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.
091314 fhgardenloofahsChris Raevis holds the only two loofa gourds that grew this summer in his garden. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

“We had more than 30 pumpkins this year,” Chris Raevis said of the bounty reaped from the double plot he planted with his father, Jim. “They took over the whole garden and choked out the rice paddy.” (Click here for more about the Raevis’ rice paddy and unusual garden setup.)

The pumpkins, which came in what Raevis called “a nice shade of pink,” were shared with neighbors and used to decorate the front yard of the Raevis house in Fair Haven.

It was also a good year for tomatoes and basil, one of the gardeners said, though Judy Fuller, a longtime community gardener, said her basil didn’t grow at all.

The larger plots of vegetables closest to Ridge Road were bedeviled by woodchucks digging their way under the expensive new fencing that surrounds the gardens. Chickenwire was added to the fence to help alleviate that problem. Baby rabbits were also seen munching on the greens in many of the gardens, but the deer were kept out and that, to most, was worth the extra cost of a plot.

Sign-up for the 2015 season, traditionally at the end of March, will be announced in Focus on Fair Haven, the borough newsletter. All Monmouth County residents are welcome on a first-come basis.