Quick Resource Guide

 Always have a clear idea of what your needs are before seeking resources for your community garden. The start-up guide and start-up page have useful templates for planning and budgeting for your garden, even for well-established gardens.

Check with your most local providers first before moving out to a broader geographic area. For any needs you have as a garden, be sure to let those in your neighborhood know via:

  • Your neighborhood association or district council (city hall or the civic center if you don't live in a large city)
  • Posting on community bulletin boards at cafes, libraries, or your own garden
  • Local online discussion forums such as E-Democracy
  • Social networking websites, especially Facebook

Resource Guide Menu
Compost

Compost Bins and Rain Barrels
Funding for Gardens
Insurance
Gardening Questions
Mulch and Woodchips
Natives and Rain Gardens
Plants and Seeds
Soil Ammendments and Improvements
Soil Testing, including Lead
Tools
Trees and Bushes
Water

 


 

Compost (top)

For Community Gardens:

  • Community Gardens in Ramsey County can get up to 12 cubic yards of compost delivered for free to their community garden site. Click on the link for more details.
  •  Community Gardens in Minneapolis: Gardening Matters works with Minneapolis Solid Waste to help provide compost for Minneapolis community gardens. We update our website to reflect current procedure and availablility.
  • If your city or county is not listed, call them to see if they would provide free compost to the community garden.

Free (non-organic) compost is available for pick-up to residents of the following cities:

Compost for a fee from private providers:
  • The Mulch Store (several metro loactions, click link for more info)
  • Buberl Compost and Recycling in Stillwater – 651-439-8399
  • Composting Concepts in Woodbury – 651-436-1213
  • Kern Landscape Resources in St. Paul – 651-646-1553
  • Gerten’s in Eagan – 651-209-3511
  • K-Post, LLC- $15/cubic yard for compost, delivery available for a fee. Screened to 3/8"-  It is made from yard waste. 612-432-1096
  • Biodynamic Compost produced by Loyal Hunter at the Philadelphia Farm in WI - $35/cubic yard.  Email loyalhunter@gmail.com

Create your own compost! 

  • The Compost page of the Gardening Matters website also has handouts, videos and links on building and maintaining your compost bin.

This is NOT a complete reference guide.  If you see something that should be added or changed, please let us know!
Email info@gardeningmatters.org for questions or additions!


Compost Bins and Rain Barrels (top)

  • The Recycling Association of MN hosts Compost Bin and Rain Barrel sales in the spring each year. 2012 Dates and Locations are available on their webiste here.
  • Check with your Neighborhood Association or District Council. They sometimes do compost bin or rain barrel distributions or how-to-make classes to support residents in their environmental stewardship

Compost Bins:  

  •  Hennepin County Environmental Services Phone (612) 348-3RRR or email DES@co.hennepin.mn.us
  •  Build your own compost bin.  Click here for a useful guide on how to build 9 different styles of compost bins, list of supplies and step by step instructions on how to put them together.   

Rain Barrels:

Rain barrels can be found at local gardening or hardware stores.  Call your local stores to see if they keep rain barrels in stock.  Barrels to construct your own rain barrel may be found at stores like Fleet Farm or Western Container (in Minneapolis).  

This is NOT a complete reference guide.  If you see something that should be added or changed, please let us know!
Email info@gardeningmatters.org for questions or additions!


Insurance (top)

Read more about liability insurance for gardens form the American Community Gardening Association and Gardening Matters.

The American Community Gardening Association now has an insurance program.

This is NOT a complete reference guide.  If you see something that should be added or changed, please let us know!
Email info@gardeningmatters.org for questions or additions!


 

Gardening Questions (top)

  • Master gardeners are trained to give gardening advice.  Contact your county’s master gardeners if you would like someone to come to your garden.  They can answer many gardening questions.  Their webpage (http://www.mg.umn.edu/) includes access to many useful publications and an online “Yard and Garden” FAQ or call them directly at (952) 443-1426.   
  • COMGAR-the Community Garden Listserv run by Gardening Matters is a fantastic source of support, know-how and talent to help you with organizing the garden, reaching out to the community, or getting gardening tips. With over 1000 subsribers from across MN, this is a very rich gardening community to tap into for support or to share your own expertise! 
  • GardenWeb Forums - A great resource for many gardening questions, searchable by topic 
  •  Permaculture Collaborative includes information about growing perennial food.  Call for more information, 651-451-1716. 

