WELCOME TO THE PAYSON COMMUNITY GARDEN.
This WELCOME PACKET contains general information about the garden, garden policies1 and guidelines to assist you in becoming a successful gardener and member of the community garden. These guidelines are in addition to your garden agreement. Following them helps everyone work in harmony with the many gardeners and various activities in the Community Garden. Please read the information and refer to it first, whenever you have questions. Your cooperation is appreciated.
1 Information provided is accurate for spring 2022 opening but may change as growing conditions change. As a community garden our staff members are there to help you with your gardening experience. We will answer questions, give tips on better ways to grow your garden and lend a helping hand if needed.
Some Things You Should Know
Organic Garden – We are organic gardeners, only! We view our gardens as part of a whole system which includes the water supply, people, wildlife and even insects. We do not use chemically based synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Organic gardeners work with natural systems and continually build up the soil to provide healthy growing conditions for plants.
Individual Gardener Agreement – It is important that you understand the Garden Agreement that you signed. Read your Garden Contract in its entirety.
Gardening Classes – Classes are now available online. Please view the classes for gardening information presented by local experts.
Web Site – Our website is available for all gardeners at:
E-mails –– E-mails are the most efficient way to notify you of changes at the garden.
Garden Care – Plan to visit your garden at least two or three times a week throughout the season. Neglected gardens are not productive and produce weeds that affect other gardens.
Garden Site Map – shows general location of roads, rows, tools, sheds, etc. East-West rows are labeled alphabetically, A, B, C and North-South rows are labeled numerically, 1, 2, and 3. A-K is on the west side, and L-U is on the East side of the center driveway. Row one on both sides is closest to the entrance. Visit this garden site map for a general overview of the garden.
Hours of Operation – Scheduled open garden hours will be posted for the month, but may vary depending on weather. We open March 5, 2022, and will be open 8 am to 6 pm each Saturday in March. Weekday hours begin in April and continue through October. Please check the garden hours on the bottom of the home page. We are always closed on Sundays.
Garden may be closed due to weather usually during the monsoon season with heavy rain and especially lightning. For your safety, you will be asked to leave the garden if lightning threatens. If staff asks you to leave, please do so quickly. You may sign up to receive a “text” alert when the garden is closed due to weather or other emergencies.
The garden closes for the season on October 29, 2022. All gardeners must have gardens and aisles cleaned up and all items removed from the garden for the winter except for boxes, heavy ridged metal trellises and large cages, which must be secured firmly. All temporary trellises and covers, tomato “teepee” style cages, posts, containers, buckets and miscellaneous items should leave the garden.
Parking – Please, no parking in front of any gates, all the way to the street, to keep the driveway cleared for heavy equipment. You may only drive into the garden if you have a temporary physical disability and cannot carry your items into the garden, or, if you have heavy items to unload. You must then move your car back to the parking lot immediately after unloading. Use extreme caution for the safety of all gardeners.
Garden Staff will be happy to answer your questions.
Your garden dimensions are 6’ x 25’ x 1′ high, separated by 3 ft. walkways. The walkways are community space and must be kept weed free by the gardener, mulched with wood chips and clear of tripping hazards, including rocks, sticks, tools and hoses.
Purchased additives that do not include “Organic” or “OMRI” on the packaging are not allowed for use in the garden. (Please bring the packaging with you to show staff). This means no chemical pesticides or fertilizers.
Tilling may be requested ONCE per year in the spring, if your garden is accessible (some aren’t). All the amendments you are adding to your garden should be in your garden and raked out. For the safety of the equipment operators gardens containing rocks, stepping stones and other hazards are not eligible for tilling. When you are ready – sign up at the garden shed.
No household garbage additions to the soil, except coffee grounds are permitted. If in doubt, ask!
Please do not use wagons or wheelbarrows on the south walkways (walkways containing the plumbing); use the north side of your garden so you don’t damage the automatic watering system. Do not block access to your yellow automatic water connection—it may need repair during the season. If your connection to the automatic system is damaged please report it promptly.
Raised beds– if wish to build a raised bed please contact the staff prior to building.
We have a portable bathroom and a dumpster for your use.
Usable garden items may be donated to other gardeners by placing them in the back, northwest corner ( known as the “store”) of the garden.
Rocks removed from your garden may be placed along the base of the garden fence.
Do not hang or attach items on the perimeter garden fence.
Empty wagons and brush off dirt before returning them to the tool area.
Secure all items in your garden against strong spring winds, monsoon wind and rain, and dust devils. Bungee cords work well for attaching plastic lids to garbage cans.
All decorations, containers, and tools must be stored inside your garden boundaries, not in aisles.
Please do not use garden address markers (green stakes) to secure or support anything.
VACATIONS – Ask a “garden neighbor” or friend to help keep an eye on your garden while you are away. If a friend from outside the garden is watching your garden, please inform a staff member. If your garden has produce to harvest, ask your garden neighbor or friend to make sure the produce is harvested. If that is not possible put your name and dates on the “pick list” and it will be harvested for the food banks. (Do not plan for the pick list volunteers to do your harvesting – it is your responsibility.)
GARDEN ETIQUETTE – Keep your plants within your garden boundaries. Don’t touch or harvest others’ plants without permission.
Put the Community Garden tools back when not in use. Return hand tools to the garden shed. All purple garden tools live at the south end of the garden and yellow garden tools live at the north end of the garden. Read the labels on the rack to place tools in their proper places. Please report broken tools to staff member on duty so repairs can be made.
BUILDING CODE – Aisles in between gardens are to be 3 feet wide. Please no furniture, barrels or structures of any kind in the aisles. These items must be kept within your garden boundaries, and secured for everyone’s safety. Please keep rocks, sticks, hoses, and tools out of the walkways to prevent tripping hazards.
