Plot Usage Guidelines

Project Grow is committed to teaching, promoting, and practicing environmental stewardship. To this end, everyone gardening with Project Grow Gardeners must use organic practices as accepted by major organic certification agencies (e.g. Organic Crop Improvement Association). Any gardener who does not strictly adhere to these practices will have their plot revoked and will forfeit their right to garden with Project Grow in the future.

Please reference the guidelines listed below. We know organic gardening may not be a familiar concept to all our members, so feel free to reach out to your Site Coordinator for additional guidance (and maybe a tried and true tip or two).

Weed Control 

  • Controlling weeds not only helps your plants flourish, but it prevents neighbor garden plots from becoming overrun as well
  • Recommended: Use hay to mulch around established seedlings then hand weed as needed (Note: many sites coordinate a hay delivery by a local farmer at the beginning of the season - ask your Site Coordinator for details)
  • Prohibited: Herbicides of any kind as they are hazardous to human health, may kill or damage desirable crops, drift into neighboring gardens, or remain in the soil long after initial use

Insect Control

  • Controlling insects is important to your own garden health, but also helps your neighbors prevent excessive damage as well
  • Recommended: Companion planting, fabric row covers, biological controls (like Bacillus thuringiensis - a bacterium that controls cabbage worms), and introducing natural predator species (like ladybugs and lacewings); as a last resort natural botanical pesticides (like Rotenone and Pyrethrum) that break down quickly and do not leave harmful residue in the soil may be used
  • Prohibited: Synthetic pesticides of any kind

Disease Control

  • Most problems can be controlled by maintaining a clean garden and a healthy soil
  • Recommended: Choose disease-resistant plant varieties, water judiciously, and remove diseased plants from the garden

Fertilizers & Soil Amendments

  • Soil health is important not only for your plants this season, but for future gardeners as well; therefore, Project Grow strongly encourages adding ample organic material (i.e. compost, leaf mold, manure) maintain ongoing soil fertility
  • Recommended: Products of plant or animal origin - compost, leaf mold, livestock manure, blood and bone meal, cover crops, fish emulsion, kelp meal, liquid seaweed; commercial organic fertilizer blends;  natural mineral fertilizers - greensand, granite dust, ground limestone
  • Prohibited: Inorganic fertilizers (e.g. 5-1-5, Miracle Grow)

Composting

  • Project Grow strongly encourages composting organic material from plots, but it can only be done in designated areas at garden sites
  • Recommended: Check your site's addendum in the handbook for the composting policy and on-site composting location (if available)
  • Prohibited: Composting garden refuse at the garden site outside of specified areas

Unacceptable Plants

  • In the spirit of community gardens, please ensure that your plot is free from unacceptable plants; if you have concerns about neighboring sites, please contact your Site Coordinator or the Board
  • Recommended: If you find an unacceptable plant in your plot (e.g. an invasive species like Mint), do not move it - if you'd like to keep it for the season, limit its spread within your plot and do not transplant
  • Prohibited: Invasive species (e.g. mint, comfrey, Jerusalem artichoke); trees, bushes, or other woody perennials; illegal or dangerous plants

Site Coordinator(s)

  • Site Coordinators are responsible for answering gardening questions and organizing opening day, work parties, plow dates, and closing day
  • Recommended: Let your Site Coordinator know the best way to contact you and/or when your contact information changes

Keeping “Community” in Community Garden 

  • Project Grow Community Gardens participants are encouraged to actively participate in their site's community
  • Recommended: Attend work parties to maintain common areas, get to know your neighboring gardeners, respect fellow gardeners by maintaining your own plot, help others and ask for help when you need it

Tools & Equipment

  • Many sites supply a few gardening tools marked with a red handle and "Project Grow;" all sites supply hoses
  • Recommended: Use tools with care, return tools when not in use, notify your Site Coordinator or the Project Grow office when tools break, never discard hoses (leaks can be fixed!)

Water

  • Water costs are included in plot fees
  • Recommended: Hand-held hose attachments for precise watering, mulching to conserve water by holding in moisture; contacting your Site Coordinator or the  Project Grow office if there's a leak or water problem
  • Prohibited: Unattended garden watering, soaker hoses, hose timers

Closing Your Garden Plot

  • Gardeners must clean up plots (including perennial plots) at the end of each season (Project Grow will notify gardeners of each year's exact date - generally mid-October)
  • Required by Closing Day: Annual plots ready for plowing, free of all non-organic material (e.g. fencing, stakes) with vegetation cut to 1-foot lengths and scattered around the plot; perennial plots should be free from all non-organic materials that are not in use and have a neat appearance

PLEASE REMEMBER - We are guests on all properties where garden sites are located. Our members and gardeners represent Project Grow. Please be a good tenant and respectful of landowners and neighbors.