Community Gardens

The Community Gardens is a tapestry of diverse cultural food traditions serving people from within Prairie Crossing and the wider community. 

Enjoy sun and fresh air, get exercise, eat your own fresh food, and delight in your own flowers, all by gardening. 

Gardeners rent their plots for a year at a time and can renew or change plots at the end of each season. The grown produce is the sole property of the grower.

Community gardening requires consideration and cooperation. Community Garden members must agree to a set of shared requirements. We encourage everyone’s success by keeping the overall garden soil and area healthy, conveniently accessible, and as weed-free as possible.

How to Get Involved

Growers of varied experience rent garden plots and use organic techniques to grow their own food. 

The rental fee includes access to water, compost and wood chips, and the administrative and perimeter maintenance cost.

2024 Prices:
Full plot size is about 24’ x 22’; there is some variation. The fee is $140. Half-plot size is about 12’ x 22’; these, too, vary somewhat. The fee is $75.

Registration for the 2024 growing season is closed. Registration for 2025 will open this coming fall.

    The Prairie Crossing Community Gardens are located on the east side of Harris Road, near the horse stable.  The soil is fertile but heavy. You can keep it healthy by using organic methods.

    Parking is along Harris Road, the mowed (west) side closest to the Yellow Farmhouse. For safety of pedestrians, bikers and horses, parking is not allowed on the walkways and grass areas near the gardens.

    Our gardens have shaded areas for resting and picnics. The irrigation water is not suitable for drinking. A porta-potty is located on the farm west of Harris Road, near the Tornado Barn.

    The location of each garden space is indicated on the Community Garden map.

    Our gardening operation is a community service by Liberty Prairie. We strive to keep it self-sustaining.

    1. Considerable administrative work is involved in operating the community gardens. This is a cost to the Liberty Prairie and service to the community.
    2. We have two gardening areas, two water spigots, two compost piles (in spring) and one mulch pile.
    3. Water is expensive. If someone leaves a spigot open, a hose breaks overnight, or a hose leaks, it’s a disaster. Water access from the main hose to your plot is your responsibility.
    4. Compost is also expensive. The Prairie Crossing Homeowner Association pays for a portion of it and the revenue from the garden rentals pays for a portion. Compost, organic grass clippings and leaf mulch will keep your garden plot healthy and productive; it doesn’t take much!
    5. Plot demarcations are not as accurate as desirable. Between seasons we sometimes try to make some corrections/improvements.
    6. Mowing around the gardens is necessary and done by a contractor; note that it will kill your plants if they “drift” outside the markers.
    7. Gardeners who let weeds go to seed cause problems for themselves and others. After reminders we may cancel the rental and allow a new gardener to care for the plot.
    8. Given the interest in gardening, two full-size plots are the maximum for any one family.

    The following is what all community gardeners agree to by renting a plot.

    1. For sustainability, keep it organic: Commercial chemical pesticides or herbicides are not allowed. Any materials (e.g., chemical fertilizer, soap-based pest solutions) must be applied in a way that does not infringe on anyone else’s garden and produce.
    2. Demarcation: Gardeners will ensure that the metal stakes denoting their plot corners stay in place, and that their tools and equipment stay inside their plot.
    3. Basic care: Gardeners will keep their plot reasonably neat through the season and take care to prevent flowering weeds, crab grass, and shrubs or trees from spreading to walkways and other plots. Tools that are left are subject to “disappearance.” Don’t leave tools lying on the ground: they will get dirty, develop rough handles and rust.
    4. Walkways: The walkways are to be kept weed free, level, and at the correct width (3’), for everyone’s convenience. Don’t let your perennials and weeds encroach. Putting landscape cloth on the paths is a good idea. Covering that or the bare earth with wood chips is a requirement. The wood chips are available near the gardens. We hope that adjacent gardeners cooperate as good neighbors in keeping the walkways around their plots neat.
    5. Can’t garden after all? We understand that various “things happen.” Gardeners who cannot maintain their plot through the season or decide to abandon it for any reason, should inform the Garden Coordinator ASAP so it can be offered to someone else. If other gardeners complain about weed flight, after two warnings the rental may be canceled, and the plot offered to someone else.
    6. Garden waste: Compostable (plant) waste must be placed within 4 cones placed near the gardens, to be removed by our staff occasionally. Don’t leave it in walkways or the perimeter, and not on/near the compost and wood chip piles. Don’t leave on your plot either, as it breeds plant disease directly and via the soil.
    7. Tools & materials: To prevent safety hazards, all tools, equipment and supplies must stay off the walkways and off the garden perimeter. Stand them up inside your plot to minimize damage. Take old fencing, tomato cages and other materials you don’t want any more home.
    8. Water is available from a nearby spigot. The main hoses are to benefit everyone. It is important to keep them in good shape, and to leave them lying along the edge of the main pathway so others can easily connect their own hose. Turn off the main faucet after use to prevent water waste and burst hoses.
    9. Compost is available to all gardeners in the spring. Gardeners are requested to use it sparingly: a 1” cover is lots!
    10. Mulching: Leaf mulch or grass clippings on your plot are welcome. Plastic mulch and landscape cloth on the plot must be removed at the end of the season (October/November). Newspaper mulch is not acceptable as it is non-organic and tends to fly away. Chemically treated mulch and wood mulch is not acceptable on the plot.
    11. Season start: Gardeners whose plots are confirmed for the season can work the soil in late fall and as soon as it is dry enough in spring. Tilling or digging by hand will loosen the soil and reduce early weed growth. Ideally: till/dig once, then apply compost/leaf mulch, then till/dig again. This is also the time to take out any grass/crab grass and to suffocate weeds/grass around your plot with a fresh layer of wood chips.
    12. End of season: Renewal reminders are generally sent prior to the next year. First come, first served. The garden coordinator may inspect the gardens before renewals are actually granted. People who don’t meet the above requirements will be notified; they have a chance to catch up.

    Gardeners should clean up their plot in late fall and re-cover any walkway weeds around their plot with wood chips. This maintenance benefits everyone. It is also good to dig or till your plot, and/or put a cover crop on it in fall. This is an ecologically sound practice since it aerates the soil and feeds it (and the earth worms!) with the turned-under weeds over winter. Remove your equipment and supplies for the winter. Otherwise they will spoil or disappear.

    Common space: The little hut in the East Garden can provide momentary shelter as needed. Garden chairs and a picnic table can be set up under the shade tree. These and the garden hoses are stored in the hut over winter. Please do not keep personal equipment there: it is not safe there, it clutters the tiny space, and it invites mice.

    Invaders: Sometimes people wander in, assuming they can just take some of the produce. If you suspect that, introduce yourself, ask their name, which is their plot, and where they live. Let the coordinator know ASAP. If it’s true you have just met another gardener – good! If not, the person is warned by your scrutiny and the coordinator will take further action.

    Parking, again: Gardeners can park along Harris Road close to the gardens, and at the north side of the Horse Stable parking lot. Driving and parking on the walkways and grass near the gardens is not permitted.