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Latest News in Victory Gardens, NJ

Tree crashes onto home, cars and power lines in Victory Gardens

VICTORY GARDENS, New Jersey (WABC) -- Several residents were displaced after a tree fell on a home, power lines and cars in New Jersey on Monday afternoon.The incident happened on Monroe Avenue in Victory Gardens just before 3 p.m."It appears that the structural damage may be limited and the bulk of the displaced residents is the result of the power lines coming down from a tree that was on private property," Morris County OEM said in a statement.The house was occupied at the time, but there were no injuries re...

VICTORY GARDENS, New Jersey (WABC) -- Several residents were displaced after a tree fell on a home, power lines and cars in New Jersey on Monday afternoon.

The incident happened on Monroe Avenue in Victory Gardens just before 3 p.m.

"It appears that the structural damage may be limited and the bulk of the displaced residents is the result of the power lines coming down from a tree that was on private property," Morris County OEM said in a statement.

The house was occupied at the time, but there were no injuries reported on the scene.

Eyewitness News reporter Toni Yates spoke with a man who was in the house taking a shower when the tree collapsed.

"I had a doctor's appointment earlier today, so I went to go take a shower after a long day, as I was getting out of the shower I heard a loud rustle, a boom and the house shook a little bit, and the first thing in my mind was to make sure the dog was ok," Germaine Reyes said. "It didn't sound as a bad, but when I got outside, you saw a whole tree on top of your house."

His girlfriend, who lives in the house with her mom, said the tree was hit by lightning last month and part of it fell in the opposite direction, so they knew the tree was weak.

The fire chief said there was no storm in the area on Monday, but there was wind, so they suspect that's what caused the rest of the tree to come down on the house.

Officials said that if the tree had fallen 7 inches further inside, it would've hit a part of the house that wasn't as structurally sound.

The Red Cross is assisting families in the area.

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nourish.NJ Expands and Adapts to Support Thousands More in Morris County

Photo Credit: nourish.NJnourish.NJ's new building renderingPhoto Credit: nourish.NJ By nourish.NJPublishedSeptember 9, 2022 at 11:46 AMFor nearly forty years, nourish.NJ has dedicated every day to providing lasting solutions to hunger, homelessness and poverty in the Morristown area. nourish.NJ has continuously adapted to meet the increasing and shifting needs of their neighbors. Yet, in recent times, it has become abundantly clear that the impact...

Photo Credit: nourish.NJ

nourish.NJ's new building renderingPhoto Credit: nourish.NJ

By nourish.NJ

PublishedSeptember 9, 2022 at 11:46 AM

For nearly forty years, nourish.NJ has dedicated every day to providing lasting solutions to hunger, homelessness and poverty in the Morristown area. nourish.NJ has continuously adapted to meet the increasing and shifting needs of their neighbors. Yet, in recent times, it has become abundantly clear that the impact of hunger, homelessness and poverty in their community is as inflated as current prices, and extends far beyond Morristown.

With costs-of-living continuing to rise, and a 30%+ increase in their clientele as of late, it is obvious that this is just the beginning of an unprecedented demand for nourish.NJ’s programs and offerings. In light of this, they’re undertaking their greatest adaptation yet; They’ve begun the process of expanding both geographically and programmatically to tackle increasing poverty rates throughout Morris County.

Geographically, nourish.NJ’s expansion will include the opening of a 6,000 square foot Community Hub in Victory Gardens, the establishment of additional mobile and satellite locations throughout the county, as well as the maintenance and enhancement of their current location and operations in Morristown. Programmatically, with the help of community partners, their expansion will increase the capacity of current programs, such as fresh, daily meals, Free Farmers Markets, case management, employment and physical health programs, and introduce new vocational training, mental health, youth-focused, and immigration support programs. Overall, this expansion will allow nourish.NJ to reach and support thousands more in the near future, and in more dynamic ways than ever before.

Community support is critical in enabling nourish.NJ to be there for Morris County tomorrow, as well as in allowing them to continue being there for the Morristown area today. You can help maintain the organization’s current work by getting involved in the Walk for nourish.NJ, and ensure their ongoing work by donating to the “Campaign to Expand Our Reach”. For more information on nourish.NJ’s expansion plans, and the Walk for nourish.NJ, visit www.nourishnj.org.

Editor's Note: This advertorial content is being published by TAPinto.net as a service for its marketing partners. For more information about how to market your business on TAPinto, please email [email protected].

