Township of Readington, Hunterdon County, New Jersey

Readington Community Garden Newsletter

Share the work, share the harvest! -- Since 2009.

March - April 2017, Web Version

The Readington Community Garden is a loosely organized collection of nice people who are interested in growing food and community.  You can 'belong' to the community garden any time of the year by just showing up, doing some work, and bringing home some good food.  There are no obligatory fees, timed work requirements, or forms to fill out.  Just stop by, grab a hoe/weed/vegetable, and strike up a conversation.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:   Hello! We're ready to start our 9th growing season!! We'll meet at the garden 10am on Sat 3/25 to get started. We reconnect with old friends, meet new friends, start spreading compost, clean up the garden, & prune the apple trees. See you there! All ages are welcome!

NEW MEMBERS WELCOME!   New members of all skill levels are welcome to join the garden at any time of the season, so continue to brag about our garden to friends and family.  Contact readingtongardens@yahoo.com to get on the weekly email list.  Any level of involvement is fine -- come every week, every few weeks, or just a few times a season.  Kids are VERY welcome! Kids LOVE the Garden!

Bring kids & teach them where food comes from. Work gloves and boots are a good idea. Notice the birds, trees, plants, soil organisms, and the clouds.  Meet someone new.  Get some fresh air.  Eat some good food! We have tools, but feel free to bring yours if you like. If you're not sure what needs to be done or how much veggies to take, ask one of the leaders or another gardener.

MEETING TIMES:  During the season (March 25 to October) the official meeting time is Saturdays, 10AM to noonish, but people are usually there earlier (9-ish) and sometimes later.  Some people come during the week, which is fine. If there is interest we can have a Thursday morning work group. If you’re interested in that this year, email Dan.  WE ALSO NEED VOLUNTEERS TO WATER THE GARDEN AND TO MOW THE GRASS PATHS BETWEEN THE ROWS DURING THE WEEK. It's all very loose, so come whenever you can & no worries if you can't make it.

GARDEN RULES:  There aren't many!  Share the work, share the harvest!  No attendance taken, no membership fee, no timed work requirements, no exact harvest shares, and no minimum attendance requirement.  Just show up whenever you can, do some work, and take home some food. Respect the soil, the plants, and the other gardeners. No herbicides, pesticides, or 'chemical' fertilizers. Have fun. Try not to step on the soil in the veggie rows.

NO FEES; NO DONATIONS REQUIRED! Sure, if you're feelin' wealthy, you can contribute for seed & supplies. $20 is the most common donation, but anything down to spare change is great! Finances are updated weekly in this email. Checks are fine, made out to 'Dan Allen'. My address is Dan Allen, 163 Stanton Rd, Flemington, NJ 08822.

WE'RE FAMOUS!  ...or at least recognized as having a community garden model that works pretty well. Here’s where you can check us out:

WHAT WE DID LAST YEAR:

  • Last year was another big success! -- Our eighth growing season!
  • The participation was robust and exceedingly pleasant-- anywhere from 20-50 happy people stopped by every week from late March to early October.  In fact, that's about the same attendance we've gotten for the entire seven-year lifetime of the community garden.  A good mix of long-timers, once-in-a-whilers, and first-timers.  And a good mix of ages too -- from retirees to toddlers!
  • The vegetables were abundant and delicious!  And the soil is getting healthier every year as we continue to add compost!
  • The garden was beautiful, again! There are few things more beautiful than a well-tended, healthy, abundantly-producing garden set in a beautiful green landscape! Ours to enjoy!

 WHAT WE CAN DO SATURDAY MARCH 25 AND THE NEXT FEW WEEKS:

  • Discuss what we would like to plant and make plans.
  • Spread compost on the rows with wheelbarrows and shovels. -- Early-spring compost spreading is the key to our continued bounty.  It keeps the soil healthy so the soil can keep the plants healthy -- without needing to resort to herbicides or pesticides!  It's a big job, but many hands make light work.  
  • Clean up the rows and remove any stray marking stakes.
  • Start planting the cool season veggies.
  • We can stand quietly in the garden and celebrate the beauty all around us!

NOT ON THE WEEKLY EMAIL LIST?  E-mail Dan at readingtongardens@yahoo.com.
You'll receive an updated newsletter every Thursday morning from March through October.

GARDEN MAP: Rows are constantly being replanted as produce is harvested but the following scheme is from mid-June of last year, to whet our appetites!

