Community Gardens

(515) 967-5136 605 15th Avenue SW, Altoona, Iowa50009
Policies and Guidelines

  1. Community garden plots must be gardened and maintained from April through October on a consistent basis.  Applicants can have no more than two plots per size unless adopting an abandoned plot during the season.  Plots that are not used or cared for will be reassigned.  All abandoned plots will be relinquished the following year.  Gardening is generally permitted from dawn to dusk, seven days a week. 

  2. Gardening in the Community Gardens is not exactly like gardening in your own backyard.  How you care for your plots impacts many neighbors. Gardens must be actively used for growing crops and must be cared for throughout the year including watering, harvesting when necessary, and prompt removal of weeds, and spent crop plants. 

  3. In order for the community garden to succeed, gardener support is needed to maintain the site, manage compost, and keep the site picked up from debris, and give general assistance and input. Garden meetings will be held at the same time as the Community Garden Maintenance Parties at the garden (weather permitting) per the schedule of events calendar. Gardeners are expected to attend the garden parties and are encouraged to attend garden meetings unless that are extenuating families or personal situations such as illnesses, vacations, etc.

  4. Tilling of plots is provided by the City of Altoona each fall and spring. If gardeners desire additional tilling, they must provide their own. The community garden may rent or purchase a tiller that can be used by gardeners desiring an additional till of their plot(s).

  5. Community Gardens are public spaces and must maintain a neat appearance throughout the season. Active gardening reflects seasonality and includes spring weeding and planting, summer maintenance, regular harvesting, fall clean-up, mulch, and regular check-ins.  Gardeners who have weedy or untended plots will be notified in writing and asked to remedy the problems with their plot by a specified date.

  6. Seasonal and temporary gardening structure such as trellises are allowed if they do not encroach upon paths, community spaces, or neighboring plots and cannot exceed four feet in height. Be considerate of your neighbors and orient your structures and plantings to avoid casting shade on other plots. All structures should be removed when a plot is vacated and at the end of the season.

  7. Gardeners must bring their own tools and water cans and must be taken home after each visit.  The City of Altoona is not responsible for lost tools or other items. 

  8. Gardeners must weed and otherwise maintain the paths bordering their garden plots. Main paths must be five feet wide, unobstructed, and level. Plants should not grow into or hang over the paths.

  9. Gardeners must be present while watering plots. Do not leave the premises with sprinklers running. Water only within your plot and do not let it seep or flood into neighboring plots or paths. Conserve water by using mulch and hand watering plants. Please notify your garden manager of any leaks as soon as possible.  Water will be unavailable after October 31st, (this date may be earlier due to weather) until the following season. 

  10. Each gardener is responsible for dealing with the garden material generated from their plot. Gardeners can compost dead plants, leaves, and other green waste plant parts in compost bins at the community garden site or take material home and dispose of it properly. Do not dump or pile garden materials in common areas. Bringing food scraps from home to compost in your plot, including cooked foods, meats, dairy, eggs, or bones is strictly prohibited. All gardeners are responsible for regularly turning and watering the compost pile at the community garden to promote active composting and avoid creating habitat for rats, mice, wasps, and hornets.

  11. Children under 12 years of age must be accompanied by an adult in the garden. Do not leave children unsupervised. All gardeners and guests should respect others' space and must not enter or harvest from someone else's plot without permission.

  12. Dogs are not allowed in the garden unless it is a service dog.

  13. Tobacco use, drinking of alcoholic beverages, or use of illegal drugs is not allowed on the Community Garden property. Gardeners will not come to the garden while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.

  14. Tobacco is defined as any smoking or spit tobacco product, including any lit or unlit cigarette, cigar, blunt, bidi, clove cigarette, e-cigarette, pipe, chewing tobacco, dissolvable tobacco, dip, snuff, or snus. This includes any other product or item containing or reasonably resembling tobacco or tobacco products. 

