What is a Community Garden?
Quoting from Wikipedia:
A Community Garden is a piece of land gardened by a group of people. Community gardens provide access to fresh produce and plants as well as access to satisfying labor, neighborhood improvement, sense of community and connection to the environment. They are publicly functioning in terms of ownership, access and management, as well as typically owned in trust by local governments or nonprofits.
Community gardens encourage an urban community’s food security, allowing citizens to grow their own food or for others to donate what they have grown. The gardens also combat two forms of alienation that plague modern urban life, by bringing urban gardeners closer in touch with the source of their food, and by breaking down isolation by creating a social community. It has also been found that active communities experience less crime and vandalism
Who can I contact about the Community Gardens?
Steven Murray, Recreation Specialist I
Anchorage Parks and Recreation
1121 East 10th Ave. (Fairview Community Recreation Center)
Parks and Recreation General Information Line: 343-4474
What Is The Mission Of The Community Gardens?
Helping people grow food in and around the city!
Providing access to land, education and other resources necessary for community members of Anchorage and Girdwood, Alaska to grow food in environmentally sustainable ways as a means to creating a food system where locally produced, affordable, and nutritious food is available to all.
Where Community Gardens Are Located
“C” Street Community Gardens
C Street & W.19th Avenue
Number of Plots: 44
Size of Plots: Approximately 10’ X 20 '
Fairview Lions Park Community Gardens
E 8th Avenue & Karluk Street
Number of Plots: 16 (4 raised beds)
Size of Plots: (12) approximately 10’ X 20”; (4) approximately 10”X15”
McPhee Community Gardens
N. Pine Street & McPhee Street
Number of Plots: 50
Size of Plots: Approximately 10’ X 20’
How & Where Can I Rent A Plot?
All 2012 returning gardeners will have until Saturday, March 31st, 2013 to renew their annual contracts/plots. Returning gardeners must renew their plots at the Fairview Community Center located at 1121 E 10th Ave. If 2012 returning gardeners do not renew their contract/plots by Saturday, March 31st, their plot will become available to the public. This deadline exists to motivate our returning gardeners to re-commit to using their garden plot before the growing season begins so it does not go to waste! Our limit of two plots per household will be enforced.
The registration date for new gardeners for 2013 is Thursday, April 4th, 2013 beginning at 11:00 AM. If you rented a garden plot in past years but not in 2012, you are considered a new gardener. You must register for garden plots at the Parks and Recreation office listed below.
Fairview Recreation Center
1121 E 10th Avenue
Anchorage, AK 99501
Hours: Mon-Fri 11a-9p
Sat 12N-5p, Sun 10a-3p
What Are The Costs & Deposits For The Garden Plots?
There is a $35 plot rental fee for the first plot. Rental of a secondary garden plot will remain at $20, provided that you rent the second plot at the same time you rent the first plot. There is a limit of 2 garden plots per gardener in one season. Exception: Due to the limited number of garden plots at Fairview Lions Park Community Gardens only 1 plot is available per gardener.
What Is Provided At The Community Gardens?
Basic ingredients to a Community Garden (may be provided depending upon site):
- Community space on which to grow food, herbs and flowers; plot sizes vary site to site;
- Water for irrigation;
- Amenities such as picnic tables, parking, portable toilet, garbage cans, exterior boundary fencing, a shady spot or a play area all add greatly to the garden space. Amenities vary site to site;
- Plot monitoring by Parks and Recreation staff;
- First pick of your plot year after year.
When Can I Start Planting?
Work can begin on your plot no earlier than the Monday, April 22, 2013. The planting deadline for plots is June 3rd. Plots that remain unplanted by the June 3rd planting deadline are assumed abandoned and will be forfeited without a refund.
The minimum requirements to “getting started” include: weeding, planting or working the soil in preparation for planting, and pathway clean-up.
Water to the gardens will be made available during the growing season as weather conditions allow (steady temperatures above 32 degrees). The projected annual turn on date is May 15th.
How Often Should I Work On My Garden?
Remember, gardens take time. Please try to be realistic about the commitment that you are about to make. Gardeners must perform a minimum of 3- 5 hours of service per plot each week to keep on top of a growing garden. Gardeners should be aware that all municipal park hours are from 6a-11p and planting activity should remain within those hours.
By June 12th, there should be marked progress toward a productive garden. This work should include: at least half the plot is worked, removal or maintenance of weeds, establishing and caring for plants, continued pathway maintenance.
