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July 07. 2014 7:48PM

Salem community gardens enjoying a successful summer

SALEM — The growing season is a little late this year, thanks to a wet spring, but everything seems to be running smoothly at the town’s community gardens at Hawkins Farm.

Last summer, there was a rash of vandalism and thefts at the farm that saw produce thieves taking advantage of the hard work of those who cultivated the 24 plots at the community garden.

Conservation Commission member Joan Blondin said she and the garden organizers would be keeping a more vigilant presence at the gardens to seek to prevent a repeat of last year’s problems this year.

So far, so good, according to Blondin.

“The gardeners are very happy and everything is going quite well,” she said, even though everyone is a little behind because the plantings were late this year. Blondin added that there have been several new gardeners this year joining the ranks of the returning green thumbs.

While the growers are focusing on planting, weeding, and watering their plots, there has also been a good deal of maintenance of the overall community garden site. The front of the site has been mowed and weedwhacked, as well as the rows between the plots.

Blondin said all the gardeners have been keeping an eye out for any potential issues this year.

“The gardeners are very diligent this year,” she said. “Anything they see where they don’t know which way to go, they have been calling me and letting me know.”

The biggest issue to date has been some gardeners putting soil and rocks in a plastic barrel set aside for lighter items such as weeds and plastic bags.

Blondin said the barrel will be more clearly marked in the future, to minimize the likelihood that it becomes an issue when it comes time to empty it.

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