How to grow your own food in a modern-day victory garden

You can think of it as a Doomsday Garden; I prefer to regard the spring 2020 plot as the Stick It to the Virus Garden.Experienced gardeners are expanding or adjusting what they grow, and novices are keen to get digging. Seed companies are seeing unprecedented levels of demand, and social media h...

You can think of it as a Doomsday Garden; I prefer to regard the spring 2020 plot as the Stick It to the Virus Garden.

Experienced gardeners are expanding or adjusting what they grow, and novices are keen to get digging. Seed companies are seeing unprecedented levels of demand, and social media hasn’t been this full of horticultural zeal since Michelle Obama put in her White House Kitchen Garden in April 2009.

The therapeutic value of the garden in trying times

The idea of securing food this way echoes the victory gardens of both world wars, though if you were to look at a World War II victory garden, you would see fundamental differences in how we garden today. We are (or should be) far less reliant on chemical fertilizers and pesticides, we use mulch against weeds and soil drying, and we have vegetable varieties with better traits and ones that are far more multicultural and interesting.

Here are some general principles for a vegetable garden aiming for self-sufficiency, which should include herbs as well as flowers for pollinators and good cheer.

Few people will have enough suitable land to become totally or even mostly self-sufficient. Optimally, you would want a garden with a quarter-acre or more in growing area, intensively gardened, and with a henhouse for eggs. Tending all this would be akin to a part-time job.

If you want to can and pickle produce and store root vegetables, you will need a larger garden than one just used seasonally.

Unless you are a seasoned gardener, forget the perfect survival garden for now; start out small so that you are not overwhelmed. You can always enlarge it as you yourself grow as a gardener.

You need paths separate from growing beds to avoid soil compaction. An ideal, modular growing bed is eight feet by four feet — this permits access without stepping into it — and in normal times might be framed in lumber to allow for efficient raised-bed cultivation. Sally McCabe, associate director of community education for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, notes that such a bed would be formed from three eight-foot boards — about the maximum you can fit into a car — with one board sawed in half. You may want to forget the boards for now; just mound up the growing bed and keep off it.

The paths should be at least two feet wide but not much wider, because you are then robbing yourself of growing area.

In thinking about the appropriate size of the Stick It to the Virus Garden, McCabe has a scale of 1 to 10, from an apartment dweller with a windowsill at the low end to a budding farmer with five acres at the other. She’s more interested in the land-poor range. You can grow sprouts on your windowsill. She has several containers of sprouts grown from bags of dried lentils and beans from the grocery store. “If you combine that with rice and beans, you’ve got everything covered — starches, proteins and fresh vegetables — and you can live off that,” she said. “You’ll get really bored, but you can live off that.”

The next step is to grow herbs in containers; those will spice up any dish. If you have a patio or tiny backyard, you can grow a variety of greens and herbs.

One place to find real estate is the lawn, or a part of it. “It’s hard work to turn a lawn into a garden, because the grass is tenacious and the soil is probably ridiculously compacted,” McCabe said. “But you go with what you’ve got.”

Converting the front lawn into a veggie garden can run afoul of neighborly sensibilities, if not homeowner association and municipal rules. But McCabe believes the current emergency warrants such action. “People need as much fresh food as close to home as they can get,” she said.

Higgins will host a live Q&A about growing food, and all things gardening, Thursday at noon. You can submit your questions now.

A few other site considerations:

Sunlight: A few leafy veggies and herbs will take partial shade, but for a garden to be successful, you must have at least six hours of direct sunlight daily, typically afternoon light.

Slope: A sloping site requires some sort of terracing to prevent erosion, and the steeper the incline, the larger the challenge.

Water: You will need access to water. In summer heat, plants may need watering daily. The problem with rain barrels (apart from mosquitoes) is that they are dry when you need water the most. Also, position growing beds away from areas with poor drainage.

Soil: Ideally, you would build the soil with compost, leaf mold and other organic material before planting a garden. This year, access to off-site soil amendments is difficult, and you may have to work with the soil you have. There may still be many fallen leaves from the autumn around to gather and incorporate into the soil. Start a compost pile.

Why you should use compost, even if you don’t have a big garden

Fencing: If there are deer in your neighborhood, you will need to exclude them before you start the garden. Plastic mesh fencing attached to metal stakes is cheaper and easier to install than post and wire fencing, though it will be flimsier and less permanent. You will need at least a six-foot barrier and preferably one that is eight feet high. A six-foot fence around a garden adjoining the home should be sufficient, as long as the building doesn’t create too much shade.

