Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of the most common questions we receive from our garden managers. Don’t see your question here? Shoot us an email and we can help you out!

How can I encourage gardeners to come to meetings?
  • Make your meeting a potluck! Food is always an excellent motivator as are other giveaways like free seeds and gardening materials.
  • Make sure that meetings are successful and gardeners stay engaged and participate in decision making by checking our meeting planning guide here.
  • Some larger gardens require gardeners to attend a specific number of meetings per year or else they will receive a penalty such as paying an extra $5 in garden fees or doing extra garden chores.

How can I communicate with gardeners who speak a different language than me?
  • Make sure all signs in the garden are translated into the languages the gardeners speak.
  • Consider reaching out to another gardener you know or a friend who may be available to translate for you.
  • Have translators present at garden meetings to help work through conflict.
  • Try writing the problem down simply or drawing a picture of the problem.
  • When you talk to them in English remain calm, speak slowly, check to see that they understand and be patient!
  • If you still need help finding a translator or communicating with other gardeners, contact the Gardens Project.

How do I resolve a conflict?

How do we attract new gardeners to our garden?
  • First talk with current gardeners to see if they have any friends or family members who might want a plot.
  • Next create a flyer to hang around the garden and pass out to those living near the garden. Also consider passing out flyers at your local garden supply stores, at farmer’s markets and to local organizations.
  • The Gardens Project can help you advertise on our website and Facebook page, but you can also check out our lists of local publications to see if they can run an ad for you.

How do I plan a workday?
  • Please see our guide to planning workdays and events on our Garden Manager Guides Page. Make sure to send us the details of your event so we can put it on our website and Facebook page.

How do we recruit outside volunteers for a workday?
  • Talk with your gardeners to see if they have friends or family members who might have the skills and ability to help out.
  • Ask service organizations, school groups or others in need of community service if they can help out.
  • The Gardens Project can give you a list of local groups and individuals who have volunteered in the past.
How do I manage water conservation in the garden?
  • Make sure that everyone in the garden is informed about water conserving techniques such as those listed here. Hold a water conservation workshop each spring as a refresher.
  • Print out a copy of the water bill. Explain to gardeners that if the water bill gets too high, fees will go up.
  • Encourage gardeners to use personal water meters on their hoses when they water so that they can learn how much water they are using. A few water meters can be purchased collectively and shared among gardeners.
  • Monitor plots and talk to gardeners who seem to be watering excessively. Make sure that they understand the need to conserve and the consequences for disobeying.
  • Hold a contest among gardeners or between other community gardens to see who can reduce their usage the most.

What do I do if the irrigation breaks?
  • Shut off the water using the main garden shutoff valve. Next identify where the leak is.
  • If the leak is above ground, you should see water spraying or leaking out of a pipe, faucet or drip irrigation piece.
  • Identify what needs to be fixed and replace the broken pieces with new pieces. If you are unsure how to do so, call someone who does or the Gardens Project and we can show you how.
  • If the leak is under ground, you might experience low water pressure and should see wet muddy, squishy soil that does not dry out above the site of the break.
  • Confirm that there is a crack in the irrigation by digging into the wet soil. Keep digging until you find the irrigation line and follow it until you find the crack or leak. The PVC pipes will need to be cut out and replaced with new ones. If you are unsure how to do so, call someone who does or the Gardens Project and we can show you how.

How do I deal with theft and vandalism in the garden?
  • Hold a garden meeting to discuss the issue and ensure that there are no misunderstandings about the rules of conduct and ensure that members are behaving accordingly including locking up tools, locking up the garden and respecting each other’s plots and community property. Additionally, have gardeners brainstorm prevention strategies.
  • If the theft is of vegetables, consider planting a plot of community vegetables along the edge of the fence or outside the garden that anyone can take or leave a “free box” outside the gate where gardeners can leave extra veggies for those in need.
  • If theft or vandalism is severe, report it to the police and neighborhood watch as well as the Gardens Project.
  • Check out this list of tips from the American Community Garden Association to prevent future problems. Additional tips can be found here from Seattle's P-Patch Community Garden program.
How do we raise money for a project?
  • Ask local businesses for donations of money or items that you need
  • Hold a crowdfunding campaign for a specific goal or project on a site like Kickstarter, Indie GoGo or Go Fund Me
  • Hold an event such as a garden tour or benefit dinner
  • Apply for grants such as the ones listed here by the American Community Garden Association
  • More ideas from the Vermont Community Garden Association can be found here
  • Let the Gardens Project know if you need help!

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