Duke Farms opened a 240-plot Community Garden in Spring 2011 to provide people with the opportunity to grow healthy produce in a way that is friendly to the environment. To meet increased demands for space, the garden was expanded to 462 plots in 2014 and is now the largest allotment-style community garden in the country. Our gardeners practice organic, sustainable methods such as no-till gardening, building soil biology and the use of natural mulches for water conservation.
As part of the Duke Farms Education Program, the Community Garden offers a wide variety of educational opportunities such as classroom lectures, “walk and talk” sessions and hands-on workshops. We support a robust “Giving Garden” program which donated over 1,600 pounds of produce to local food banks in 2015. All levels of gardeners are welcome to join!
Each garden plot is privately maintained by individual renters. Individuals who live and/or work in Somerset County, New Jersey are eligible to participate; commercial enterprises are not eligible to apply. Plots are rented on a first come, first served basis. New gardeners are restricted to 1 plot in their first year of gardening. Returning gardeners may rent a maximum of 3 plots and will have the opportunity to renew the same plot(s) each year should they wish to.
Plot sizes/Annual Fee
Garden plots are available in three sizes: 10 x 10 feet for an annual fee of $20; 15 x 15 feet for $40, and 15 x 30 feet for $60.
Each gardener is responsible for the maintenance and regular upkeep of their plot, including keeping the plot weed free and harvesting ripe produce. The Duke Farms Community Garden is open all year, subject to weather, with water available on site between March and October. Garden plots are offered in AS IS condition and need to be prepared each season by the participating gardener using strictly organic amendments (NO chemical fertilizers or pesticides will be allowed). Gardeners will also be responsible for providing their own seeds or plants and must use their own garden tools to tend their plots.
Gardeners are required to fulfill the following 5 obligations annually in order to maintain ownership of garden plot(s):
- EMAIL: Maintain a valid email address. This will be the primary form of communication between staff and gardeners.
- CONTINUING EDUCATION: Attend 1 gardening course of your choice through Duke Farms or another suitable vendor. Record title & date in the Gardener Log Book. NOTE: First year gardeners must complete 3 courses total: Orientation, Intro to Organic Gardening & a course of your choice.
- VOLUNTEER: Complete 4 hours of volunteer time at Duke Farms for your first garden plot, plus 1 hour for each additional plot. Record hours in the Gardener Log Book.
- WEEDS: Keep your plot(s) weeded and well maintained including arranging for plot care during periods of absence.
- GO ORGANIC!: Use only OMRI (organic materials review institute) or organic approved materials in your plot(s).
Please also review all safety, security and conduct expectations as stated in the Duke Farms Community Garden Handbook. (The handbook is available by download HERE or you may request a hard copy.)
Phone number for security for reporting trapped wildlife: 908-722-3700 (dial 0 after the prompt)