WOOLWICH TWP. — As spring has finally sprung, spirits soar and thoughts trend to the great outdoors and maybe to gardening? If you are already an avid gardener, have a “green thumb”, or if you wish to try your hands (digging in the dirt, etc.) at gardening, the Woolwich Community Garden may be your dream come true.
Some people prefer to have backyard gardens, but others, such as those in the Four Seasons 55+ adult community, are not allowed to have individual gardens. Or perhaps you do not have sufficient space for a personal garden, or you don’t like to garden alone. This collective gardening space in the farming community of Woolwich Township is the winning solution.
Located behind the Woolwich Township Municipal Building, The Woolwich Community Garden is not new. In fact, this year will mark the start of its twelfth year.
Although it started out with 11 plots in 2008, that number has now increased to 52 available plots. Existing gardeners are probably cheering for the start of the 2019 growing season and eager to tend their garden plots, harvest their bounty, and reap the benefits of gardening, both physical and mental. But we always welcome new members, be they experienced veteran gardeners or interested novices.
Although first priority is given to Woolwich Township and Swedesboro residents, there are usually enough plots for our neighbors in surrounding communities. Applications for full plots (20 ft. x 30 ft.) at $30 or half-plots (20 ft. x 15 ft.) for $15 are now being accepted at the Woolwich Township Municipal Building (856-467-2666; x3101) located at 120 Village Green Drive. If interested, please stop by to complete the easy sign-up by filling out the application form (available at https://woolwichtwp.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/2019-Community-Garden-sign-up.pdf if you wish to have it ready in advance) and pay the fee.
The plots are initially tilled by Joe Maugeri, a local farmer. Gardeners will then be allowed to stake their plots with fencing and start planting their crops of choice – vegetables, fruits, and/or flowers. In the heart of the season, it is a colorful assortment of ripe red tomatoes, peppers (sweet and hot), crisp green beans, cucumbers, squash, collards, kale, spinach, brussel sprouts, purple eggplant, maybe watermelon, and even corn.
There is a shared herb garden, strawberry patch, and compost pile as well as a shed for storing gardening tools and supplies. Each gardener may personalize his or her garden by posting signs (‘Wool Witches Garden of Weedin’, ‘Welcome to our Garden of Eatin’…No Apples’, ‘Gardening is Cheaper than Therapy and You Get Tomatoes’ are current examples) and displaying statuettes and/or garden gnomes.
There is also a gathering area with picnic table and bulletin board, thanks to the efforts of a local Eagle Scout. Due to the installation of a well by the township a couple years ago, running water is available for keeping plants healthy and hydrated (no more lugging buckets of water from the former water tanks).
A volunteer garden coordinator will be available to offer guidance and answer questions, and you will also receive an online newsletter each month called “Watering Can” which includes gardening articles, tips, and recipes. Any gardener who wishes to contribute to this e-newsletter is welcomed, appreciated, and encouraged to do so.
If you decide to join the Woolwich Community Garden, be assured that it will be a rewarding and enjoyable learning experience. Not only will you cultivate homegrown produce, but you will also make new friends, share the camaraderie of fellow gardening enthusiasts, enjoy the fresh air and sunshine (maybe even get a tan, but don’t forget the sunscreen), and get some exercise (in the guise of planting, watering, and pulling weeds).
Remember that community gardens are spaces where individuals come together to grow food, build relationships, and celebrate their communities. Also, reflect on these words written by the poet Alfred Austin, “The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.”
Hope to see you in the garden.