County Farm

The County Farm Garden is located behind the Washtenaw Recreation Building, within the County Farm Park. Entrance is through the parking lot off of Platt Road. It is Project Grow's oldest and largest garden site with 84 plots plus the Discovery Garden. A number of these plots are perennial. 

MAP OF GARDEN: County Farm Map

SITE COORDINATORS:   Karl Longstreth (karleric@umich.edu),  Janet Bourgon (jabourgon@gmail.com) and Sharon Fay (sfay1@att.net)

SOIL:  Section A - clay loam; pH 7.5.

Section B - sandy loam; pH 6.8

PARKING is available in the parking lot off of Platt Road. Do not drive on grassy areas or up the gravel road when unloading gardening items. Wheelbarrows are available to transport materials from the paved parking area. Please return them to the tool shed after use.

INDIVIDUAL PLOT MAINTENANCE:  All gardeners are responsible for keeping weeds down in their plots and along the adjacent pathways. Various mulches may be used in your garden to inhibit weed growth, conserve water, and promote a hospitable microclimate for plants and worms. If using plastic mulch, please cover it with an organic mulch. Marsh hay is usually available in the spring, delivered to the garden by a local grower for a reasonable fee.  A mass delivery is made during the Spring Garden Kickoff Day, marking the first day of the season at County Farm. Thereafter, individual deliveries can be requested, for a slightly higher per bale fee. For more information about marsh hay deliveries contact your site coordinator or the office.

The park is part of Washtenaw County parks & Recreation and adheres strictly to MIOSHA standards of safety.  All spray bottles, water jugs, unmarked bags of soil supplements, etc. MUST be labeled.

GARDEN MAINTENANCE:  The major perimeters of the garden are mowed by the County Parks Department only if we keep the area free from organic refuse and other debris and stones. Please pile rocks in designated areas only and away from aisles and plot edges...rocks break mower blades! Place organic waste in your own plot (they make great mulches) or take them home for composting by the city. Please do not make unofficial compost or weed piles outside of your garden.

Work parties, to maintain the interior pathways and perimeters immediately surrounding the gardens, to repair hoses and tools, and to keep the site in good condition, are held once a month.  Check the calendar posted on the bulletin board for work party dates.  All gardeners are expected to attend as part of your responsibility to the community.  Work parties generally last 2 hours, followed by a group meeting to discuss problems and enjoy refreshments.  It is a great way to meet your fellow gardeners and share gardening information.  Please do your part and participate!

TOOLS:  A limited supply of tools is kept in the tool shed located ion the south side of the entrance to the Discovery Garden. You will be supplied with the combination to the shed when you are assigned a plot here. Always return tools to the shed after use.  Damage to equipment is inevitable; if replacements become necessary, call your site coordinator. If you have tools that you wish to donate to the garden, feel free to put them into the shed and then notify the office.

ANIMALS:  Woodchucks, deer and other animals will visit this garden. If you fence, we recommend black/green plastic or wire fencing. Please do not use any orange plastic fencing.  For the best results, bury the fence 8" below ground and bend it away from the garden to stop animals digging underneath.

WATER:  Water is provided by the County from a well. While perfectly fine for watering your vegetables, it is not recommended for drinking.  Potable water is available from a drinking fountain under the pavillion (as are lavatories).  If you spot a leak in the hoses, either make the repairs yourself or notify your site coordinator. The water will be turned on after all danger of frost has passed and turned off prior to fall frost. To conserve water, we highly recommend mulching.

Watering of gardens is never to be unattended; hose timers are prohibited.

COMMUNICATION:  Watch the bulletin boards and feel free to use them to make announcements regarding garden business. Expect a few phone calls asking you to help out with volunteer tasks. In recent years, we have also used the garden group email list to make important announcements.  If you have not already notified us of your email address, let us know right away! Finally, e-newsletters will also contain important information about upcoming projects and events.

ABANDONED PLOTS:  Plots that have not been seriously worked by June 1st or are overgrown with weeds taller than 18” at any point in the season will be considered abandoned and will be reassigned or solarized. Contact your site coordinator or the office if you are having problems getting started or if you have to abandon your plot.

FALL CLEAN-UP:  Your plot must be cleared no later than the end of the day on Saturday, October 19th, 2013. If you have an annual plot, organic material should be chopped up and spread evenly across the area, to be plowed under later.  Diseased and all tomato plants, along with any trash, should be removed and placed in the dumpster provided by the county. Take home all non-organic material, i.e., fences, stakes, plastic, paper, etc. Failure to clean up your plot according to the guidelines set forth in the Member Handbook may result in expulsion from the garden.

Perennial plots must also be put to rest for the winter. County Farm Park has rigid expectations about the state of our perennial gardens over the winter (see Member Handbook Addendum CFP). In the fall, non-organic trash, along with diseased plants, should be disposed of in the dumpster, which will be provided specifically for fall clean-up; dead organic material should be removed or chopped up to compost in your plot. Perennial plants or annual plants that have not been killed by frost may remain. Failure to clean your plot according to the guidelines set forth in the Member Handbook may result in expulsion from the garden. If you know you will not be returning, take away your personal belongings and clear out your entire plot. It is helpful to notify the director also, as perennial plots are always in great demand.

Gardener Comments

Friendly neighbors, knowledgeable and beginning gardeners so it's really interesting to meet people and see what they are growing.