Planting and harvesting the bounty of the food pantry garden at St. Mark’s Church in Westhampton Beach makes E. Ashley McLean proud. This year Ashley launched the garden that has been providing fresh produce for just under a hundred people who don’t have easy access to healthy food in her community.
Watching all plants flourish gives Ashley a thrill. One of her favorite gardening activities is selecting plants for specific locations and observing how they grow and thrive.
She developed an early interest in gardening from her grandparents on both sides of the family. She joined the Edible School Gardens of the East End while working with the Quogue Elementary School. Ashley, from Quogue, completed her Master Gardener training in 2020.
In completing her training, Ashley says she’s learned to take risks as it’s “all educational” and you learn from those mistakes. She adds that she has become braver in her own home garden by quadrupling its size and incorporating new crops and various techniques that she wouldn’t have tried before Master Gardener Training.