Our Garden, Our Practices

Find out how we garden at GLCG, and why.

Growing Love Community garden was founded on the idea that people can work together to feed themselves, support one another, and help the planet at the same time. Physically, it is located within the Manorhaven Preserve, an area set apart for people to enjoy wildlife and nature representative of our particular area of Long Island. 

There are many philosophies about gardens and nature, and many different practices used in gardening. Our founding idea, combined with the fact of our location, determines all our decisions about how we garden. 

First and foremost, we are a community. That means not only that we occupy the same space, but that we support one another, treat one another with consideration, respect one another’s rights, and share responsibilities.

  •  Every garden plot owner is a member. Members have the right: 
  • to plant what they wish in their plot 
  • to add removable decorations if they like 
  • to have their plants treated as personal property. 

No one is permitted to take anything — plant or decoration — from another person’s plot without that person’s permission. 

Every garden plot owner is responsible for maintaining their plot, as well as helping maintain the whole space within the fence. 

  • All members must tend their gardens at least once a week, or arrange for someone else to take care of them. 
  • All members must contribute to the cleanliness of the area by assisting with GLCG community weeding and cleanup at least once during the growing season. 
  • All members must contribute to the nourishment and health of the garden as a whole by assisting with turning or spreading compost at least once during the growing season. Garden plot owners who do not take care of their gardens, or who do not help with community needs, will not be offered the chance to renew their plot, which will be given to someone else. Every garden plot owner needs to be aware of commonsense consideration of others in a shared space. 
  • Hoses should be turned off when watering is finished, and put away neatly in large, loose coils so they are easy for others to use. 
  • Pathways between beds should be kept clear of plants whenever possible; overgrown plants blocking paths will be cut back. 
  • Weeds or other debris should be put in the garbage, never tossed aside. 
  • Only healthy, cut-up plant material should be put in the compost. Long or large pieces of plants are difficult to manage; diseased plant material will spread diseases through the compost; garbage, meats or proteins, oils, or cooked foods can breed pathogens and attract rats.
  •  Although there are no set rules about safety, basic commonsense precautions should be taken: tools should not be left on the ground; glass containers should be carefully removed (or not brought at all); bug spray, sunscreen, and garden gloves should be worn when they seem needed. Members with insect allergies should have appropriate medication with them. 
  • Issues or complaints should be made directly to garden leadership, in person or via email or phone, rather than being aired publicly online or passed along as verbal gossip. Garden members need to be aware of our delicate position as part of Manorhaven Preserve. Given that we are very close to a large body of water, we have to use extra care when we garden, as much aquatic life is very sensitive to fertilizers and pesticides. In addition, we have a duty as part of the Preserve to encourage wildlife and improve the ecological health of the surrounding area. 
  • NO spray pesticides, or systemic pesticides distributed through the soil, are allowed in the garden. Any questions regarding weed, pest or disease control should be addressed to the Garden Educator, Beth Ricciardi. 
  • While methods of fertilizing are officially personal choice, members should be aware that quickrelease fertilizers often leach out of the garden and into the closest body of water. Members are strongly encouraged to use compost and/or composted manure for fertilizer, or slow-release organic fertilizers from natural sources. 
  • Water conservation is another part of environmental stewardship. Again, while mulching is a personal choice, members are strongly encouraged to mulch their gardens to conserve water. 
  • Many plants in and around the garden may seem useless or uninteresting; however, every plant has a purpose. Most are in place to encourage wildlife such as beneficial insects and birds, others are purely for the improvement and health of the soil. Some will provide food for members of the community or the needy of Port Washington. Like the plants in individual plots, these plants should be treated as garden property. Growing Love Community garden is a shared space; as such, there are a few additional considerations. 
  • Any use of the space as a social gathering area should be requested (well ahead of time) and approved by garden leadership. 
  • Dogs are not allowed in the garden. 
  • Rules that apply to the Preserve also apply to the garden: (no fires or alcohol are allowed) 
  • Plants surrounding the garden fence belong to the garden; however, harvesting food from them will only take place as a community event.