failure.  The Master Gardeners can explain how to use a convenient mail-in soil test kit.  Samples are analyzed in a Rutgers University lab, and you will receive a report on how to improve your soil.  A modest fee of $15 covers lab costs.

Water:  If a dry spell hits, you can protect your garden without racking up huge water bills.  The Master Gardeners can advise you on water-saving measures like mulching, using a rain barrel, and using soaker hoses.  

Garden Pests:  The Master Gardeners can help you choose disease-resistant plants, and advise you on safe ways to deal with weeds, insects and animal pests.

The Master Gardeners demonstration garden complex is open to the public whenever members of the organization are on site.  It is located behind Union County’s Trailside Museum in the Watchung Reservation, in Mountainside.

The complex includes an educational herb garden and a flower cutting garden.  The flowers are donated to cancer patients and their families.

For more budget-friendly tips on reducing harsh chemicals around the home, visit