This is NOT a complete reference guide.  If you see something that should be added or changed, please let us know!
Email info@gardeningmatters.org for questions or additions!
 


 

Mulch and Woodchips (top)

Mulch

  •  Lawn services -- Like tree companies, lawn services will also deliver yard waste to your community garden. Be careful not to add chemically treated yard waste directly to your garden, and if possible, avoid it altogether 
  • Garden or Hardware Stores -- Neighborhood garden and hardware stores often offer a variety of mulch. Sometimes there are discounts on ripped bags.

Woodchips

Many gardeners find they prefer this material for walkways and pathways as rodents don’t thrive in the woodchips, and require minimal weeding if they are laid at least 4 inches thick. 

  • Call a private arborist or tree service and ask them to drop off a load of chips. They are usually more than willing to do so rather than driving to dump their chipped wood at a designate site where they have to pay a fee. Woodchips from these sources tend to have a relatively high “green” content so that they will break down more quickly than woodchips with no leaf material.

Wood chips are usually available to pick up at no cost from the following city public works departments. Please phone ahead to check availability. Some sites also offer compost.   

  • Brooklyn Center 763-569-3380
  • Brooklyn Park 763-493-8007
  • Minneapolis 612-370-4900 
  • Minneapolis Parks and Recreation maintains several woodchip piles throughout the city, which are free for the taking.  Click here for a listing of sites
  • Plymouth 763-509-5950 The site will be open April 3rd through November.  They also have screened compost available in addition to woodchips, call first for availability.
  • Roseville 651-792-7004 Woodchips are available only for Roseville residents.  They also have compost.
  • St. Louis Park 952-924-2565.  This site also has compost.
  • Washington County 651-430-6655; 651-430-4390 (southern)

This is NOT a complete reference guide.  If you see something that should be added or changed, please let us know!
Email info@gardeningmatters.org for questions or additions!


 

Natives and Rain Gardens (top)

This is NOT a complete reference guide.  If you see something that should be added or changed, please let us know!
Email info@gardeningmatters.org for questions or additions!
 


 

Plants and Seeds (top)

  • Contact your favorite seed providers to see if they will make a donation to a community garden.  
  • Contact your local nursery and let them know about the garden project, and they may want to make a donation of plants.  Know what you need before you call.
  • Minneapolis and St. Paul Gardeners can join their nearest Local Food Resource Hub for access to seeds and seedlings, tools, and classes. Thismembership program through Gardening Matters provides seeds and seedlings for backyard and community gardeners. Membership prices depend on the size of your garden. Contact info@gardeningmatters.org or 612-821-2358
  • SNAP participants can use their benefits to buy seeds and seedlings! Check out the Toolkit for SNAP Participants
  • Minnesota Green is a program of the Minnesota State Horticultural Society (MSHS) that distributes surplus plants from large growers to be used exclusively in public spaces.  You must be a member to receive plant and seed donations. (651) 643-3601.
  • America the Beautiful donates seeds.  Go online to request seeds or call (202) 638-1649. 

Plant and seed sales and swaps

  •  Many Garden clubs have plant sales and plant swaps.  To find your local garden club call MSHS at (651) 643-3601 or visit www.northerngardener.com
  • If you don’t see a plant swap near you, contact your District Council/Neighborhood Association office. 
  • The Gardening Matters Public Calendar will list any sales or swaps we're aware of

This is NOT a complete reference guide.  If you see something that should be added or changed, please let us know!
Email info@gardeningmatters.org for questions or additions!
 


Planning Your Garden (top)

  • Smart Gardener is a super easy and FREE online tool to help you plan your home OR community garden, and monitor it throughout the season. For experienced or novice gardeners.  You will have to create an account to use it.

