Riverhead’s community garden getting started in greenhouse

04/03/2011 11:24 AM |
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | River and Roots vice president Brian Nigro waters the newly planted seeds with the help of his daughter Rita, 6.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | River and Roots vice president Brian Nigro waters the newly planted seeds with the help of his daughter Rita, 6.

It may feel like winter, but planting for downtown Riverhead’s yet-to-be installed community garden is under way.

The River and Roots garden project founders were joined by participants and their children Saturday in Gabrielsen’s Country Plant Farm greenhouses in Jamesport to start putting some seeds in the ground. Well, at least in little squares of soil.

The group seeded planters for hot peppers, sweet peppers, tomatoes, lettuce. snow peas, pole beans, tarragon, basil, parsley squash, eggplants, carrots, nasturtiums, midget melons and kuri squash during a not very spring-like brisk and windy day.

The community garden was originally pitched as a place for people, especially young mothers like co-founder Amy Davidson, to congregate.

Ms. Davidson,  along with friend and fellow downtown resident Laurie Nigro, has been trying to create the garden for over a year. The pair hit a few snags along the way while trying to find an appropriate site before getting the go-ahead to lease town land on West Main Street north of Grangebel Park.

The group has received $5,000 from the Business Improvement District for fencing and engineering fees and a $10,000 grant from a Cornell program called ‘Healthy places for work, living and play.’

They expect fence materials to arrive for installation in two or three weeks. Inmates participating in the prison apprentice program at the Suffolk County jail have already built 10 raised plant beds for the garden. And Home Depot will be donating $1,600 worth of lumber, the organizers said.

A fundraiser is scheduled for Thursday, May 12 from 7 to 10 p.m. at Martha Clara Vineyards. Tickets are $30.

“It’s getting very exciting” Ms. Nigro said. “I hope we get some warmer spring weather soon.

Ten of the plot’s 30 sections have already bee spoken for but the group is still accepting applications. Instructions are available on the River and Roots Community website, to apply to plant and maintain one of the 4-by-10 plots. The plots are $25 and gardeners must provide their own seeds.

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1,538 Comment

  • Don’t go painting a halo around their heads yet. About the same time, the farmers despite the best scientific minds in the world, kept using DDT and other harmful pesticides and fought forever to continue using them to the snarky end. These chemicals polluted the groundwater and pregnant mothers drinking tap water at a neighboring farm house, unbeknownst to all at the time, would go through the misfortune of having miscarried their infants. I grew up on the North Fork during this time. And if I remember correctly, others besided farmers fought to keep Jamesport nuclear free. The Suffolk Life newspapers were especially vocal in denouncing that nonsense.

  • It’s true, this was during the Golden Age of Better Living Through Chemistry, a time when most of our widespread groundwater contamination by agrichemicals happened (post WWII-1990’s). Some farmers I know still don’t give a s__t.