Airport

Airport Garden is a perennial garden with 36 plots. The site is located within the grounds of the Ann Arbor Municipal Airport, to the south of the runways and north of the woods.

Enter the garden via the locked (you will receive the combination for the lock once  you have been confirmed for a plot here) and gated gravel road off the west side of S. State Rd., approximately half a mile south of Ellsworth Road and just beyond the private hangars. A Project Grow sign denotes the proper entry way.  This is the only entrance permitted to gardeners.  DO NOT enter the garden through any other means, especially not the airport or runways--this is very, very dangerous. Please lock the gate behind you. FAA regulations stipulate that this gate always remain locked. Follow the sign and pump stations to the garden area at the end of the road.

MAP OF GARDEN: Airport map

SITE COORDINATOR: Eric Meves (ericmeves@gmail.com)

SOIL: Texture is called organic; pH is 7.0.  The soil at Airport is the loosest in structure of all the garden sites.  It is black, deep, and rock-free, which makes it especially excellent for growing root vegetables. However, part of the site is surprisingly nutrient poor and suppliments may be needed. The soil tends to dry out quickly, so a thick layer of mulch is highly recommended.  

2010 soil testing shows Airport's soil has a pH of 7.8 which is slightly alkaline. The judicious use of elemental sulfur is an acceptable and effective way to lower the pH. Airport's soil is a whopping 38% organic matter!  Organic soils are usually found in areas with a high water table and the Airport garden is low-lying, making it susceptible to spring soaks and late frosts which can delay planting if weather conditions are not cooperative (we recommend planting warm season crops like tomatoes and peppers after June 1).  

SPECIAL CONDITIONS:  Care needs to be taken to rid the garden of comfrey, a great source of nitrogen when composted, but an invasive menace otherwise. Contact the site coordinator if you would like all or part of your garden tilled if the weeds have gotten out of control. The garden is in a particularly low-lying, frost-prone area of Ann Arbor, which can delay spring planting or threaten fall crops.  The loose soil, private location, and often being able to pull your vehicle right up to your plot to make deliveries of bulking and heavy materials are advantages.

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 micro-climate for plants and worms. Marsh hay is usually available in the spring, delivered to the garden from a local grower for a reasonable fee. If interested in learning more about marsh hay deliveries or for more information about mulching, contact your site coordinator. Contact the site coordinator if your plot has gotten too weedy and you would like all or part of it tilled.

GARDEN MAINTENANCE: Please take home all paper, plastic, and other non bio-degradable material. Help make the gardens beautiful this summer by maintaining your own plot and keeping the gardens free from debris, etc. If you would like to help with path mowing, please contact the site coordinator

WATER: An underground plastic pipe from a city-metered hydrant carries water to faucets on the central pathway. The water is turned on at the end of May and turned off around Labor Day. Please try to conserve water by mulching well and watering only when necessary. If you spot a leak in the hose lines, either make the repairs yourself or notify the site coordinator.  Please do not just ignore it, so that water is wasted. Watering of gardens should never be unattended; hose timers are prohibited.

COMPOSTING:  Any organic waste generated during the growing season may be tilled into the soil, placed in a designated compost area on-site, or taken home for composting by the city.  However, diseased plants should always be removed from the site, to minimize the presence of pathogens in the gardens. 

TOOLS: A supply of tools is kept in the shed. Always return tools to the shed after use. If you have any tools that you wish to donate to the garden, feel free to put them in the shed and then notify the office.

WARNINGS/PROBLEMS:  The Airport is low and open, making it susceptible to late spring and early fall frosts. Plant warm season crops like tomatoes and peppers after June 1. Never touch or climb on the airplanes and do not walk or drive on the runways. 

ANIMALS:  Deer and rabbits will visit this garden.  However, they have not been a serious problem, so that few of the gardeners put up fencing. If you do fence, we recommend black or green plastic or wire fencing (remember to remove this at the end of the season!). Fencing a small area so that a deer would have trouble jumping into it seems to work best. (They can easily jump over a 6-ft fence otherwise.)

COMMUNICATIONS: We will email gardeners the gate and shed combinations when they are assigned a garden, and send other information periodically.

ABANDONED PLOTS:  Plots that have not been seriously gardened by June 1st or are overgrown with weeds taller than 18" at any point in the season might be considered abandoned. We would contact you if we think we might have to till and reassign your garden. 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:  Even though the Airport garden is perennial, your plot should be prepared for the winter. You may leave fall crops standing to harvest through the fall, but otherwise please clean up your plot according to the guidelines set forth in the Member Handbook or contact the site coordinator to make other arrangements. Pull out dead annuals and weeds or cut them to the ground. Cut non-infected plant materials into 12 inch pieces, compost in your plot or spread on your garden. Remove all tomatoes and diseased or once infected materials from your plot and discard at home. Remove stakes, trellises, tomato cages, etc. that are not in use and take them with you. Take home all inorganic material (i.e. watering jugs, plastic bags, fences, etc. ) Clean up and weed pathways within and around your plot. .

Gardener Comments and Suggestions

  • Beautifully loose soil, however it makes it easy for weeds to grow so I would suggest definitely mulching. 
  • Mosquitoes, need for amendments to the soil, despite how rich it looks.
  • The soil at Airport has a great texture but it is really poor, depleted soil.