RED BANK: ECOTOUR FEATURES GREEN IDEAS

092714 ecowalk5Michael Paul Raspanti in his garden. Below, Judy Marlow’s clothes dryer was good for laughs. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

092714 ecowalk7Energy efficiency, organic gardening and rain barrels were the talk of the town on Red Bank’s Green Home Tour Saturday, but composting was the star.

Every home on the four-mile, walkable tour practiced some form of composting, though each with a different method.  Michael Paul Raspanti has a unique underground compost area in his yard on Brown Place, for example, while Lou Di Mento of Alston Court uses an Earth Machine system for his.

092714 ecowalk1Lou Di Mento explains his rainbarrel system to a group of eco tour enthusiasts. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

Most of the homes on the tour, organized by the borough Environmental Commission, touted pesticide-free organic gardens that grew both flowers and vegetables this summer. Plants that attract bees were also of concern at most of the stops, as honeybee populations were a topic of conversation as well.

On South Street, Judy Marlow discussed the electric battery-operated lawnmower and other equipment she uses to keep her 46-foot sidewalk garden neat and tidy. She also elicited laughs with the low tech sign on her “solar clothes dryer” laundry line.

Raspanti and his fiancée, Jaime Maddalena, enclosed their vegetable garden in chickenwire to keep out a family of groundhogs. The couple offered refreshments to those who made the trek either on foot or by car, as many of the other homes on the tour did.

Going high tech or low, the concept of the tour was to bring awareness of the simple methods and ideas that can be put into practice today. Solar power systems, were also an aspect highlighted by some of the homes on the tour, as well as at the United Methodist Church on Broad Street.