Roxbury Community Garden

Photo credit for all photos: Anne Gale

By Steve Sears

Vickery Gardens plots

Anne Gale, a member of the Township of Roxbury Environmental Commission, speaks about a special place in her community.

“It provides – we will call it a nexus – for joining together to share information about gardening, and it also keeps a nice green space open. And the area around it, because it is undeveloped, provides a wildlife habitat.”

Gale is talking about the Vickery Gardens, named after the late Mayor of Roxbury Tom Vickery, who passed away in 2004. Also known as the Roxbury Community Gardens, it is located at 281 Eyland Avenue in Succasunna.

Gale, Vickery Gardens manager, then adds, “We (Roxbury) have a a fair number of condos and apartment complexes, so it’s a great place for people to be able to dig if they don’t have the opportunity at home.”

Vickery Gardens, which has been active since its ribbon cutting in April of 2009, was initially a vegetable farm with a farm stand owned and run for generations by the Lines family. When the family decided to sell the property, the township worked with them to acquire it, and received a grant from Morris County in 2003 for the Green Acres Open Space program. The town closed on the property in October of 2004. 

According to Gale, it was then and is now an obvious great spot. “When it was decided because of the site and quality of the soil – and subsequently because we wanted a community garden – it was the perfect place to be. It was a farm, and now it is basically a micro farm as a community garden,” Gale says.

The property is about 10 total acres, but the entire garden itself is about 1/3 of an acre. There are 80 plots of which

Fresh squash grown at Vickery Gardens

76 are active, and two of those provide fresh produce to the town ship’s Social Services food pantry. Gale says, “There are over 45 members, and a fair amount own two lots. A couple of people want to grow flowers, and a lot of people do grow standard vegetables – tomatoes, peppers, and beans – and there are a couple of gardeners of international origin who grow more exotic vegetables. There is a wide variety.” 

If someone would like to join Vickery Gardens, they would have to contact the recreation department at (973) 448-2015. Although there is a waiting list to join, the result according to Gale is well worth it.

“It’s a nurturing space,” she says. “It feels comfortable, because I love being surrounded by green things, having my hands in the dirt, and encouraging things to grow. And it is a sure way to connect to the earth and to each other.”

 

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