Lakeside Apartments Committee

Lakeside Community Garden


The Lakeside Community Garden is divided into several dozen individual plots, each of which is cultivated by assigned resident gardeners. There is also a communal herb garden open to garden members. Provided you’re willing follow a few simple garden rules, and plan to live at Lakeside throughout the summer, you are eligible to apply for a plot. If you would like to be part of the garden and will not be in residence throughout the summer, or would prefer a lower-time commitment, you are encouraged to apply for the Herb Membership. 

Both memberships require participation in the spring work hour and an orientation session.  Traditional Members are also required to participate in the fall work hour.  Herb Members are also required to weed the communal herb garden one weekend during the summer.

If you’re interested in becoming a gardener at Lakeside, please review the information provided on this website, especially the Application Procedure, Garden Handbook, and Key Dates, detailed below.  The Handbook contains all rules and regulations of the garden.

If you have questions not answered by the information available on this site, please contact the Lakeside Garden Coordinator, Jessica L. Wilson, at

Application Procedure

All Lakeside residents are eligible to apply for the new Herb Membership which grants access to the herbs in the communal herb garden. If you are a non-student, you are encouraged to name a Princeton University student (i.e., your partner) as a secondary gardener for reimbursement at the end of the season.  The refundable portion of the annual deposit is easily returned via the University’s Concur system, which electronically credits the refund to the student’s account.  The guest reimbursement system is not as user-friendly.

Residents who plan to stay at Lakeside over the summer (at least through the end of August) may apply for a plot (Traditional Membership). Residents of the Graduate College who anticipate moving to Lakeside in July are also welcome to apply for a plot.  You must name a secondary gardener when applying for a plot.

Annual Deposits:

  • The Herb Membership deposit amount is $15, $10 of which is refundable.
  • The Traditional Membership deposit amount is $20, $15 of which is refundable.

Garden rules are laid out in the 2021 Garden Handbook.  All gardeners must read and consent to the rules laid out in the Handbook before applying.

Plot size and availability:  Applicants for the Traditional Membership will be asked to specify how large of a plot they would like.  In the event that the total amount of growing space requested exceeds what is available, the Garden Coordinator will attempt to accommodate all prospective gardeners by reducing the size of each gardener’s requested plot.  In the event that demanded space still outstrips supply, the Garden Coordinator will first assign plots based on garden seniority (with prior-year gardeners in good standing receiving priority), and then assign all remaining plots to new applicants by lottery.  Any resident who applies for but does not receive a plot will be placed on a waitlist.  If a plot in the garden subsequently becomes available, a lottery of all waitlisted gardeners will be held, and the applicant whose name is drawn will receive first right of refusal for the newly available plot.

Links to online applications (Deadline — April 21st):

Key Dates

Notes on garden timelines and the growing season: 

  • April 1st — Garden application open!
  • April 21st — Application Deadline! (Garden plots are only issued after Housing sends out offers for Lakeside housing.)
  • All new gardeners must attend one orientation + spring work hour. There are six sessions planned to keep density low, and the Garden Coordinator will do her best to allocate gardeners evenly across sessions. Gardeners will be informed of their orientation session + work hour on April 21st.  The six sessions are listed below.  Please indicate ALL of the sessions you can attend on the application form.  All gardeners must wear a face-covering during the orientation + work hour.
    • Saturday, April 24th — 10 am – 12 pm
    • Saturday, April 24th — 12 pm – 2 pm
    • Sunday, April 25th — 11 am – 1 pm
    • Sunday, April 25th — 4 pm – 6 pm
    • Monday, April 26th — 3 pm – 5 pm
    • Tuesday, April 27th — 8 am – 10 am
  • Temperatures in central New Jersey may fall below freezing anytime before mid-May.  Plant earlier than this at your own risk.
  • You can gain a valuable head start by planting potted seedlings in your apartment in advance of the garden’s opening.
  • The first frost typically occurs in late October around Halloween.
  • Temperature and precipitation data by month can be found here.

Communal Herb Garden

The communal herbs are for garden members only.  Members are encourage to take only what they need and avoid over-harvesting.

The communal herb garden contains the following perennial herbs:

  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Chives
  • Garlic chives
  • Chinese chives
  • Tarragon
  • Salad burnet
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Lovage (in development)
  • Marjoram (in development)
  • Savory (in development)
  • Lavender (in development)
  • Mint (invasive, in pots)
  • Peppermint (invasive, in pots)
  • Spearmint (invasive, in pots)
  • Lemon balm (invasive, in pots)

Basil, cilantro, chervil, and shiso (perilla), are annuals.  Parsley is a biennial.  Gardeners are encouraged to grow these herbs in their own plots or in pots.

Other Interesting Perennial Plants

  • Asparagus (establishing)
  • Red currants (establishing)
  • Honeyberries (establishing)
  • Strawberries (ubiquitous)
  • Figs (establishing)
  • Goji berries (establishing)

Soil Fertility & Stewardship

We are blessed with excellent soil of pH 6.48.  The soil was last tested early in 2020.  You can see the results here.  Soil test results are good for three years.

We enhance the soil by planting winter cover crops (Austrian pea and winter rye) at the end of the growing season.  The peas fix nitrogen and the winter rye has deep roots that improve drainage.  Both plants prevent soil erosion and smother weeds. Other sustainable practices include composting, inter-cropping, crop rotation, and hedgerows.

Garden Seed Bank

The garden has a large seed bank donated by Jessica Wilson and augmented by individual gardeners. Gardeners are encouraged to search the seed bank for new crops and share extra seeds with others.  There are also dime bags with labels for saving seeds at the end of the season.

Garden Tools

The membership fee includes access to the tools in the shed.  It also pays for replacements, repairs, and new acquisitions. Please notify the garden coordinator if something is broken!

Tools include:

  • Shovels
  • Gloves
  • Hand trowels
  • A garden rake
  • Pruners
  • A folding saw
  • Two wheelbarrows
  • Kiddie-sized wheelbarrow
  • Pots, tomato cages, stakes, and pots (first-come-first-serve)
  • Kneeling pad
  • A four-pronged soil ripper/claw for weeding

Refund Procedure

Please refer to the following page:  Lakeside Community Garden Refund Procedure