Community Garden Handbook

Mission & Vision

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 3,100 pounds of produce to local food banks in 2016.  All levels of gardeners are welcome to join!


Growing Together - Duke Farms Community Garden from Duke Farms on Vimeo.


Community Garden Sold Out

All 2017 plots are sold out. Please check back in 2018.


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.


Participation Requirements

Gardeners are required to fulfill the following 5 obligations annually in order to maintain ownership of garden plot(s):

1. EMAIL: Maintain a valid email address. This will be the primary form of communication between staff and gardeners.  


2. 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.


3. 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.


4. WEEDS: Keep your plot(s) weeded and well maintained including arranging for plot care during periods of absence.


5. 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)

Upcoming Programs & Announcements


Opening Day!

Saturday, 4/15/2017


A fun way to start your gardening season and meet you garden neighbors.  Staff, volunteers and visiting experts will be on site to help you get your plot ready for a productive year.  There will be tours, prizes, neighborhood meetups, a raised bed workshop and more!


No registration required.  See you there!




Square foot garden team


Lead: Stan Layton, Garden Coordinator


Pre-requisite: Attendance at the "Square Foot Gardening" course (attended in either 2015, 2016 or attend this year on 4/22/17)


Description: Under the guidance of Stan, the Square Foot Gardening Team will plan, plant, tend and harvest plot 65G, the square foot gardening plot. All produce will be donated to the Garden Donation Program.


First meetup: Saturday, April 22 @2pm (after the Square Foot Gardening class)


To get involved: Please register for the first meetup


Eventbrite - Square Foot Organic Gardening Team




Seed saving team


Lead: Sandy Simpson, Garden Docent


Pre-requisite: Attendance at the "Basics of Seed Saving" course (spring 2017, date TBD) or participation in the "Community Seeds" program in 2015


Description: The "Basics of Seed Saving" course will lead participants through the procedure of producing and collecting your own true-to-type seeds from plants in your garden. After this course, gardeners will put to practice these seed saving techniques in their own garden plots. Sandy can assist in choosing varieties or laying out your garden for best seed saving results. Team members will meet throughout the season to share strategies and harvest seeds. There will be an end of season workshop on cleaning and storing the seeds. This team is appropriate for all levels of gardeners interested in experimenting with seed saving.


First meetup: TBD


To get involved: Please email Sandy at to get involved in this garden team.



Garden Assistance Hours

Stan and/or Melissa will be in the garden during these regular times beginning on March 2. For alternate hours, please contact them to schedule in advance.  Please schedule bulk deliveries during these times with at least 24 hours’ notice.


March Hours:

Every Thursday 10am-12pm

Saturday 3/18 and 3/25, 9am-12pm

Regular Hours, beginning April 1st:

Monday, Wednesday 5pm-sunset

Thursdays 10am-2pm

Saturday 9am-1pm


Additional hours by appointment

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