Welcome to the 8th year for our Community Garden. We will be assigning plots to returning gardeners starting in Mid-February to early March and to the new gardeners starting early April. Remember, there is no rental fee. We ask that you abide by the Guidelines and Garden Etiquette in lieu of a rental charge. We will be requiring that all gardeners and gardeners’ visitors must wear or have with them at the garden a security badge while on the garden sites. These will be issued to all on the annual garden opening day.
Gardening courtesy and communication
One of the main goals at the ISU Community Garden is to work together and next to each other in relative harmony. Please be courteous in all interactions, and work together to resolve any disagreements. Contact your Garden Coordinator / Attendant for guideline clarifications or plot delineations. The Garden Coordinator / Attendant will check plots regularly to encourage productive use by gardeners. Gardeners should make arrangements for plot maintenance and notify the Coordinator / Attendant if they will be away for more than a week.
Access to the House (ie: restroom facilities)
The yellow house on the garden property is the home of ISU’s Institute for Community Sustainability. The restroom is accessible by an outside entrance on the south side of the house for the gardeners’ use. The hours of availability should be through the daytime and in the evenings / weekends as scheduled, pending when the Garden Coordinator / Attendant or a garden volunteer(s) are present.
What to do about security issues and missing produce
Please call 911 for health emergencies and then call ISU security. The ISU Community Garden security badge has the ISU police phone number printed on it.
No gardener should be picking produce from another gardener’s plot without permission from the garden plot owner. If you plan to be gone and/or have given another gardener / visitor permission to pick from your plot, please tell the Garden Coordinator / Attendant. The visitor will need a Visitor’s Badge, which will need to be picked up from the Gardener Coordinator / Attendant. Notify the Garden Coordinator / Attendant about any missing produce issues.
What constitutes a “working garden”
A garden plot must be maintained, planted and / or mulched, and maintained within its boundaries. Plots may not be consistently weedy, unattended or filled with debris. Gardeners are expected to spend at least 2 hours per week, on average, tending the plot during the growing seasons.
Each gardener is responsible for the maintenance of the paths surrounding their plot(s). It is each gardener’s responsibility to maintain the paths from the start of the season to the end of the gardening season. Path wood chip material is available at all times for the maintenance of the paths. Plants should not grow into the paths, or hang over the paths. Paths must be at a minimum of 3 feet wide, level and wood chip mulched. No plastic or carpet should be used.
Gardeners are responsible for keeping the plot gardened, weeded, covercropped or mulched. Weedy plots are subject to warning and cancellation. The spring growing season is approximately March through May. Summer growing season is approximately June through August. Fall gardening is usually September through October. During that time, gardens should be prepared for winter with mulch or a crop. All summer annual crops should be pulled out of plots and placed into the compost bins on site at the end of their production. Perennial crops and some annual winter hardy crops may be over-wintered, but should be maintained.
What to grow
Flowers, vegetables, and herbs (all perennials to be potted) are acceptable to grow for home consumption and donation. It is not acceptable to allow quantities of produce to be come over ripe and rot (see more information under “Blue Flag System”).
Donation of produce
All gardeners are asked to donate a part of their produce to charities in town. A list for places to donate produce is provided and will be posted in the shed. You may donate to your preferred organizations as well.
Blue Flag System for picking and donations
If the gardeners cannot harvest their produce, it is their responsibility to notify the Garden Coordinator / Attendant so arrangements can be made to have the produce cared for. There is a flag system to be used when produce is ready for picking to be donated to an organization.
- Notify Garden Coordinator / Garden Attendant for length of time to pick and leave the blue flag
- Flags are located in the new shed for placement in your plot by you or Garden Coordinator / Garden Attendant
- All produce picked while you are away will be donated
If it is determined that a plot is neglected with over ripe vegetables present and without a blue flag set, it will be by the discretion of both the Garden Coordinator / Attendant that produce CAN AND WILL be picked from these plot(s) and will be donated.
