HomeNews TranscriptNews Transcript NewsCommunity garden will have rebirth March 15

Community garden will have rebirth March 15

By Clare Marie Celano

FREEHOLD – Individuals interested in growing their own vegetables now have the opportunity to do so by securing a plot of land at the Freehold Community Garden.

March 15 will mark the reopening of the Freehold Community Garden, Lloyd Street, which is sponsored by the Freehold Borough Recreation Committee.

A kickoff event for prospective gardeners, “Planting Your Spring Garden,” will be held at 7 p.m. March 10 at the Monmouth County Agricultural Building, 4000 Kozloski Road, Freehold Township, according to Ellen Simonetti, of Marlboro.

Simonetti is a Rutgers Master Gardener who has participated with the Freehold Community Garden since it debuted. She said the meeting will introduce newcomers to the community garden and welcome back returnees.

Simonetti is working with Rutgers Master Gardener Jeanne Patterson to coordinate the garden. Simonetti and her husband, Bob Mellert, who is also a Rutgers Master Gardener, have been working with Patterson in the Freehold Community Garden.

A 100-square-foot plot in the garden may be reserved for $25. Raised beds will be available for individuals who have difficulty bending. A raised bed is smaller and may be reserved for $15.

“Many people garden because they want to know what is on their vegetables, what has been sprayed on them, and they want to know their vegetables have not been treated with chemicals,” Simonetti said.

No synthetic materials, fertilizers or pesticides will be used in the community garden. Participants will follow standards established by the Organic Materials Review Institute, according to Simonetti.

The community garden was created in 2009 and will once again offer a Plant a Row (PAR) garden which will be tended to by master gardeners. All of the produce that is harvested from the PAR garden will be donated to the Freehold Area Open Door food pantry.

“This is an opportunity for people to enjoy the outdoors while growing food in the company of others who enjoy doing the same thing they do,” Simonetti said. “We form a community where gardeners look out for one another’s garden and help one another. At the end of the season we have a pot luck dinner where gardeners bring their spouses and children. They can bring what they have grown or something else. We work together all summer and then we get a chance to socialize …”

No tall plants such as corn or sunflowers may be grown in the community garden because they may shade another person’s garden and attract pests, according to Simonetti.

Spring crops include peas, spinach and lettuce. Summer crops include tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and basil. Fall crops include carrots and a repeat cycle of spring plants. Applications for a plot in the community garden are available at www.freeholdboroughnj.gov/ and at Borough Hall. For more information, call 732-462-1259. Patterson said anyone who is interested in attending the program on March 10 should RSVP at freeholdcommunitygarden@gmail.com

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