In many parts of the United States, the resourceful gardener can extract annually three overlapping growing seasons, especially with protective covers early and late. These would be, roughly, March to June, May to September and August to November. The first period would include leafy greens, such as lettuce, arugula, mesclun mixes; broccoli, cabbage, kale and chard; root vegetables, such as potatoes, carrots, beets and radishes; and hardy herbs, such as parsley, cilantro, rosemary, oregano and thyme.

This is a good time to put in baby onion bulbs — sets — and leek seedlings, if you can find them, though both can be grown from seed if necessary. Seeds, tools and supplies are available from online retailers, and many garden centers, where permitted, are offering curbside service to minimize customer contact.

As frost danger passes and the soil warms, by mid-spring you are at the start of the second season, when you can put in tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and basil, as transplants. Cucurbits such as cucumbers and winter and summer squash can be directly sown into prepared beds; they will soon sprout, but have supports ready. If you have the space, this is the time to sow sweet corn, okra and sweet potato slips.

Mid- to late summer offers the chance to prepare for the fall garden, with loose-leaf and heading lettuce, Asian greens, kale, collards, turnips, more carrots and arugula and mesclun mixes. Beans transcend all three periods and can be sown in mid-spring and then every two weeks or so until August for a successive harvest into fall.

The smaller the garden, the harder each vegetable has to work to earn its keep, but those that offer a lot of caloric value tend to need more time and space than most others. I am thinking of potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn and winter squash. You can grow potatoes in containers (as long as they drain and you can build up the soil or mulch as the tubers grow).

I also group plants by the timespan between planting and harvest, which helps to prioritize the space available. Some of the quickest are loose-leaf lettuce and other leafy greens, especially if you take them at baby stage — as soon as 30 days after sowing. Radishes are swift, as are many Asian varieties. Chinese cabbages grow more quickly than traditional heading cabbages, for example. Beets and carrots are reasonably fast if grown well.

Most other veggies take half the growing year or more. I am still lifting parsnips that I sowed as seed 12 months ago. The gardener with the long view and spare room will plant an asparagus bed, and places for strawberries and rhubarb. You will wait two or three years for a good crop of raspberries, blackberries, currants and blueberries. By then, we hope, the coronavirus will be a dark memory, but its lessons, including the need to live in a more contained way, will linger.

There are many instructional videos online, some of them of dubious value or promotional. The Maryland Home and Garden Information Center (marylandgrows.umd.edu) has some useful videos on pests and deer fencing, as well as an article on starting a garden.

McCabe has a five-part video series on garden basics, “Food for the Soul,” available on the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s website (phsonline.org/blog).

A group named Good Gardening Videos (goodgardeningvideos.org) collects and curates videos the nonprofit deems valid.

An ad hoc group called the Cooperative Gardens Commission — coopgardens.org — is seeking to match those with seed, tools and knowledge to others in need. Nate Kleinman, an organizer based in Elmer, N.J., said: “We know there is a high failure rate for first-time farmers and gardeners, and we want to be able to connect people to the resources they need to be successful.”

How residents in Dover, Victory Gardens and Hanover Park voted on school referendums

Voters in three towns on Tuesday approved a $44.4 million referendum for upgrades to the two "crumbling" high schools in the Hanover Park School Regional School District.But Dover voters overwhelmingly rejected a $69.3 million referendum to expand the high school and build a second middle school in the overcrowded district.Unofficial results from the Morris County Board of Elections show the Hanover Park referendum passed by a vote of 1,493 (55.5%) to 1,179 (43.8%). The district serves high school stude...

Voters in three towns on Tuesday approved a $44.4 million referendum for upgrades to the two "crumbling" high schools in the Hanover Park School Regional School District.

But Dover voters overwhelmingly rejected a $69.3 million referendum to expand the high school and build a second middle school in the overcrowded district.

Unofficial results from the Morris County Board of Elections show the Hanover Park referendum passed by a vote of 1,493 (55.5%) to 1,179 (43.8%). The district serves high school students from Hanover, who attend Whippany Park High School and students from East Hanover and Florham Park who attend Hanover Park High School.

The district "anticipates that we now have the necessary funding available to make much-needed improvements to both of our high schools," Superintendent Maria Carrell said following the vote. "Over the next few months, we will be working closely with our district professionals to begin the first phase of this project as soon as possible."