Soil Ammendments and Improvements (top)

Manure:

  • Roselawn Heritage Farms, St. Francis - sells composted manure
  • The Poopy Corral- Hundreds of plastic bags of horse manure available to gardeners for free.  It is bagged in 40# amounts in heavy duty plastic bags for gardeners convenience.  Each bag contains a varying amount of horse manure, urine soaked sawdust (breaks down much quicker than shavings), some uneaten hay and lime.
    Location:  South East corner of Hwy 55 and Pioneer Trail, Medina, MN.   Nine miles west of Hwy 494 on Hwy 55, turn south on Pioneer Trail, the first drive on the LEFT.  The POOPY CORRAL is immediately on your RIGHT between the horsetrailers.
    Come anytime during daylight hours.  Please drive in slowly to avoid squishing small  dogs and cats and spooking horses.
    Contact 763 478 6472 for more information.

Red Worms:

This is NOT a complete reference guide.  If you see something that should be added or changed, please let us know!
Email info@gardeningmatters.org for questions or additions!


 

Soil Testing, including lead (top)

If you have questions about possible lead contamination in the soil:

  •   Purchase a soil test for lead through the University of Minnesota: 612-625-3101. Find more information about soil testing here.
  •  Minneapolis: Call 612-673-3719 (Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control)
  •  Ramsey County Environmental Health Dept’s lead program at 651-266-1138. 
  • Reusing Potentially Contaminated Landscapes: Growing Gardens in Urban Soils
    The EPA's new factsheet on urban gardening is now available. You will find information on common contaminants that can be found in urban soil, ways to identify contaminants and reduce exposure, improving soils and growing plants in mildly contaminated soil, and additional resources and technical assistance (Spring 2011, 12 pages). Download here.
  • Minnesota Brownfields has funding to help clean up properties in Hennepin County to become community gardensMinnesota Brownfields received Environmental Response Fund funding in 2013 to provide small grants for environmental assessment and clean-up of property in contamination levels at proposed redevelopment and community garden sites in Hennepin County (only). The fund is intended to be used for unexpected environmental issues, to prepare for a larger funding request in the County testing cycle, or to identify/clarify and, in some cases, remediate suspected environmental concerns. Grants are awarded on a rolling basis. Eligible community garden sites must be either owned or controlled by a public entity or a nonprofit organization. The application asks for city approval, but formal authorization was passed by the Minneapolis City Council on May 13, 2011 so Minneapolis community garden applicants do not need to take additional steps to provide it. Download application and Program Description. 

This is NOT a complete reference guide.  If you see something that should be added or changed, please let us know!
Email info@gardeningmatters.org for questions or additions!
 


 

Tools (top)

  • Minneapolis and St. Paul Gardeners can join their nearest Local Food Resource Hub. Among other things, members receive access to a tool lending library. Membership prices depend on the size of your garden if you want seeds and seedlings, otherwise you can join as a member without taking the seeds and seedlings and still get the other benefits of membership, like access to the tool lending library nearest you. Contact info@gardeningmatters.org or 612-821-2358
  • Tool Lending Libraries
    With a large donation of tools in 2006, the SE Como Improvement Association in Minneapolis established a tool lending library. That season about 470 tools were lent to community gardeners, and supported 8 community gardens which did not have the tools they needed. If your community is interested in hosting a tool lending library, please contact us and we can help get you started.

This is NOT a complete reference guide.  If you see something that should be added or changed, please let us know!
Email info@gardeningmatters.org for questions or additions!


 

Trees and Bushes (top)

This is NOT a complete reference guide.  If you see something that should be added or changed, please let us know!
Email info@gardeningmatters.org for questions or additions!
 


 

Water (top)

City hydrant access should only be used as a last resort! If a neighbor is unable to provide water, contact your city to see if it allows gardens to access city water hydrants.  Often, there is a charge for setting up and breaking down this service at the beginning and end of the season respectively. 

  •  Minneapolis: Please see the Minneapolis Fire Hydrant Instructions here.   The hydrant must be on the same side of the street as the community garden and you must be registered as a community garden with Gardening Matters.
  • St. Paul: Regional Water Services, 651-266-6853. See the St. Paul Water Hydrant Policies

This is NOT a complete reference guide.  If you see something that should be added or changed, please let us know!
Email info@gardeningmatters.org for questions or additions!