  15. Gardeners must keep gates closed and notify the City of any security or structural problems at the site. 

  16. Harvested crops are for home use, not commercial purposes, and must be legal. Gardeners agree to donate unused produce to Caring Hands or the Senior Meal Site. Do not plant trees. Do not plant invasive or fast spreading plants such as mint, bronze fennel, comfrey, lemon balm, horseradish, ivy, holly, lesser celandine, marsh marigold, etc. 

  17. Plot holders must notify the garden manager if they wish to give up their garden plot. Gardeners cannot give their plot to someone else. Garden plots are assigned by the garden managers only. If more than one person is gardening in a plot, co-gardeners should be added to the primary plot-holder's account. Co-gardeners can only become the primary plot-holder if they have been co-gardening in the plot longer than those on the waitlist have been waiting for a space at that site.  Plot-holders must notify program managers if they wish to transfer their plot to a co-gardener. Registered gardeners are responsible for keeping their addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses current with the garden managers. 

  18. In the fall, gardens must be cleaned and/or mulched. These practices will help protect the soil over the winter, will allow you to start planting earlier in the spring, and will result in a more fruitful garden the next year. In addition, community gardens are public spaces and must maintain a neat appearance through the winter. 

  19. Plot-holders should attend at least four garden maintenance parties "garden parties" and are required to participate in a closing season work day. These parties will help maintain the common areas of your garden, enhance community connections, and complete special projects. Community Garden maintenance parties will be held on the dates listed in the Garden Schedule, weather permitting. 

  20. The garden tracks pounds of produce donated to food banks and the senior meal site. A scale is provided for you to weigh your donated produce. Please mark your donated poundage on the posted list. 

  21. Gardeners are expected to adhere to program policies. Garden managers will regularly monitor plots throughout the year. When gardeners are found to be in non-compliance, they will receive a letter notifying them of the problem and asking them to take action by a specific time. 

  22. Garden Managers are volunteers and will provide support for the community garden, inspection, policy enforcement, organization of garden maintenance parties, and maintenance of renters' list and other "hands on" activities. 

Contact Information
for Safety and Structural Issues

Mailing Address:
City of Altoona
CC: Community Garden
900 Venbury Dr., Ste A
Altoona, IA 50009

(515) 967-5136  Monday-Friday 8:00am-4:30pm
(515) 710-7450  Emergency Night and Weekend

Contact Information for Plot and Plot-Holder Management Issues:

Community Garden - Old Lot Numbers Large Plots
6' x 15'

Small Plots
6' x 6'

Book a Community Garden Plot
Returning gardeners are given first priority when signing up for a garden plot. Lots that are not reclaimed will be linked below for sign-up, beginning November 1st.

To sign up, click on the lot number below and select July 1st on the booking calendar:

Lot 1 - Booked Lot 2 - Booked Lot 3 - Booked Lot 4 - Booked Lot 5 - Booked
Lot 6 / 11 - Booked Lot 7 - Booked Lot 8 - Booked Lot 9 - Booked Lot 10 - Booked
  Lot 12 / 13 -Booked   Lot 14 - Booked Lot 15 - Booked
Lot 16 - Booked Lot 17 - Booked Lot 18 - Booked Lot 19 - Booked Lot 20 - Booked
Lot 21 - Booked Lot 22 - Booked Lot 23 - Booked Lot 24 - CG Lot 25 - Booked
Lot 26 - Booked Lot 27 - Booked Lot 28 - Booked Lot 29 - Booked Lot 30 - Booked
Lot 31 - Booked Lot 32 - Booked Lot 33 - Booked Lot 34 - Booked Lot 35 - Booked
Lot 36 - Booked Lot 37 - Booked Lot 38 - Booked Lot 39 - Booked Lot 40 - Booked
Lot 41 - Booked Lot 42 - Booked Lot 43 - CG Lot 44 - Booked  

*CG - Community Garden