• An Urban Sanctuary: The {Hoboken} Community Garden

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    With the summer finally getting into full swing, we scouted out a new hidden gem toward the west side of Hoboken! Wander directly down 3rd Street and you’ll find Hoboken’s Community Garden at the corner of 3rd and Jackson.

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    The garden currently has 44 plots of gardening boxes for anyone who would like to purchase one for the small amount of $20 a year. As expected, right now there is a waiting list {boo!} that you have to request to be on in order to receive the next box when it becomes available. One thing to keep in mind: you are allowed to keep the box as long as you’d like which could create a decent wait for that space {some boxes have been held for over 10 years!} . 

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    The garden is a great resource for anyone looking to get in some gardening experience, planting some cheerful flowers to enjoy when you visit, or simply just to grow your own fresh herbs {especially if you don’t have a terrace or backyard — a rare occurrence in Hoboken!}. You bring the plants you’d like to grow, and the owners of the garden provide everything and anything else you might need to maintain and watch that garden grow! {This includes: shovels, hoses, gloves, etc.}

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    The local non-profit, True Mentors, is using the garden and bringing its students to learn some gardening basics. So fun, especially for kids growing up in a pretty urban environment! The gardens are also a great space for a handful of elderly in the area who own several boxes and enjoy planting and watching things grow.

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    Because we were so intrigued by the garden – we contacted Tim Occhipinti, who is the head of Hoboken Volunteers, to ask him some questions about the garden and how its become what it is today.

    Hoboken Girl: How did this garden get started?  

    Tim: The original garden existed in Hoboken for many years and used to be run by Margery Lau, who the garden is now dedicated to. The land is currently owned by the city of Hoboken, which previously had never fully embraced the community garden in the ideal way that a community garden should be. It didn’t used to be nearly as organized as it is now.

    HG: Hurricane Sandy really affected the back parts of Hoboken, including the area where the garden is. Has the garden changed a lot since then?

    T: Completely different. The garden was a very different space than what you see today. The first spring after Sandy, not a lot was able to be accomplished because of all the things going on in the city, but in Spring of 2014, we organized an event with Hoboken Volunteers called “Help Hoboken ‘Green-Up’ for Earth Day!” Taking place on Earth Day, volunteers spent the day cleaning and clearing rocks and debris from the area, which wouldn’t have happened without the support of Director Pellegrini and Mayor Zimmer.

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    T: After that we had a contractor come in and build fifty 10 x 10 ft plots and added clean soil to the beds. {The old soil had been severely contaminated by Sandy}. The second April the event took place we continued moving rocks and debris and continued to beautify the space and added pebbles in the pathways to help with flooding when it rains, etc. We also removed a Alanthus altissimo tree that sat on the southern portion of the lot and threw a lot of shade on the garden. The tree was on the national eradication list, known for its habits of taking lots of minerals from the ground and taking over the areas around it. {Not the best tree to have next to a garden}

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    Most recently, the city has authorized the replacement of the current fence that borders the lot with a quality rod iron one {new picnic tables and a storage shed might be in the plans as well}.

    HG: Do you plan on having any volunteer opportunities here? 

    T: Not in a particular sense, compared to the clean up that happened in the past, but are going to have a party! Once they’re done with the fence and everything we plan to have a formal dedication ceremony for Margery.

    HG: Do you see the garden expanding anytime soon or setting up more locations in Hoboken or elsewhere?

    T: I would love to see more of these in Hoboken. I think the residence would love to see it as well, but the question becomes where do you put it.

    HG: What is your favorite aspect of the Community Garden?

    T: Seeing everyone come together and work cohesively for this beautification project in our neighborhood, picking up rocks, and loving every minute of it. The project really brought a diverse group of people together for this common goal, residents old and new, a melting pot that was created over this community garden. It’s transforming the neighborhood and indirectly impacting everyones quality of life in a positive way.

    What a wonderful addition to the community. We’re hoping for another one opening in the future…any open plots you’ve seen? 😉

    Either way, make your way down 3rd Street to check out the great progress at the Community Garden, and keep your eyes peeled for that new rod iron fence in the next few weeks. Loves it. What a hidden gem in our little city!

     

     

     


    Written by:

    Jen is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Hoboken Girl. She started the site to discover and share the wealth of things happening in Hudson County. Her roots in the area extend to her maternal grandparents, who owned two textile factories in Weehawken and North Bergen. When not planning the next Hoboken Girl event/volunteer project or editing her life away, she can usually be found shopping at local boutiques, eating an Insta-worthy meal, walking her French bulldog + rescue pup, or watching the latest murder doc on Netflix with her husband.


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