DENVILLE, NJ - Denville Community Gardens' new gardener signup is March 12 at Gardner Field House between 10 a.m. and noon.
The $10 fee is returnable if you don't get a plot. You must be a Denville Resident.
More than 120 families experience the joy of planting, nurturing and growing their own food-vegetables herbs, fruit, berries and flowers on this intensely farmed five acre site next to Denville's public library. The gardens were founded in 1972 with 17 members and are for the use of Denville residents only.
The original idea was a project conducted by Lorraine Caruso who, as a member of the Environmental Commission, got the approval of the town officials and gathered together a small group of gardeners and began what 40 years later is a thriving community endeavor.
Bob Thompson succeeded Lorraine as administrator followed by Dennis Mahony and Arlene Cowell, then Dennis again and beginning in 2011, Bob Grant and Jan Frazer as co-administrators.
Community interest has grown until in 2013 every garden plot was taken and evenings and weekends saw a number of people busy tending their crops.
The first gardeners had to lug buckets of water from the Rockaway River, which runs on the western side of the plots. Later a gasoline pump was installed and now an electric system allows us to water on a regular basis. Improvements have been paid for through the very low registration fee to keep the project self-supporting. Garden plots vary in size, but most are 20’ by 20’. People were often surprised at the amount of vegetables a plot that size could produce.
Beginning in 2011 the Community Gardens began an organized effort to contribute excess crops to the Denville Food Pantry, St. Peters Home for Boys and area churches. Several hundred pounds of fresh tomatoes, squash, peppers, cucumbers and other crops were distributed to these organizations to help folks in need.
Beginning in 2009 an annual picnic was initiated with the garden supplying hot dogs, hamburgers and soft drinks and gardeners bringing potluck dishes made from the crops they grew. In 2013 more than 85 people attended to listen to music supplied by Denville’s own Good Times Band, and be entertained, mostly by each other.