SHREWSBURY: GROWING COMMUNITY ROOTS

073114 Shrewsbury garden cukesEileen Olson and Carla Fiscella discuss the day’s bounty in the Shrewsbury Community Garden. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

073114 Shrewsbury garden adaIn its third year, the Shrewsbury Community Garden is a thriving example of team spirit. Inclusive to the point of having two raised beds that are ADA approved with ample room for a wheelchair, this garden is a modern model of neighborly spirit.

In addition to the 83 gardeners who presently share this Eden, there is a PAR – or plant-a-row – garden where extra plants are tended, with the produce donated to Lunch Break in Red Bank.

“It’s fun, because everyone does different things,” said Eileen Olson.

“I go to the pool and give away my produce to my neighbors,” Carla Fiscella added.

They were deep in discussion about the enormous size and bounty of Fiscella’s cucumbers this season.

073114 Shrewsbury garden collinsMaureen Collins shows off the Shrewsbury Garden Club’s pollinator and nature plants garden. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

There is a definite aesthetic to this garden.

“We wanted it to blend in with the look of a farm,” Maureen Collins said, while explaining that the local garden club plans a theme for its plot as a demonstration and teaching platform each year.

Keeping with the community spirit, the borough Department of Public Works tends a well-earned plot of its own.

“They excavated the property, set up the water lines and put in the ADA beds for the disabled,” Collins said.

Some plots are cared for by single gardeners, and some have entire families or neighbors tending them. The Presbyterian Church, Shrewsbury First Aid Squad and the Shrewsbury Fire Department each has its own  plot as well.

All of this sharing comes with a long list of rules though, including required volunteer work days, height restrictions for the plants and the expectation that everything grown stays in the footprint of the garden plot.

“There is a harvest fest in the fall. Everyone brings something made from their garden.” Collins said, adding this years festival will be on Sunday,  September 14.