Information to help learn about the Gardens Welcome to the Gardens
Frequently Asked Questions
What is in the name - what does "community" mean?
Community means only those people who are currently registered and rented a plot in the gardens. The public can come in to visit the Gardens but not plant a garden without a rental agreement or harvest from the common gardens or private garden plots.
How many plots can I have?
People can have up to 4 plots. A full size plot is 20'x25' or 500 square feet. Half plots are available. Raised beds are on a first come first serve basis. A full size plot will provide a family of 4 with a variety of vegetables. If preserving food, perhaps more plots are needed.
What are no-till plots?
No-till is a soil management philosophy in which there is limited disturbance in gardening, soils are kept covered by plants or residues to allow living organisms work to their fullest. This section of the garden is not tilled by the garden tractor. Gardeners can choose to till if they wish.
What are Common Gardens?
The common gardens are the rhubarb, asparagus, raspberries and fruit orchard areas. Rhubarb and the first section of asparagus can be harvested by registered gardeners if they wish. Weeding and maintaining the area is expected if one harvests the produce. The raspberries are managed by committee. They are responsible for weeding, pruning properly and can harvest. The orchard is maturing and may have a few apples which will be shared. There will be a call out to help with needed tasks.
Do the soils need fertilizer? What Kind?
Soil testing was done in 2014. A report will be posted in the shed. Nutrients are referred to as N-P-K The soils have ample amounts of Phosphorus = P, are low on Potassium = K and yearly needs Nitrogen = N. We use only organic additives. Adding Potassium can be accomplished by applying ashes from untreated wood ( fire pit logs or ashes from a furnace) 1 gallon per 500 square feet or 1 standard plot. An alternative is purchasing a product called "Green Sand" or "Kelp Meal" and apply according to directions. Nitrogen is Blood Meal. Apply according to directions.
When can I start gardening?
The garden is tilled when the soils have dried to some degree so soil structure does not compact. It is done usually late April or early May. Then the gardens are staked and plots numbered before the garden officially opens. A call out by email asks for volunteers to help with staking. The no-till section is open to gardeners whenever they want to start.
How long is the season?
The season runs from early May to mid October in the till section. Gardeners are required to clean up their plot by removing vegetation and putting it on the weed pile outside the fence on the east end of the garden. All ornaments, stakes and other items must be removed from the gardens.
Gardening using organic methods - use OMRI products
The Community Garden allows only OMRI products for pest control or fertilizers. The acronym means Organic Materials Review Institute. It is displayed on products by a green and white OMRI logo. The garden manager can advise you on specific products.
Water use - how much do gardens need?
Water is included in the plot rent. A rain guage on the pole by the shed will help you decide how much to water your garden. A growing vegetable garden needs about 3/4 to 1 inch per week. Allowing the soil to dry between watering is good for plants as it promotes the roots to reach down deeper in the ground. Gardeners must be present when watering. DO NOT set up a sprinkler and leave the garden. It is OK to bring your own favorite nozzle. Report to the garden manager any leaks or repairs needed. Phone numbers are in the shed. If there is a significant leak - TURN the water off. Instructions will be covered at meetings and posted in the shed. Contact phone numbers are posted.
We will be revitalizing our composting program this year (2018) in cold composting and adding hot barrel composting. Signage will provide the directives on what materials can be composted. A Master Composter will help set up the program.
Abundance of produce - What can I do with it?
We encourage giving your abundance of produce to Stepping Stones or other food pantries. Certainly, neighbors and friends look forward to your produce too. A log will be in the shed to document the amount given. We occasionally apply for grants for garden projects so need the data to show our support of community food pantries. BY-LAWS prohibit selling produce.
Pollinators in the garden
Several of the gardeners are beekeepers and have their hives located on the north end of the garden. Our gardens and orchard produce with abundance because of these pollinators. Some tips while being around bees: Don't wear perfume, cologne or hairsprays, don't swat at the bees if they buzz past you, inspect your plant when flowering to notice a bee and let it alone it will fly away. In the fall of the year, all insects that rely on nectar as their food will seek out anything that smells sweet. They may buzz around you as they are just checking out the source of the odor. They are not coming to sting you. The bee policy is posted in the shed.
What is the hardest task in gardening?
For most people it is keeping the weeds under control. Mulching with leaves, straw or grass clippings after the plants are established makes for an attractive garden while controlling weeds. Plan on spending time in the garden every 4-6 days to maintain it. Don't forget to take pictures!