LITTLE SILVER TO OPEN COMMUNITY GARDEN

ls garden 051315 1Little Silver gets down and dirty Saturday with the opening of its community garden, located on Harrison Avenue behind the Parker Homestead on the approach to Sickle’s Market. With a ribbon cutting ceremony scheduled for 10 a.m., the borough joins neighboring towns of Fair Haven, Red Bank and Shrewsbury as a place with a centralized growing spot for its residents.

Plot holders are charged $50 for the season, and four ADA-compliant plots were still available earlier this week. For more information, email littlesilvercommunitygardens [at] gmail.com. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

FAIR HAVEN: FOR GARDENERS, 2014 IS A WRAP

101714 raevisThe  front walkway at the Raevis house in Fair Haven is decorated with pumpkins grown in the community garden. Below, a bountiful harvest of pumpkins grown on a double plot in the garden. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

091314 fhgardenEven with this second coming of lettuce and spinach, rules must be obeyed, and all forms of inner fencing, weed-control sheeting, rakes, spades, hoses and whirligigs are to be removed from the Fair Haven Community Garden by this weekend, closing out another season.

Opinions on how the season went had a lot to do with what was planted and where. The sunnier plots nearest Ridge Road seemed to have a better tomato crop, while the cruciferous vegetables did better in the shadier back areas.
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FAIR HAVEN: GARDENERS SHARE HARVEST

071214 FH garden SkoeMaster gardener Cindy Skoe in the Fair Haven Community Garden. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

070614 FH garden signAmong the plots in Fair Haven’s community garden is an area with two small signs. One reads “UMW,” and  the other declares that Master Gardeners worked here.

The UMW stands for United Methodist Women, from United Methodist Church on Broad Street in Red Bank. The master gardener is UMW member Cindy Skoe, who along with five other gardeners from the group, is growing vegetables with the intent of sharing half the bounty with Lunch Break in Red Bank.

“They have a program on Tuesdays to drop off produce.” Skoe said, adding, “They are very excited to get whatever one can bring.”

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FAIR HAVEN: A GIANT SPIDER AND SOME RICE

062214 fh garden RaevisFair Haven resident Jim Raevis demonstrates his spider-like irrigation system in the community garden. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

062214 FH garden Raevis By far the strangest thing to sprout at the Fair Haven Community Garden this season is a plot-spanning, Rube Goldbergesque contraption that resembles a spider.

It’s an irrigation system built by Jim and Chris Raevis, a father-and-son team. Why?

“It is an effective way to conserve water” as they grow loofa gourds and white pumpkins, said the elder. “Oh – and a rice paddy.”

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FAIR HAVEN GARDEN: BLACK IS THE NEW GREEN

061514 community gdn WestonCarol Weston in the community garden, where black coverings in different materials can be found among the plants this year. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

053114 fh garden blackThe Fair Haven Community Garden is starting to look a bit like an airport runway.

The slick black blankets that cover swaths of the garden are actually a new-ish technology that several gardeners have chosen to make the backbreaking work of weed control a bit easier.

Some use polyethylene plastic mulch sheets. Others opt for biodegradable coconut fiber sheeting. Still others are experimenting with their own coverings.

Borough resident Carol Weston is trying a woven plastic fiber covering, hoping it will allow fewer weeds and keep the roots moist.

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FAIR HAVEN: GROWING, OLD SCHOOL

053114fhgardensmithLou Smith in the Fair Haven Community Garden. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

053114fhgardenwhirleygigIn the colorful, whirligig-friendly, anything-goes Fair Haven Community garden, the seeds have been sown and the plants are coming up., yielding a mesmerizing array of vegetables, and flowers.

The 33-year-old garden also features some familiar faces, not all of them human. A new deer fence is helping keep the garden from once again turning into a smorgasbord for the larger animals, but to the dismay of some, it does not keep out the woodchucks and the rabbits.

Lou Smith, who has been gardening here for the last five years, pointed to the chicken wire fencing surrounding his plot.

“What we need to do here is put this fencing all the way around the bottom of the garden to keep those woodchucks out,” he said, suggesting that everyone chip in and circle the entire deer fence. So far, though, his suggestion hasn’t gotten much traction among his fellow gardeners.

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KEEPING ‘COMMUNITY’ IN SHARED GARDENS

community gardenAfter 33 years, the Fair Haven Community Garden goes by tacit rules of etiquette. Others, though, have written rules.. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

Hey, it’s a jungle in there. Or life in the community garden can be, judging by the some of the gripes one hears, and the rules set down to address them, about shared, small-plot farming.

