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Community garden in Salem busts out all over, causing concern

SALEM – It has been a great growing season at the town’s community gardens at Hawkins Farm, in fact, maybe a little too good for some gardeners who have been expanding their plots more than allowed.

“It’s blooming like there is no tomorrow,” said Conservation Commission member Joan Blondin.

However, Blondin, who also oversees the gardens, said there have been some difficulties with some of this year’s new gardeners’ plots expanding too close to the nearby Peters Farm property.

“I don’t know if they quite understand the rules,” said Blondin.

Blondin asked the Conservation Commission if it would be possible to put up a temporary fence near the row closest to Peters Farm next year.

Commission Chairman William Dumont asked Blondin to get an estimate for how much the approximately 230 feet of fencing would cost.

Commission member Thomas Campbell suggested that Blondin might be able to get some fencing from the public works department.

For now, Blondin said she has been taking matters into her own hands, often to the disapproval of some of the gardeners who have overplanted their boundaries.

“I have pulled out plants this year and believe me, I’ve heard a few new words,” said Blondin. “They were upset with me, but I’m sorry, I set the rules and you do not go near Peters Farm.”

There have also been issues with gardeners putting large rocks in a barrel that is marked for weeds and papers only.

Campbell noted that the gardeners sign a contract for a plot, and if they violate the rules, the contract will not be renewed. He added there is already a waiting list for next year.

Even with some issues with a few of the gardeners this year, Blondin said it is a beautiful and quiet area filled with an array of wildlife.

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