About‎ > ‎

Garden Guidelines

Can I use this?

Do not use:

  • Miracle Gro or other synthetic fertilizers
  • RoundUp or other synthetic herbicides
  • D-Con, Raid, or other synthetic insecticides
Use of prohibited substances is a serious breach of garden regulations and may result in expulsion from the garden.

Yes! You may use...
  • Commercial and homegrown seeds*
  • Commercial and homegrown transplants*
  • Manure and compost*
  • Straw, hay, marsh grass, coco hulls, leaves, and wood chips (be sure there's no trash in them)*
  • Black plastic or carpeting IF you remove them from the garden by Nov. 1
  • Lime, greensand, bone meal, etc.
  • If absolutely necessary, organic-certified pesticides such at Bt, insecticidal soap, rotenone, pyrethrum, diatomaceous earth, etc.
  • Mouse traps
  • Row cover fabric, plastic film "low tunnels"
  • Cover crops like buckwheat, ryegrass, and clover

* these do not need to be certified organic

Details on organics

All plots in all gardens are organic. We only use fertilizers and pest control measures such as those accepted by major organic certification agencies such as the Organic Crop Improvement Association. In general, soil fertility is maintained through crop rotations and organic matter, such as leaves and compost.

Weed Control

Herbicides of any kind are prohibited, as they are hazardous to human health, may kill or damage desirable crops, drift into neighboring gardens, or persist in the soil. Hoeing, mulching, and hand weeding are recommended.

Mulch should preferably be of an organic nature; newspaper or black plastic are acceptable mulches but they must be secured so that they do not blow away and must be removed at the end of the season. Covering paper and plastic with an organic layer is also very encouraged. Hay, straw, and leaves, could all be used.

Insect Control

Synthetic insecticides are prohibited. Preferred control methods are crop rotation, hand picking of insect pests, introduction of predator species, companion planting, soil solarization, and biological controls, e.g. Bacillus thuringiensis, a bacterium that controls cabbage worms. As a last resort, natural botanicals, i.e. rotenone and pyrethrum (that break down quickly and do not leave harmful residues in the soil) may be used.

Disease Control

Most problems can be controlled if you maintain healthy soil, choose disease-resistant varieties, and remove diseased plants from the garden.

Fertilizers and Soil Amendments

Commercial inorganic fertilizers (ie 5-1--5, Miracle Grow, etc.) are not permitted. Products of plant or animal origin i.e. compost, leaf mold, livestock manure, blood and bone meal, cover crops, fish emulsion, kelp meal, liquid seaweed, and commercial organic fertilizers are acceptable. Natural mineral fertilizers, i.e. greensand, granite dust, and ground limestone are also acceptable. Gardeners are strongly urged to add as much organic material (i.e. compost, leaf mold, and manure) as possible to their plots to maintain soil fertility.

Non-Acceptable Plants

We cannot allow plants with the following characteristics to be grown in any of the gardens (without written permission of the Chelsea Community Gardens board):
  • Invasive species such as mint, comfrey, etc.
  • Trees, bushes, or other woody perennials
  • Illegal or dangerous plants


Water is a precious resource - please treat it as such and make sure all faucets are closed when you are done. Water is pumped by solar power from Letts Creek to our water tower; if the tower runs dry, it can take several days to refill.

Garden Access

Members are strongly encouraged not to drive motorized vehicles across the grass. If you have a personal health issue or an extremely heavy load an exception can be made.