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Princeton, NJ - Plainsboro garden brings together food andpeople from around the world

  • Subject: [cg] Princeton, NJ - Plainsboro garden brings together food andpeople from around the world
  • From: Don Boekelheide dboekelheide@yahoo.com
  • Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 14:55:35 -0700 (PDT)

Princeton Packet, New Jersy

Plainsboro garden plots provide small sanctuaries
By Courtney Gros

Township's 55 parcels prove popular for condo
residents, apartment dwellers

   PLAINSBORO  Crouching beneath the still warm
evening sun last week, Stanton de Riel snagged a few
errant invaders from his 20-foot-square parcel while
still carefully eyeing carrots and tomatoes destined
for his Plainsboro residence.

   "It's me versus the weeds," Mr. de Riel said. "I
love to grow things and my balcony just isn't big

   Israeli cucumbers and butternut squash are just
some of the fresh veggies Mr. de Riel harvests  as
long as he can keep out the rabbits.

   Amid the sprawling condominium developments and
apartment complexes in Plainsboro, residents may find
small sanctuaries in rented garden plots along
Plainsboro Road. Within the open space on the former
Walker-Gordon Farm, the township maintains the
Plainsboro Community Garden  a small area where
residents can till parcels of open land for the summer

   Since 2001, the township has maintained the land,
Plainsboro's Public Works Superintendent Jeffrey
LaPooh said, and assigned plots to area residents. The
township also installed water pumps and fencing making
it convenient for gardeners to tend the land, he

   Each year, Mr. LaPooh noted, the gardens continue
to draw interest from Plainsboro residents.

   "I believe it is a great help to the community in
bringing people together, those that may be in a
townhouse or a condo, or even in a regular home," Mr.
LaPooh said.

   The township accepts applications for the 55
parcels usually in March and conducts a lottery to
grant plots to residents. Currently, township
officials said, about 40 plots are being tended to.

   There is a nonrefundable $25 application fee and an
additional $50 security deposit that could be returned
at the end of the season. Gardeners have to properly
maintain their area and dispose of their remaining
vegetation at the end of the season.

   Gardeners have access to the plots from the end of
March through December, according to the garden

   Bringing home fresh produce is one benefit of the
gardens and they also give residents who don't have
the land or the space to plant flowers or vegetables
an opportunity to do so.

   Known for diverse fruits and vegetables that hail
from the United States to the Middle East, the
Plainsboro Community Garden brings people and food
together from all over the world.

   Barbara Andrews, a Plainsboro resident for 15
years, said gardeners have shared secrets and seeds.
The community concept, she added, brings those with a
love of gardening together from every corner of the

   "It's a wonderful microcosm of Plainsboro," Ms.
Andrews said. 
"There's every ethnic group you could think of here."

   In her fourth year at the gardens, Ms. Andrews now
grows vegetables not found in the grocery store,
including those originating in Eastern Europe and

   And veggies are not the garden's only tenants.
Towering sunflower stalks, among other flowering
plants, have taken root there, too.

   Its accessibility and affordable price, gardeners
said, keep many residents returning year after year
towing along everything from Japanese pumpkins to

   While watering his rows of vegetables, Jinan Huang,
who has had a plot for the past three years, said the
gardens allow residents with similar interests to
congregate in one area.

   "I hope this keeps running every year," Mr. Huang
said. "People really enjoy it." 

The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org

To post an e-mail to the list:  community_garden@mallorn.com

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