The Hopatcong Community Garden is a project that was initiated by the late Alice King in April of last year. Alice’s dream has come true with the help of her family and friends.
Rows of lettuces in one of the plots. Terry Bond tending her square foot garden.
What is a community garden?
A community garden is a plot of land that is gardened collectively by a group of people. Each gardener leases a plot on the land and tends to it. What they bring in and grow is theirs to enjoy, consume or share with others. Many gardeners grow vegetables, some flowers and some gardeners will plant both.
Wendy Ciardi of the Hopatcong Pound Project in her flower garden
Gardener Terry Bond and President of the Hopatcong Community Garden, Jennifer Barone
Jennifer Barone, president of the Hopatcong Community Garden, said ”It’s been such an amazing adventure so far.” The first informational meeting at the Hopatcong Municipal building was standing room only. The location off of Bell Avenue on “Alice King Way” was leveled off, filled in with topsoil, and made ready to divide into 47 plots. The Hudson Foundation Farm donated and installed the fencing and watering system. The construction of a gardening shed will be Alex Frato’s Eagle Scout project. Alex, a senior at Hopatcong High School, and the Boy Scouts have been extensively involved in the community garden project. The National Honor Society of Hopatcong High School has also worked side by side with the gardeners to make Alice King’s vision a reality.
Terry Bond with her “square foot” garden plan
Most gardeners at the Hopatcong Community Garden use the “Square Foot” method of gardening. Square Foot Gardening, created by Mel Bartholomew, uses less resources, requires very little work, and produces a crop equal to a single row garden five times its size. Pesticides may not be used in the garden, and the most farmers grow their crops from seed. “The tomatoes, peppers and eggplant I started at home, though, they’re hot weather crops.” said Terry Bond. If the gardeners grow more than they can use, the vegetable bounty is donated to the local Methodist church and other food pantries.
The garden is available to residents of Hopatcong Borough. They can be leased for $25.00 per year, one per household. Plots range in size from 10x 12 to 10 x 14 feet. There are raised beds near the entrance for handicapped gardeners or gardeners with limited mobility. Gardeners communicate with each other via a Google Group message board, sharing recipes, tips and tricks, and reaching out to each other for help.
Jennifer Barone: “The best thing about gardening up here is meeting people. The HGC is helping bring the community together.”
There is ongoing fundraising to help defray the expenses of the running the garden, such as the water bill, tree cutting, landscaping of the grounds, and for supporting other groups in town. “We want to give back to the community by offering educational events and help other Hopatcong organizations as well.” Jennifer said.
On July 10th at 7:00 pm there will be a wine and spirit sampling at Pavinci’s Italian Grill on River Styx Rd. to benefit the Hopatcong Community Garden and the Hopatcong Pound Project.
The Hopatcong Community Garden wishes to acknowledge the generosity of these donors:
The King Family, in loving memory of Alice King
Gruber, Colabella & Liuzza – Attorneys at Law
William R Gregor Engineers
Yvonne Q. Syto, Registered Dietician