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)


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.

“I planted 24 tomato plants,” she told PieHole. ” All kinds – red, yellow, green zebra – and I hope to have a good crop so that I can bring some over to the Red Bank Senior Center this summer.

“What can be better for a sense of accomplishment?” she asked. “You plant a seed and that is all you need to do. God and nature take care of the rest.”

But no matter what gardeners lay down, “it will all have to come up at the end of the season,” said Duncan Jay, a longtime gardener. “The plow can’t take it. It gets caught up and wrecks the blades.”

Can Mother Nature be tricked into earlier productivity? We will keep an eye on the gardens to see. There are plenty of plots growing vegetables the old fashioned way, so it is a contest in the making to see whose garden yields the most with the least amount of weeds.