By Lee Radsch, Summit Housing Authority
It is harvest time at the Vito A. Gallo Senior Center in Summit. Last year, after work was completed on a much-needed new roof and the construction debris was cleared away, a large bare spot on the lawn was uncovered where the construction dumpster had been during the renovation.
The keen eyes of a few residents realized that this sunny spot would be a perfect location for a vegetable garden. After consulting with Melissa Kuzma, Deputy Executive Director of the Summit Housing Authority, and other officials at the housing authority, it was decided that, if the residents wanted to combine their resources with their energy, this area could be utilized for a resident community garden.
Sue St. Clair and Bob Hanley organized the mission along with the added assistance of 18 other residents to create a bountiful space that has benefited all participants in the project.
This group of 20 residents pooled their funds and created a garden that has been providing home-grown produce throughout the growing season to the entire group. They charted a work plan to insure that there would always be someone available to water the precious plants through our very hot summer.
It was decided that each person would sign up for only those vegetables and herbs which they would like to receive. When the crops began to produce, one member of the group volunteered to hand-delivered each person’s bounty directly to their door on a regular basis. There was a very large variety of crops which accommodated even the most particular tastes. String beans, several varieties of lettuce, plum, cherry and “Jersey” tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, squash, eggplant, broccoli, exotic varieties of cucumbers and even watermelon all grew happily together on the site. There was also a small herb area consisting of rosemary, parsley and chives to spice up the mix.
Sue St. Clair commented that “this was an incredibly successful first year for our garden and we are all looking forward to an even more successful second season next year. We are all grateful to the Summit Housing Authority for authorizing us to create this wonderful garden on the property.”