Dover voters reject referendum, tax increase

But in Dover and tiny neighboring Victory Gardens, district officials saw voters reject a referendum that would have raised taxes by $611 annually for homeowners in the former and $579 for those in the latter. The expansion, officials said, was necessary in a district that is 700 students over capacity and rising, according to a report from the New Jersey Department of Education.

"For the last two years, our student enrollment numbers have steadily risen," the district wrote on a website touting the referendum. "Our schools have been over capacity for decades. Generations of residents have stepped up before to invest long-term in Dover Public Schools. The community is being asked to consider whether to do the same again."

The community rejected the referendum by more than 72% (1,022 to 374).

"The need to build a new school in Dover can’t be denied," Dover Board of Education President Dr. Krista Seanor said after the vote. "This election result doesn’t change that fact. I’m devastated by the reality of overcrowding and underfunding that our children must now continue to endure."

"We thank all [voters] who participated and will discuss with the community plans for the future of our schools," the district stated. "Evaluating the community’s feedback will be the first step in that process."

District officials hoped to build a new middle school between the high school and North Dover Elementary School, where tennis courts are now.

"A new middle school and expanded high school will provide space to spread out our students, leaving enough room for students at the elementary schools," they wrote.

In the Hanover Park district, infrastructure in both high schools schools "are original from the buildings," officials advised on the district website. Hanover Park opened in 1956. Whippany Park opened in 1967.

"Repairs have become costly; and sometimes, cost-prohibitive," the district wrote. "We have now reached the point that we must invest a considerable amount of money to make necessary improvements. This investment is expected to mitigate future costs for the district and its taxpayers."

How to Grow a Victory Garden of Any Size

First the raised beds arrived, three narrow boxes lining the edge of my yard. Then came the soil in a big pungent pile, demanding to be shoveled. And last weekend, I brought home trays of delicate little plants that promise a summer of Swiss chard, snap peas, tomatoes and beets.The last time my family grew fruits and vegetables, I was a child, and I mostly nibbled my father’s strawberry patch clean. But this summer I’m growing my family’s food.With the prospect of a long, hot season spent mostly at home, my ga...

First the raised beds arrived, three narrow boxes lining the edge of my yard. Then came the soil in a big pungent pile, demanding to be shoveled. And last weekend, I brought home trays of delicate little plants that promise a summer of Swiss chard, snap peas, tomatoes and beets.

The last time my family grew fruits and vegetables, I was a child, and I mostly nibbled my father’s strawberry patch clean. But this summer I’m growing my family’s food.

With the prospect of a long, hot season spent mostly at home, my garden has never looked riper for growing. I am not alone. Garden centers are reporting a surge in business as homeowners look for ways to grow vegetables, in a spirit reminiscent of the Victory Gardens of World War I and World War II. As Americans face deep economic insecurity, coupled with food shortages and long lines at the grocery store, gardening has taken on a new urgency.

“If you are worried about Covid-19 and going to stores, you have a lot of control over your own environment in your own garden,” said Janice Parker, principal of Janice Parker Landscape Architects in Greenwich, Conn.

With a little planning, and some good soil, planting a vegetable garden can pass the time and put food on the table. Here’s how to get one started.

Finding Supplies

Before you start your gardening project, contact your local garden center to find out if they are open, what supplies they have in stock and what social-distancing measures are in place. Most states have declared garden centers essential services, but there still may be restrictions or shortages of some supplies.

More on Covid-19

You will most likely need containers, raised beds (or lumber to make your own), fencing materials and, of course, plants, seeds and soil. And if you don’t have a good shovel, gardening gloves and hand tools, now is the time to get those items.

Some garden centers are offering delivery or curbside drop-off. Others are practicing social distancing inside the premises. Seeds and other materials can be ordered online, although deliveries may be delayed, and since it’s midway through May, time is of the essence.

Join a local gardening group (many can be found on Facebook), and see if anyone in your area is trading seedlings or supplies they do not need. The connections can also help you learn skills from seasoned gardeners. “One of the ways people get access to things when things are in short supply, is they’ve got a network of friends,” said Carol Deppe, a plant breeder and the author of “The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times.

The Tiniest Indoor Garden

You don’t need access to the outdoors to garden. If you have a window, you have space to grow a little food, even if it’s just a pot of herbs on the windowsill.

