Community garden plots for 2023 are available for new gardeners beginning on February 15th, 2023.
Author Archives: Alex Oberle
Garden opens May 1st and four plots are still available
Thank you to the City of Cedar Falls for working hard to till our plots early this year and beat the rainy, wet weather. Opening day is Sunday, May 1st and you are welcome to plant from that day onward. Please be sure to check the flag located at each plot to make sure it corresponds with your plot on the garden map/diagram. Each plot has a unique letter/number designation. We do still have four plots remaining so if anybody knows a gardener considering joining us at the community garden, then they should act quickly because our remaining plots might sell out in a matter of days. Please have them email the community gardens Gmail rather than trying to pay through this site.
March 1st Plot Assignments and Plots Available
All of the gardeners who have paid as of March 1st now have plot assignments for the 2022 growing season. Please see the diagram on this website. We have plenty of plots still available and I’ll update the plot diagram on the 1st and 15th of every month until the start of the season. While unlikely, it is possible that your plot could move so please check back to the most updated diagram before you plant in a couple months.
2022 Garden Plots
Welcome to the Community Gardens of Cedar Falls! If you are new gardener who has not gardened with us before, please know that we will begin taking orders for 2022 plots starting on February 15th, 2022. The wait list will open on that day and you’ll be contacted between February 15th and March 1st to confirm availability and to allow you to pay for the plot rental. We expect to add new gardeners later than March 1st too, but those who are on the wait list and then confirm/pay the second half of February will have the priority.
You may notice on the garden map that several plots have been assigned as ‘cover crops’, something new we are piloting this year after a couple years of discussion about it. The cover crops we are planting include buckwheat (large leaves and white flowers) and mustard (yellow flowers). Both are widely used by gardeners and small farms around the US as ‘smother crops’, plant varieties ideally selected to outcompete weeds. In addition to weed suppression, we selected plots that have been continuously in use for several years. The cover crops have qualities that replenish depleted soil to include adding nutrients and controlling soil borne pathogens that harm vegetable plants (mustard controls nematodes). You’ll also especially like the fact that these plants attract pollinators. Buckwheat is one of the most desirable plants for honey producers and is commonly interplanted with crops like fruit trees that are particularly dependent on pollination. While scattered around the garden, the best place to see the two cover crops is the far eastern edge, covering the whole row of four plots. This not only serves as sort of a “demonstration garden” but also recognizes that these plots have always been at risk of people cutting the corner too closely and accidentally driving over them–better to have that happen to cover crops than one of our gardener’s vegetable gardens.
No more plots available for 2021
The available plots in the Community Gardens of Cedar Falls have been all been rented out for the 2021 growing season. Please consider UNI’s ‘A Garden in Every Lot’ that provides a free site assessment, tilling, plants/seeds, and expertise for any Cedar Valley resident who is interested in converting an area of their yard into a vegetable garden.
Garden Management and Operations
The Community Gardens of Cedar Falls is a partnership between garden volunteers and the City of Cedar Falls. Alex Oberle is the garden manager for 2021 and the gardens have a management committee consisting of current gardeners Caleb Wallace and Glen Keith as well as Peg Keller (2020 garden manager). Alex is the lead person for communications (to fellow gardeners and the city) and troubleshooting, as well as managing the finances, website, and email. The three person committee assists the manager to include approving any major purchases, providing feedback and advice on any challenges and opportunities, and conducting long term planning to carry into next year. The city mows the larger garden space, maintains and pays for the water, and tills the garden plots. The lawn mower, hoses, and hose reels are common community garden property. The community garden is responsible for mowing the pathways, and thank you to Caleb who has done the mowing the past two years and has volunteered to do so again this year.
May 8th: Opening day/planting day
Saturday, May 8th is opening day/planting day for Cedar Falls Community Gardens! I did a walkthrough of the garden yesterday with the city as a final step before the spring tilling of the plots. I would like everybody to please re-check their plot assignments a couple days out from opening day as I may be changing some of the plot assignments. Plots will be marked with yellow flags that have the number on one side and the letter on the other (e.g. A 10). We have a lot of leftover and donated fencing, trellises, tomato cages, and other items from last year located on the NE corner of the gardens–these are for common use in the community gardens so please feel free to use any of these. I’ll be posting 2-3 times a week for the next few weeks to talk about garden operations and some new news for this growing season.
New Plot Assignments and Updates
If you rented a plot in the past ten days I just assigned you a garden plot and you can see it on the garden schematic on this website. Thanks again to the City of Cedar Falls for replacing our water main. Rather than simply repairing it, they took the time and effort to replace it in full with a new durable type of material so we should completely avoid any of the water main breaks and leaks that caused such a hassle for most gardeners last year. The final spring tilling of the plots should happen in the near future, weather dependent, so I don’t yet have a garden opening/planting date for everybody. Please check back here in the next few days for an update, even if that update might be . . .no update for another week.
Expected garden opening/planting dates
Thank you so much to the City of Cedar Falls for replacing/repairing the water line to our garden! I’ll follow up with the city this next week for any follow up details to share, but it looks like their work is complete as of yesterday. This means we are one major step closer to opening/planting day. All that remains is for the city to complete the spring tilling of the plots. Ideally, planting could happen as soon as the weekend of May 1st, but tilling is very dependent on dry weather so opening weekend could instead be May 8th or May 15th. I’ll post an update again in a week.