For example, that “gnome, whirl-a-gig or sculpture” you think will look cute on your plot? Please leave it home, along with bug lures and unattended watering mechanisms, according to the Shrewsbury Community Garden‘s rules on garden conduct and etiquette.

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RED BANK: GROWING COMMUNITY & VEGGIES

Red Bank’s Community Gardeners were in full bloom on Marion Street Sunday morning to kick off the garden’s second year. (Photos by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

 

 

 

PIEHOLE: BAGELS, BURGERS AND PERUVIAN

atlantic bagel 022514Why is a bagel sandwich so cheap here? Because they make bagels. They want you to eat bagels. (Photo by John T Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels medium

redbankgreen’s PieHole is all about local food and drink. If you haven’t liked us on Facebook yet or followed us on Twitter, you may have missed some of these recent stories…

 

 

RED BANK: GETTING ORGANIC AT LIBRARY

organicWith snow in the forecast, it’ll still be a while before we’re getting our hands dirty. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels mediumSure, your beds may still have some snow cover. But that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start planning this summer’s garden.

The Red Bank Community Garden is kicking off the the growing season with a presentation by Master Gardener Carolyn Heuser, who will speak on “Vegetable Gardening with an Organic Twist” at Red Bank Public Library.

The event is Wednesday at 7 p.m. and is open to the public.

Clarification: This event is next Wednesday, March 5th.  

 

PIEHOLE: CHEESE SCHOOL IS NOW IN SESSION

Caitlin O’NeillReady for cheese school? Read all about it in PieHole. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

PIEHOLE logoredbankgreen’s PieHole is all about local food and drink. If you haven’t liked us on Facebook yet or followed us on Twitter, you may have missed some of these recent stories…

 

IN RED BANK’S GARDEN, A GARDENER BLOOMS

Rookie gardener Deb Jellenik shows off her harvest Wednesday morning. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

With backyard gardens around the Green yielding their early-August bounties, redbankgreen stopped by the Red Bank Community Garden to see how its first-year harvest is going. We found Deb Jellenik picking tomatoes and spoke with her about her experience thus far.

“I was a latecomer to the community garden,” says Jellenik, who was one of the last people to reserve a plot at the narrow, borough-owned parcel on Marion Street. But she’d been walking past the garden almost everyday, watching the plots take shape, when her desire for fresh tomatoes for making sauce spurred her to act.

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SHREWSBURY: LETTUCE EAT

The mouthwatering Jersey tomatoes may still be a couple of months away, but tillers at the Shrewsbury Community Garden adjoining borough hall are harvesting tender lettuce, garden committee member Della Benevides tells redbankgreen. The garden, now in its second season, features a raised-bed garden to give a wheelchair user access. (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: GARDENERS FINALLY DIG IN

Members of Junior Girl Scout Troop 1556 working the soil on the first day of planting Saturday. Below, Linda Mulhausen stakes a plot. (Photo by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

From the intricacies of composting – weeds in or out? – and soil amendments to the development of a satisfactory water plan, the Red Bank Community Garden has finally come into being. And there’s still room for more gardeners.

After political battling last year over where to site the garden, gardeners got oriented last Tuesday night, meeting with RBCG committee members and several local experts who have been part of the two-and-a-half-year process of establishing the facility.

On Saturday, under bright spring skies, the urban farmers tilled soil for the first time.

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IN SHREWSBURY, CULTIVATING COMMUNITY

Della Benevides stakes a tomato plant in one of the “Plant a Row” plots designated for the needy. Below, a hot chili pepper. (Photos by Danielle Tepper. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Fair Haven’s had one for decades. Tinton Falls has had one since 2009, and Red Bank, after much baring of teeth, appears about to finally get one.

Community gardens have become widespread as places where neighbors can kneel side-by side in the dirt and cultivate homegrown veggies together. Now, Shrewsbury has joined  the trend with a month-old mini-farm that is already yielding eggplant, peppers and more.

“This was our whole point, that it improves the quality of life in the community,” said Maureen Collins, President of the Shrewsbury Garden Club.

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GARDENERS ADVISED TO MAKE NICE

Concerns expressed by the proposed garden site’s neighbors must be addressed before any planting can occur, town officials said. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank officials told proponents of a community garden Wednesday that they need to satisfy the concerns of two adjoining neighbors before they can get an all-clear to farm a borough-owned lot on Marion Street.

