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


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.

“I come to the garden in the early hours and work before it gets too hot,” the 79-year-old Red Bank resident said. “I love the quiet in the morning, and I love to do this the old-fashioned way. I been doing this since I was six years old at my daddy’s knees.”

Smith is growing “collards, cabbage, eggplant, and green beans – the bush beans, not the pole beans, because they require too much work,” he said. Unlike many of the other garden plots, all you could see in Smith’s are plants. No special watering devices, whirligigs, or gnomes.

We will return to the garden next week to see how the other gardeners are faring. Some appear to be experiments in the making, while others have taken on an otherworldly look.