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 where gardeners can grow and harvest herbs. Provided you’re willing to follow a few simple garden rules and plan to live at Lakeside throughout the summer, you are eligible to apply for a plot.

Membership requires participation in the spring work hour and an orientation session. Members are also required to participate in the fall work hour. 

If you’re interested in becoming a gardener at Lakeside, please review the information provided on this website, especially the Application Procedure, and Garden Handbook, 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, Allison Tang, at

Application Procedure

Residents who plan to stay at Lakeside over the summer (at least through the end of August) may apply for a plot. Those 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. 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. All new gardeners must attend one orientation and spring work hour.

Annual Deposits:

The membership deposit amount is $20, $10 of which is refundable.

Garden rules are laid out in the 2022 Garden Handbook.  All gardeners must read and consent to the rules laid out in the Handbook before applying.

Plot size and availability:  Applicants for membership will be asked to specify how large of a plot they would like. If 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.  If demanded space outstrips supply, the coordinator will assign all remaining plots to 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

Key Dates
Notes on garden timelines and the growing season:

  • April 7thGarden application open!
  • April 25th — Application Deadline! (Garden plots are only issued after Housing sends out offers for Lakeside housing.)
  • Temperatures in central New Jersey may fall below freezing any time 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 encouraged to take only what they need and avoid over-harvesting.

The communal herb garden, when active and in full bloom may contain the following herbs. Please feel free to grow these herbs in the communal plot.

  • 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.

Sustainable practices include composting, inter-cropping, crop rotation, and hedgerows.

Garden Seed Bank

The garden has a seed bank donated by individual gardeners, especially Jessica Wilson, but we are always looking for more seeds, and gardeners are encouraged to bring their own.  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

Garden Handbook