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RED BANK GARDEN PLAN NEEDS WATERING

A narrow borough-owned lot with a disused pumping station on it needs water access before it can be transformed into a community garden, town officials say. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The battle over a proposed Red Bank community garden abated Wednesday night when its main proponent appeared to accept to an offer of a vacant East Side lot as its location.

Now, it’s just a matter of finding water.

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PITCHFORKS OUT OVER COMMUNITY GARDEN

With organizer Cindy Burnham holding up a photo, Annie Jones argues for allowing residents to garden a 900-square-foot strip of borough property at Maple Cove. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Community garden proponents assailed the Red Bank council Wednesday night for what they termed its “because-I-said-so” opposition to the creation of a farm plot at a borough-owned Navesink River site.

Revisiting the council’s 2011 rejection of a proposal for a pilot garden behind the borough library parking lot on West Front Street, residents challenged elected officials to articulate their opposition to the plan, and left as frustrated as they were going in.

“What we have a hard time understanding is that we haven’t really heard a good reason why not,” Locust Avenue’s Kathleen Gasenica told the governing body.

“It’s very simple,” replied borough Administrator Stanley Sickels. “The council doesn’t share your vision for a garden there.”

“That doesn’t really answer the question,” Gasenica said.

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ON THE AGENDA: PITCHFORKS, TURF & MORE

Proponents of a Red Bank community garden try for another bite of the apple with their request to farm a portion of the public library property, above. (Click to enlarge)

The agenda for the bimonthly meeting of Red Bank’s council Wednesday night is a busy one.

On the docket:

• Red Bank RiverCenter comes in for approval of its annual budget. No details have yet been provided. Last year’s spending plan, like the two that preceded it, totaled $512,000. The business promotion agency, which manages the borough’s state-chartered Special Improvement District, is funded by a surtax on commercial properties within a defined zone and gets no money from borough coffers.

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COUNCIL STILL DUG IN AGAINST GARDEN SPOT

cg-sickelsCommunity garden proponents talk to borough Administrator Stanley Sickels about their proposal after Wednesday night’s council meeting. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The borough council Wednesday night unanimously adopted a resolution supporting a community garden in Red Bank.

Great, some said.

But when it came down to where the council might allow that garden to sprout, the council maintained a hard position that while it supports a community garden, it doesn’t support one where a group at least 40 strong want it: at a piece of borough property next to the library.

The clash between impassioned members of a community garden group and the council continued Wednesday night, without agreement, and none in sight, on its location.

It was more like a talking-to than a talking-with, as the council offered little feedback to a long line of speakers serving up suggestions, implicating political motives and asking questions that they feel still haven’t been answered.

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COUNCIL DIGS IN AGAINST PROPOSED GARDEN

rbpl-garden-siteAdvocates are pushing the council to allow a community garden on borough-owned property to the right of the library, above. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The green thumbs had their rakes and hoes out in force Wednesday night.

An already lengthy Red Bank council meeting carried on about 45 minutes more as elected officials and proponents of a community garden clashed on the proposed location for the first of what the group hopes will to be up to four community-tended gardens throughout town.

Advocates want the start-up site at borough-owned property adjoining the public library site. But officials say it’s the last available piece of public land on the Navesink River, and don’t want to exclude people by turning it into an area of specific interest.

And so a back-and-forth that started in March continued Wednesday, with still no place to plant a seed decided upon.

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LOCATION AN ISSUE FOR COMMUNITY GARDEN

sharon-lee-031611Councilwoman Sharon Lee details her objections to a request to create a community garden at the Red Bank Public Library. (Click to enlarge)

A push for the creation of a community garden at the Red Bank Public Library ran into some mud Wednesday.

Big question: whether that’s the best place for it.

Smaller question: how much will it cost to install a dedicated water line, and who will pick up the tab in these cash-starved times?

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COMMUNITY GARDEN GETS IFFY SEEDING

rbpl-maple-coveA community garden is proposed next to Maple Cove, but officials say they need to do their homework before giving it an OK. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

With the long debate over the preservation of Maple Cove echoing in the room, the Red Bank council last night parried with activist Cindy Burnham Monday night over a proposed community garden at the riverside public library.

Once again, elected officials claimed to have been caught off-guard.

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