By June 21st, there should be gardening activity and weeding in the entire plot. Weeds must not be any taller than 6 inches for our work crews to assess your garden maintenance. At all times, the garden plot should be kept clean and free from debris, weeds and large rocks. Weeds become a major complaint of neighbors and other visitors and are the leading cause of plot forfeiture.
When Is Harvest & Garden Clean Up?
At the end of the growing season, gardeners must level and clean their plots. Clean up your plot, as well as the walkway directly around your plot by removing dead plants, rocks, temporary supports (fencing), and other debris. The projected annual shut off of the water is mid-September. The clean up deadline is September 22th.
Gardeners whose plots remain with debris at the end of the year will be notified of a violation. The gardener will have 5 working days to clean up the plot. If the plot remains with debris the gardener forfeit their plot(s) for the following year.
What Is Garden Etiquette***?
Gardening Courtesy and Communication
One of the main goals in community gardening is to work together or next to each other in relative harmony. Please be courteous in all interactions and work together to resolve any disagreements. Contact Steve Murray at 343-4130 for guideline clarifications or plot delineation. Parks and Recreation Staff will check plots often to encourage productive use by all participants. Gardeners, make arrangements for plot maintenance by a friend if you will be away for more than a week.
Keeping a “Clean and Green” Garden!
Your garden plot must be planted, maintained, or mulched, and stay within its boundaries. You may not grow soil only in your garden plot - that is not gardening. You must have produce or plants in your plots. Plots may not be consistently weedy, untended or filled with debris. Gardeners are expected to spend 3-5 hours per week, on average, tending the plot during the growing season. Keeping a “Clean and Green” garden area helps to create an enjoyable place to work for all gardeners and is a delight to the community to see!
***Modeled after Portland Oregon’s Community Garden Etiquette Standards
What Are The Community Garden Rules & Guidelines?
Rules and Guidelines…all gardens have them. They address issues such as abandoned plots, weeds, parking, etc. These guidelines help make sure all of our gardens are child friendly and good family places to be! Have a fun and productive growing experience this season. Thank you for your cooperation and support of all of the following:
1. Respect of Municipal Property
Do: Respect your neighbor’s garden and the rights of the community residents as well as appreciate the fact that this land has been made available by the Municipality of Anchorage Parks and Recreation Department.
Do: Follow all rules and guidelines and keep your area maintained.
Do: Dump garden waste in the appropriate garbage bins at your garden site. Our parks, greenbelts and wooded areas are not a place for garden weeds, as weeds can be invasive, destroying our natural vegetation.
2. What to Grow?
Do: Plant vegetables, herbs, flowers and small fruit plants for home consumption.
Do: Donate your produce if you will not use it.
Don’t: Use your garden plot to make soil. Community garden plots are to be used for produce or plants only.
Don’t: Plant trees or other plants that shade adjacent plots.
3. Stakes (Plot Markers)
Do: Adhere to the plot markers that are placed in each corner of each garden plot. All garden work is to be done within these markers.
Don’t: Touch or remove the plot marker stakes when gardening or tilling.
Don’t: Extend your garden past the plot makers or into designated pathways.
Do: Keep any garden structures (supporting posts, etc.) to a height of 4-6 feet tall and 4-feet wide, and do keep it in the center of your garden plot. These structures do tend to shade neighboring plots from early and late day sunshine; often-times robbing your neighbor’s garden of needed sunlight, especially in early spring and late fall.
Don’t: Place greenhouses in the community gardens as they may block sunlight from your neighboring plots.
Don’t: Place your gates so that they will block the designated pathway or other plot access. Gates may not swing into the designated walkways.
Don’t: Use any type of door as gates for your plot. They are unsightly and may rob your neighboring plots of sun.
Don’t: Lock your gates.
Do: Keep your fencing within the plot markers. Fencing that is outside the plot markers and fencing that blocks walkways will be removed.
Do: Use only 4-6 foot wire fencing and metal or composite posts to surround your plot.
Don’t: Use twigs, branches, etc. for fencing around your garden plot. This is unsafe as it creates an impalement hazard. Hazardous fences and fences not meeting height and/or material requirements will be removed from the garden plots.
Don’t: Use visquene, sheets, plastic sheets, tarps, orange snow fencing, etc. This will keep the community gardens a beautiful and inviting place for your fellow gardeners and the neighborhood.
