River and Roots Community Garden felt Sandy’s wrath

BETH YOUNG PHOTO | The River and Roots Community Garden in downtown Riverhead suffered severe damage from Hurricane Sandy.

By late Monday afternoon, River and Roots Community Garden member Len Van Vliet posted on his Facebook page that his eggplant in the garden were underwater.

That was just the beginning of troubles for the garden, which is ten feet from the bank of the Peconic River. By the time the flooding had gone down, a watermark three-feet high on the garden’s shed marked the high point of Hurricane Sandy’s Monday night tide.

A peak inside the shed Thursday morning revealed the once neatly organized shelves full of buckets of tools were now strewn across the floor. Most of the wooden raised garden beds had floated up from around the dirt and were clustered in corners of the garden, where they’d been pushed by the tide. Nearly all the vegetables had been taken away by the tide or lay wilted in the ground.

A large evergreen tree that had stood at the edge of the garden had fallen over across the beds. By 10:30 a.m., Peconic Paddler owner Jim Dreeben was hard at work cutting up the tree.

“We are very lucky, nothing that can’t be fixed,” said garden co-founder Amy Davidson in an email Thursday morning.

Ms. Davidson said after the tree is removed, garden members will start moving their beds back and cleaning up the debris.

Volunteers will be working in the garden Saturday, November 3 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and on Sunday, November 4 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.

“This is a situation that calls out for our garden community to come together, get down to work, and put the garden to rights. I cannot do it without you,” said Ms. Davidson in an email to gardeners on Thursday. “I know that many of you are dealing with lack of electricity and yard clean up of your own. Please take care of yourself and your families, we’ll see you when have your homes back in order.”

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