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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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