Don’t: Use flags and other types of flagging in the gardens. Keep the decorating of the garden up to your plants!
6. Walkway Maintenance
Do: Be responsible for half of the pathway(s) surrounding your plot. These walkways must remain at their original width and free from weeds and other obstructions.
Don’t: Place fencing or gates in the walkway (remember you have to stay within the plot markers) or have your fencing or gates blocking walkways. Fencing that is in the walkways or blocking walkways will be removed. Gates may not swing into the walkway.
Don’t: Have plants growing into the paths or hanging over the paths.
Don’t: Store items in the walkways (equipment and garden refuse can be stored temporarily while the garden is being tended).
7. Water and Waterlines
Do: Conserve water. Keep your hoses leak-proof.
Do: Be courteous and limit your use of watering time when others require water or keep in mind to water when few other gardeners are present.
Do: Be considerate of the neighboring gardens when watering your plot and do not drag hoses over neighboring gardens.
Do: Be aware of where the water lines are before you till or dig, especially if using motorized equipment. You are to notify Steven Murray at 343-4130 immediately if you clip a waterline. If you clip a waterline, it is your full responsibility to pay for the repairs.
Don’t: Drink the water, wash vehicles, etc.
8. Chemical Use/Organic Gardens
DO: Let us know if you need and want information on organic gardening.
Don’t: Use chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. They are prohibited in our community gardens, walkways, and grassy areas.
Do: Use the designated parking area provided, or (in some cases) legal street side parking areas only. Driving into the garden is prohibited.
10. Harvest & Charity
Do: Harvest your crops once they have matured. This may keep the frequency of “free-pickers” from entering the gardens in search of ripe produce. It will also minimize excess waste and garden rot.
Do: Contact Steven Murray at 343-4130 if you cannot harvest your plot, and staff can contact a local nonprofit group to do it. If you have extra crops and you would like to share with the community, please see our link to: Donation/Food-Giving List (PDF)
Do: Pick up litter from the pathways and common areas. This will contribute to the health and cleanliness of the entire garden.
Don’t: Throw rocks or other heavy items into the garbage cans. They make it difficult to empty out the garbage can.
Don’t: Throw weeds and rocks over the fence.
Do: Teach your children the many benefits of gardening.
Do: Work to keep our gardens child friendly, make every effort to see that children respect the neighboring garden plots, walkways, and other gardeners.
Do: Keep your pets at home. Pets are prohibited from the community garden. In the parking area, dogs are to remain on-leash (Municipal Ordinance). Animal waste and urine from pets are often detrimental to gardens and produce.
14. Tools and Power Equipment
Do: Bring your own seeds, gardening tools, hoses, etc. for your plots. Small power equipment (power tillers) must be run by adults only. Power is not provided for electric equipment.
15. Sale of Grown Goods
Don’t: Sell your produce grown through this program. Produce cannot be for commercial use and may not be sold.
16. Moose, Vandals and Other Garden Pests
Do: Be aware that this does happen. There is very little we can do about the occasional marauding moose and free pickers. Some gardens will have fencing that still will not keep the stubborn moose away, however will provide some security from these hungry wanderers.
Do: Get to know your neighbors and keep and eye on the community garden. Security of the garden plots from vandalism will be the responsibility of the gardeners.
Don’t: Lock access gates to your garden plot.
17. Vacations or Plot Abandonment
Do: Call Steven Murray at 343-4130 if you have to leave town on vacation, and may not be attending your plot for a short time. Or, if you must leave town for an extended period of time and need to abandon your garden, please let us know as soon as possible to close out your paperwork and deposit.
18. Notification of Violations
Do: Following all the above guidelines should keep you free from receiving violation notifications. Ignorance of these guidelines will not be an excuse to receiving a violation. This will also ensure that everyone will have a successful and enjoyable gardening season. Failure to maintain your garden plot in an attractive manner, and after due warning, could result in forfeiture of your gardening privileges. Please read our policy below:
A written notice of the violation will both be posted in your plot and mailed to the address given on your rental agreement. The gardener will have 5 days to correct the problem. If there is no response to the warning and letter, your plot, plot fee and deposit will be forfeited for the year.
What About Volunteering?
Volunteer – it’s easy! We look for volunteers that can give as little as a day, or as much as an entire summer in helping out with our Community Garden Program, special garden events or programs, up-keeping any unused plots or even teaching your own gardening class! For information on how to volunteer, please contact our volunteer coordinator office at 343-4587.
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