Lakeside Apartments Committee

Lakeside Community Garden


The Lakeside Community Garden is divided into several dozen individual plots, each of which is cultivated by an assigned resident gardener.  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, and we would love to have you in the garden!

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

Any Lakeside resident is eligible to receive a plot, provided they satisfy a couple qualifications, pay a small annual deposit which is partly refunded at the end of the season, and consistently follow garden rules.

Qualifications for receiving a plot:

1.  Residency for the majority of the growing season.  In order to be eligible to garden, a resident must anticipate living at Lakeside at least through the end of August in the growing season in question.

2.  The gardener to whom the plot is formally assigned must be a Princeton University student. This is because the refundable portion of the annual deposit can be returned only via the University’s Concur system, which will electronically credit the refund to the student’s account.  Non-student residents of Lakeside are entirely welcome to lead the cultivation of their household’s plot, but the plot must formally be assigned to a student. Exceptions may be made to this under extenuating circumstances, please contact the current garden coordinator if you feel this applies to you.

Annual deposit:  The deposit amount is $20, $10 of which will be refundable.

Garden rules are laid out in the Lakeside Community Garden Handbook.  All gardeners must read and consent to the rules laid out in the Handbook before being assigned a plot.

Plot size and availability:  Gardeners will be asked to specify in their application 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.

Online application: (will open in the spring)  Click here! 

Key Dates

Notes on garden timelines and the growing season: 

  • Garden plots are only issued after Housing sends out offers for Lakeside housing in early May.
  • 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.
  • Min/max temperature and precipitation data by month can be found here.

Communal Herb Collection

The communal herbs are for garden members only.  Members are encourage to take only what they need and avoid plants that have been over-harvested.

The communal herb collection contains the following perennial herbs:

  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Chives
  • Garlic chives
  • Chinese chives
  • Tarragon
  • Salad burnet
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Mint (in pots)
  • Lovage (in development)
  • Lavender (in development)

Basil and cilantro are both annuals.  Parsley is a biennial.  Gardeners are encouraged to grow these herbs in their own plots.

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.

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 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 and new acquisitions.

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