Starting from the uphill part of the garden:

Against upper fence:  Indian squash
Row 17:  Strawberries, Edamame
Row 16:  blackberry (1) / sun chokes / blueberry (3) / horseradish / rhubarb / blueberry (8)
Row 15:  sweet peppers / eggplant / zucchini / cucumbers
Row 14:  raspberries
Row 13:  asparagus
Row 12:  chives, lemon balm, & other herbs / strawberries
Row 11:  potatoes (banana fingerlings)
Row 10:  potatoes (banana fingerling, red norland)
Row 09: cabbage / lettuce / kale/ broccoli
Row 08: onions
Row 07:  snow peas / arugula / scallions / carrots / beets / chard / cilantro / carrots
Row 06:  tomatoes (white cherry, black cherry, brandywine, prune's purple, pink beauty)
Row 05:  potatoes (red norland) / onions
Row 04:  radicchio / radishes / turnips / peas / turnips / scallions / green beans / zucchini & squash
Row 03:  lettuce / cabbage / kale / yellow squash / zucchini / beets / radishes / chard
Row 02:  tomatoes (Sungold, cherry, Big Beef, Jet Star, Goldie, Great White, Italian heirloom,)
Row 01:  tomatoes (Ramapo, Green and Red Zebra, orange, other heirloom) / hot peppers
Row 0: lettuce / chard / squash / broccoli / cabbage / carrots / zucchini & squash / pole beans

Circles outside garden: butternut & delicata squash

Orchard: Chinese chestnut (6 trees), apple (5), pear (3), pie cherry (2), peach (2), English walnut (2), pecan (2), mulberry (2), grapes (5)

THE COMMUNITY GARDEN’S FINANCIAL INFORMATION
Carry-over Donations from 2016: $763.
New Purchases: $300 (seeds, potatoes and new strawberry plants)
Net Balance: $463.

OUR LINK AT THE READINGTON TWP
WEBSITE:   
www.readingtontwp.org/community-garden/  

Also see updates about us & other neat township stuff at the 'Friends of Green Readington' Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/GreenReadington 

THINGS WE NEED FOR THE GARDEN:  We can always use compostable wastes (ex: leaves, grass clippings, manure, etc.).  And we can always use more tools -- hoes, shovels, picks, wheelbarrows, etc.

WANT TO LEARN HOW TO GROW FOOD?  Come on by & chat up some experienced gardeners every Saturday at the garden!  Send away for Fedco's free catalog at http://www.fedcoseeds.com/, as well as Johnny's Seeds informative free catalog at http://www.johnnyseeds.com/.  Also check out these books:  Eliot Coleman's The New Organic Grower, Eric Toensmeier's Paradise Lot, Peter Bane's The Permaculture Handbook, Toby Hemenway's Gaia's Garden, Carol Deppe's The Resilient Gardener, and Mark Shepard's Restoration Agriculture.  See also Suzanne Ashworth's Seed to Seed, Nancy Bubel's Root Cellaring, Sandor Katz's The Art of Fermentation, and Samuel Thayer's excellent wild edible plant series, Forager's Harvest and Nature's Garden.  And certainly check out every book by Wendell Berry, Gene Logsdon, and Michael Pollan!

IT’S A PUBLIC PARK!  The community garden is part of Dobozynski Farm Park, a public, township-owned preserve. It contains one of the trailheads for over 15 miles of connected trails over and near Round Mountain, interesting old farm buildings, a pond, the Open Space Advisory Board’s tree nursery, the Recreation Department’s activity cottage and several Eagle scout constructed nature demonstration projects. A part time caretaker lives in the apartment attached to the large red barn and raises chickens and a friendly turkey. So despite looking a little like someone’s property IT”S YOUR PARK. As such, you're welcome to stop by any time during daylight hours to garden, hike on the trails, or just frolic.

DIRECTIONS TO GARDEN:

Google/MapQuest:  42 Woodschurch Rd, Flemington, NJ 08822.  Visual landmarks: big red barns next to road & big open fields.
 
From Flemington:  head north on 523 & go 0.9 miles past Schaefer Farm.  Turn left onto Woodschurch Rd.  Go 0.9 miles on Woodschurch Rd (note: do NOT turn left onto West Woodschurch).  Our driveway is on left (big red barns).

From Whitehouse:  Head South on 523.  Turn right onto 629 North (aka Stanton Rd).  Go 0.8 miles on 629 north.  Turn left onto Woodschurch Rd.  Go 0.9 miles on Woodschurch Rd.  Our driveway is on right (big red barns).

From Stanton General Store:  Head South on 629 (Stanton Rd, towards 523).  Go 0.5 miles on 629 south.  Turn right onto Woodschurch Rd.  Go 0.9 miles on Woodschurch Rd.  Our driveway is on right (big red barns).

From Deer Path Park & YMCA:  Turn right out of park/YMCA driveway onto West Woodschurch Rd.  Go 0.8 miles.  Turn left onto Woodschurch Rd.  Go 0.5 miles on Woodschurch Rd.  Our driveway is on left (big red barns.)