The May 15 deadline exists to motivate our gardeners to show that they are going to use the garden plot, and not waste it. The minimum requirements of “getting started” include:
- Weeding, planting
- Working some of the soil in preparation for planting
- Harvesting of crops, if appropriate
- Pathway clean-up / maintenance
By June 15, there should be marked progress towards a productive garden, which includes:
- At least ½ the plot(s) worked
- Removal of remaining weeds
- Establishing and caring for plants
- Continued pathway maintenance
By July 1, there should be continual gardening activity, and the whole plot / paths weeded and the path maintenance completed. If the Garden Coordinator / Garden Attendant observe that there is no activity, the plot owner will be notified by email / phone call. There needs to be a response from the garden owner within 10 days from the initial contact from the Garden Coordinator. If no response then the plot can be forfeited and reassigned to others.
Notification of abandoned / under-worked garden plots during the season
- Garden Coordinator calls the gardener to set date for work to be done by the gardener.
- If the gardener does not meet agreed-upon date, gardener will receive a 5-day notice to clean up garden or lose the plot(s).
- If gardener does not respond, gardener will receive a cancellation letter/email, and the plot(s) will be offered to and re-assigned to another gardener.
- The Garden Coordinator will notify the gardener(s) in the event that a neglected plot has been picked and donated.
Annual crops should be harvested and the plants cleaned up with all the garden debris in the compost bin. Garden plots should be clean and, if the gardener wishes, a cover-cropped and / or mulched placed over the soil and around perennial herbs / plants by October 31.
Water in the gardens is turned on early in March (weather permitting) and shut off by October 31. The water is now on a dawn to dusk automatic shut on / shut-off system, meaning water is available all day. If you bring your own hoses you will be able to water anytime. Otherwise you will need to follow the work schedule of the volunteers and Garden Attendant / Garden Coordinator.
Steps to organizing a work party
If you would like to organize a work party at the garden site, first talk to your garden coordinator about what tasks you'd like to accomplish. Then talk to other gardeners to gauge their interest in forming a work party. If enough people are interested, email the Community Garden Coordinator with the details. There will be dates for volunteering for a work party set up by the Garden Coordinator during the gardening season.
Any soil that clings to the metal surface of the tools provided should be removed. You will probably find it easier to wash off the larger soil patches with a strong stream of water from the hose. Small soil particles are easy to scrap off using another tool. It is only fair to keep the tools in good working order for all.
Dogs in the gardens
Dogs must be leashed and not allowed to run through the garden site or go into garden plots.
Role of Garden Coordinator / Attendant
- The Garden Attendant / Volunteers will check plots regularly to encourage productive use by gardeners. The Garden Coordinator will make all notifications to the Attendant / Volunteers concerning duties and to Gardeners concerning plot maintenance.
- The Garden Coordinator will make all clarifications or plot delineations as needed. Write emails to the gardeners to keep them informed of events, issues, garden news, plot assignments and conditions. Monitor the facebook site for information and communication needs/opportunities.
- Help to resolve a conflict regarding garden site issues such as: pathway lines, water time and use, and other site issues. A measure of logic and cooperation is always the best approach.
- Organize and lead site garden meetings or events.
- Organize care for shared areas and assist with habitat areas. Form work parties to enhance the maintenance or renovation of the communal areas at the garden site. This may include plot layout, compost work, planting or mulching the raised beds, flower planted areas, and the new areas.
- Help service learning volunteers and Master Gardener volunteers to work on site projects and programs.
- First respond to any medical emergencies by contacting Public Safety and following procedures outlined by the university.
- It is important to note that Garden Attendant / Volunteers are available to assist gardeners, but cannot focus on the special needs of any one person. Always plan to accomplish your basic gardening tasks on your own, with knowledge and equipment assistance from the Coordinator / Attendant / Volunteers. Unique situations always occur, but as a general rule the Attendant / Volunteers will not perform routine maintenance for individual gardeners.