How to join the garden
If you're interested in being a part of the Berkeley Garden community, this page will have the information you need. It covers some garden basics, information on our Lottery system, and details about the current / upcoming season.
Berkeley accepts new gardeners through a lottery system.
- The lottery takes place in April.
- Available plots are assigned based on lottery draw of those present
- Everyone else is places on a wait list for the season
- At the end of the season the wait list is dissolved
2017: The lottery has already taken place. We have a very large waiting list, and will not be taking any more names for 2017. See you in April, 2018.
Please read the entire section below before joining us at the lottery.
Berkeley Community Garden is a community garden. We're looking for people who are not only interested in gardening, but who are interested in being part of our community. Keeping your garden plot well maintained is only a part of garden life. As a member of the garden, you'll be required to not only keep up your garden plot, but participate in garden community events, as well as contributing time to maintenance and upkeep of the whole garden. You would be a neighborhood and friend as part of our community as well as a gardener.
Berkeley is a community of 159 gardeners. We work together to make Berkeley a beautiful addition to the neighborhood as well as being a place for us to have our own space in which to grow flowers and vegetables. It's a place to not only garden, but to make new friends and meet your neighbors; to become a part of our community. Each year we invite new people from the neighborhood to become a part of our garden community to fill vacancies that have opened up over the previous year. Given the high demand at Berkeley, those wishing to join our garden community and garden are given the opportunity via a lottery system each spring.
- Anyone who is interested in joining Berkeley can submit their name into the lottery; giving everyone an equal chance of becoming a Berkeley gardener.
- Those who don't get a garden in the spring lottery are put on a waiting list. Should gardens become available, they are given out in waiting list order.
- At the end of the growing season, the waiting list is annulled and those who were on the wait list can enter the lottery again next year.
Being a part of the garden requires time and commitment over the entire growing season. Gardens require work. Turning soil. Weeding. Adding compost. Planting. Weeding. Watering. Weeding. Maintenance. Did we mention weeding? It takes a lot of work for those flowers to fill the beds, and for those vegetables to ripen. It's a rewarding experience, but a long and fun road to get there. On top of that is volunteering time to help in general garden work. In a way, gardening is a lot like owning a dog. It looks really attractive when you see someone else with one. But once you get one of your own, the work needed to maintain a garden may turn out to be more than you expected.
We don't say this to discourage you from joining us. Around 10% of the new gardeners who join in the spring don’t finish the first season. We want everyone who applies to join us to be ready to get their hands dirty and be ready for the commitment of time and energy throughout the growing season, working on both your own garden areas and your community efforts for the garden overall.
If you are ready to be a gardener and become a member of the BCG Community, here's what you need to do.
- The Lottery takes place during the Spring garden cleanup. You'll find us in the meeting area in the middle of the garden.
- Please arrive a half hour before lottery time. This allows you time to fill out the required paperwork (name, address, etc), familiarize yourself with garden rules, and check out the community. It's our big Spring Cleanup, so you'll get a chance to meet many gardeners and start becoming part of the community.
- You must be present at the lottery drawing to get a garden!!!
- Fees are due when you win a garden. Currently Berkeley dues are $65 per year.
- If you receive a garden in the lottery, you are required to stay at the garden for the rest of the morning and help with cleanup of the garden and your new plot. (Rather than just saying "thanks" and going home)
- If you do not win a spot in the lottery, you will be placed on a waiting list. We often have additional gardens opening throughout the growing year, and will go through the wait list as gardens open up. This wait list is kept until the end of the growing season, at which point it is erased, and everyone gets a new chance next Spring.
- If you receive a garden, you can to keep that same garden every year, provided you pay all fees and follow the garden rules.
- Since we usually have a wait list of people who entered the lottery but didn't immediately get a garden:
- If you get a garden and decide gardening is not for you, let garden leadership know right away so a gardener from the wait list can take over your plot.
- All gardens (new and old) must show some activity by June 1, or you will lose your garden.
If you're reading this and the date of the lottery has gone by, not to worry. You can still contact us and get on the waiting list for the current year. As gardens become available, those on the wait list will get a chance to get a plot in the garden. (At the end of the growing season the wait list is annulled, and anyone wanting a garden must re-enter the lottery the next season.)
If it’s the past lottery date, and you'd like to be added to the wait list, please send a message to the Lottery Coordinator and ask to be put on the wait list for a garden for this season.
Thanks again for having an interest in the Community Garden! If you have any questions about getting a garden, or wish to get into the waiting list after the lottery has happened, you can email the Lottery Coordinator
Note: Garden membership is restricted to residents of Boston only. We ask that applicants live in the South End.