TILLING / FERTILIZING – You have stewardship over your garden. The preparation of your garden for planting is your responsibility. We have qualified tiller operators that will till your garden if your garden is prepared. Clear it of all items that may be in the way of the tiller or operator, remove any visible rocks, wire or metal pins, string, or other items that may get caught in the tiller tines. All the desired amendments must to be added and raked in before tilling and before you put your name on the list at the garden shed. Tilling is available ONCE per year, in the spring, and only if your garden is accessible (some aren’t).
Tilling is offered as a courtesy to the gardeners and will be done as tillers and operators are available. Tilling is done by the Tilling Team and is done at their convenience but generally your garden will be tilled in a timely manner. You may rent a tiller or bring one from home to till your own garden.
Acceptable amendments/fertilizers are: Local composted manure, leaves, alfalfa pellets, manure or alfalfa teas, sawdust, and shredded newspaper. Commercial amendments are: ORGANIC or (OMRI), fish emulsions, bone and blood meals, composts, Glen’s Magic (recipe at Plant Fair Nursery, garden shed and the fertilizer website page). Compost and manure are in the bins at the north end of the garden. There is manure located outside the garden fence that is free to the public.
PLANTING – Please do not plant on the top of hills or rows, as instructed on some seed packages. We do not water by flood irrigation – our soil will not wick water up to the seeds. Water your level seed bed first, then plant, and cover with a moisture barrier to retain moisture. Plan your plantings so they run along and close to the soaker line. Dedicated drip irrigation emitters (no sprayers or shrubblers or bubblers) should go directly to the plant you are watering. Review the online watering class for a good start and learn how to best water your garden.
WATERING – test your watering system in person for leaks, before opening your automatic valve. Use new soaker hoses to avoid hose failures and water waste.
Do not change the existing automatic water system at your garden. If you have a problem contact a member of staff.
Public water spigots (tall and painted purple) will be turned on after the freeze danger is past. The turn-on date (probably in late May) for the automatic watering system (yellow connections at your garden) will be sent by email and posted at the garden shed.
Only soaker (not soaker/sprayer combination) hoses and dedicated drip systems with emitters that do not spray or bubble are permitted. Extra watering of your hand planted seeds may be needed until they have sprouted, but keep your spray soft and low to the ground, to avoid winds from blowing the water into the air, and disturbing or flooding the tiny seeds you have planted. Water for hand watering is available in the light purple water spigots. Do not use the purple water spigots as a constant means for watering your garden.They are for hand watering only.
Be water wise – our system waters adequately and as soon as your plants are up and growing, hand watering should not be necessary. It is your responsibility to check your water system to make sure it is watering properly and promptly repair or replace it if needed.
Please do not hand water without first testing water content of soil at the depth of the roots. Use either the moisture meter or a hand trowel to check the moisture content in your garden. Planting from seeds then covering the soil with a breathable cloth will help hold in moisture. Sprinkle new seeds lightly with a hand held hose, low to the ground.
WEEDING & FEEDING – Each gardener is responsible for keeping weeds and grass out of your garden and aisles. Mulching with wood chips, when available, will greatly reduce the number of weeds in your aisle.
Please pay special attention to Arizona Bindweed, Bermuda Grass and Bullheads which are particularly noxious. Do NOT use salt or chemicals for weed control. Remove the roots and you won’t be repeating the job in 2 weeks.
If you use smelly fertilizer teas, your neighbors will thank you if you keep it covered and completely used within 24 to 48 hours. Do not use household compost unless it is fully composted (it’s black and you cannot tell what it once was). If you bring bagged scrapings from the feed store barn please make sure there are no Bermuda scrapings in the bag. (Check with staff)
HARVESTING/DONATING YOUR 20% – One of the Garden’s goals is to supply local food banks with fresh produce. It is disturbing, for fellow gardeners, to see your lovely produce rotting in the garden from neglect.
Pick it at its peak – don’t waste it – someone needs it! Don’t donate it if YOU wouldn’t eat it!
There will be specific times posted at the garden for you to pick your produce and bring it for weighing so that it’s fresh for the food bank. Please have a garden neighbor or friend pick for you if you will be on vacation, or are ill.
Special note: Over-ripened produce is a breeding ground for bugs and if observed in your garden you will be notified and asked to remedy the situation.
DISEASE & PEST CONTROL – Please be alert and check your garden each time you visit, especially during “bug and disease” season, for any signs of a problem.
Diseases may spread quickly in the garden. Discard diseased plants in the dumpster by the front gate. If a plant is diseased, first place a large plastic bag completely over it, then pull it out by roots, seal the bag, and place it in the dumpster. Avoid touching the diseased plant! Touching diseased plants then touching healthy ones will spread the disease! Do not discard diseased plants, tomato or pepper plants in the compost piles in the garden.
For pest control, use beneficial insects, row covers, hand-picking, and diatomaceous earth or garlic and pepper sprays. There will be a list of approved products you may use posted on the website and in the garden shed.
Lightweight tulle netting is helpful in keeping small insects, rodents, or birds away, but remember bees must get in to pollinate. Bird netting, as used on fruit trees, is not suitable for garden use as birds get tangled in it and die. Please do not use in the garden.
Snakes, toads, lizards and salamanders are good hard-working members in the garden so be nice to them. No traps of any kind, or poison for small furry creatures are allowed. If you have a problem contact staff.
SOCIAL ACTIVITIES – Information on potluck dates, garden projects, and other special events will be sent by email and posted at the garden.
GARDEN PROJECTS – PCG garden members are asked to help maintain the common areas in the garden. Projects are posted on the “chore” board. Work projects cover a wide variety of needs and there is always something for everyone to help with.