“Even if you don’t have a fire escape or a balcony, you can still be growing a tiny garden in your kitchen,” said Leah Penniman, the farm manager of Soul Fire Farm in Petersburg, N.Y. and the author of “Farming While Black.”

You could grow microgreens on an empty aluminum tray or takeout food container. Punch holes in the bottom, fill it with soil, and densely lay the seeds — kale, collard greens, mustard greens or radishes — on top of the soil. Cover the seeds with a damp paper towel and water them every day, keeping the soil “moist as a sponge,” said Ms. Penniman. Once they sprout, remove the paper towel and in about two weeks, you’ll have microgreens.

A Garden for a Balcony, Rooftop or Fire Escape

Plants like tomatoes, strawberries, lettuce, chard, herbs, eggplant and even potatoes can grow in containers on a balcony, rooftop or fire escape, so long as you choose ones suitable for your region of the country.

You should select small and vertical growing varieties of your favorite vegetables. If you’re planting a rooftop garden, make sure you don’t inadvertently block any drainage pipes or gutters. If you’re using a fire escape, be sure to keep exit routes clear. Place a trellis against a balcony wall and grow vines, such as varieties of cucumbers, squash, peas and pole beans.

“Some vegetables are good for small patios, like Tumbling Tom is grown in a hanging basket,” said Diana Cluff, the plant designer at the Farm at Green Village, a garden center in Green Village, N.J. “It’s a wonderful cherry tomato. It cascades.”

Choose containers with good drainage, in whatever material appeals to your taste — ceramic, wood, plastic or a fabric grow bag. Larger pots will be easier to maintain than smaller ones because the soil will not dry out as quickly, so choose as large a container as possible. Self-watering containers extend the time between watering. Place your containers in a spot with full sun before you fill them with organic potting mix. (Once the pots are filled, they’ll be heavy to move.) Place vines against a wall or railing, to make it easier for the vines to climb.

A Bed in the Garden

Before you make your planting bed, choose a location with at least six hours of full sun. If your garden has good quality soil and is free of toxins, like lead, you can dig directly into the ground, removing any sod, weeds and roots, and replenishing the soil with a mix of compost and potting soil. But get your soil tested before you attempt to grow food in it.

If you’re not up for testing, prepping and tilling, build a raised bed. You will be able to control the soil, the weeds and, if you’re renting your home, take your box with you when you move. You can buy ready-made raised beds at a garden supply company, or build your own with lumber, nails and screws. (I ordered my raised bed from a local craftsman who built three narrow ones to fit my small space.)

Place a layer of landscape fabric beneath your raised bed and then fill the box with soil. Ms. Penniman recommends using a mix of 50 percent topsoil and 50 percent compost. You can buy bags of organic raised bed soil, too. Many municipalities give away compost, so ask yours if any is available. An online soil calculator can help you determine how much soil you need before you shop.

To keep the furry and feathered neighbors from eating your bounty before you do, lay a mesh barrier underneath the bed and build a fence around it. The fence should be tall and sturdy enough to keep deer, rabbits and groundhogs out, but does not need to be a fortress. “People are told to build a much more aggressive fence than they need — ours are five feet high,” said John Carlson, the owner of Homefront Farmers, a Redding, Conn., company that designs, builds and maintains garden beds.

What to Plant

Let your stomach tell you what to plant. If tomatoes are your jam, double down. If you never eat eggplant, it doesn’t deserve a spot in your plot.

“It doesn’t do you any good to plant red radishes and then they sit around because no one in the family likes little red radishes,” Ms. Deppe, the author of “The Tao of Vegetable Gardening,” said. “Grow stuff your family eats.”

Follow the guides on the seed packet or seedling labels to avoid crowding, as your plants will need space to spread out. Be sure to follow your regional planting schedule, so your plants don’t end up in the ground too early or too late. An online garden planner can help you plot out your garden. Soul Fire Farm has been offering weekly gardening tutorials on its Facebook page. And your local garden center can tell you the ideal time to put plants in the ground, and can direct you to low maintenance, disease-resistant varieties.

Add a thin layer of mulch on top of your bed to reduce weeds. You can also use a drip irrigation system (it can be hooked up to a garden hose) to make watering easier. Cluster your containers together so they’re easy to water at once with a sprayer, and make sure you water consistently so the soil doesn’t dry out.

Whatever you do, plant food and flowers that will bring you joy, and will be easy to grow. “The last thing you need this summer is to be disappointed,” Ms. Parker, the landscape architect, said. “This is not the summer for disappointment.”

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