Welcome to the Norristown Sprouts Community Garden!
This community garden is maintained by the Montgomery County Office of Public Health (MCOPH) and community members. The garden is a joint partnership between Norristown Area School District and MCOPH and is located at Eisenhower Science and Technology Leadership Academy at 1601 Markley Street in Norristown, PA. The Norristown Sprouts Community Garden was founded in 2021 to primarily serve Norristown residents and surrounding community members to increase the community’s access to healthy foods.
What is a Community Garden?
A community garden is a shared plot of land where people gather together to grow fresh vegetables, herbs, plants, and flowers. Community gardens give everyone, a chance to enjoy the pleasures of gardening, even if they do not have the space at home. Community gardens typically have rules to ensure the garden is maintained properly and that members share in the upkeep.
What are the benefits of participating in a Community Garden?
There are many benefits of community gardens including beautifying the community, producing fresh produce, fostering healthy lifestyles, building stronger communities, educational opportunities, and a cleaner environment.
Difference between a Communal bed and an individual bed
An individual bed is a plot in which the gardener will maintain, grow, and reap the benefits from that space only. Communal gardening is sharing and working on a plot with one or more neighbors. Communal garden plots allow multiple people to partake in maintaining and harvesting the plants. Norristown Sprouts will feature a few communal beds in the garden. If you sign-up to help maintain the communal beds, you will also be able to reap the benefits from those plots as well, i.e. you will be able to take the vegetables or herbs grown in that plot.
When is our Garden Open?
The garden is open from March/April through November (weather permitting). Garden visitation is permitted only during the designated hours due to the garden’s location on school property:
|Days of the Week
|During the School Year
|Outside of the School Year and Summer School
|If Summer School is in Session
|Monday - Friday
|Sunrise to 7:00 am and 4:00 pm-dusk
|Sunrise - dusk
|1:00 pm -dusk
|Saturday - Sunday
|Sunrise - dusk
|Sunrise - dusk
|Sunrise - dusk
How do you get a garden plot?
Applications are accepted March - April 2024. If your application is submitted after April 30, you may be placed on a waitlist.
To be eligible, you must:
- Be a Norristown resident, Norristown school, or Norristown organization
- Be 16 years or older
- Have or are able to obtain current child clearances (can be obtained for free here)
All applicants must complete the following steps:
- Complete an application here.
- Read and sign the garden agreement here.
- Read and sign the individual waiver here.
- Submit child clearances during the application process (see step 1 above) or email us.
What are the next steps?
- The membership team will confirm if you completed steps 2, 3, and 4.
- Once you complete those steps, the membership team will contact you to arrange a walk-through and orientation of the garden. During this time, you will pick your garden plot number. See the image to the right for available plots (click image to enlarge). If you are on the waitlist, you will be contacted if a plot opens.
Please complete our form we'll get back to you within 3 business days.
Where do I park? Gardeners can park in the school lot adjacent to the building or on the street.
Is parking free? Yes
Membership and Application
How do I become a member? Please complete the application here.
Is there a fee to join? There is no fee to join.
How do I pick my garden plot? Once you submit your application, the Garden Coordinator will be in contact with you to show you available plots. You can also view the most current garden map on the garden website to show you which plots are available.
How big are the garden plots? Each raised bed is 4x12 while the ADA compliant beds are 47 in. (L) x 23.75 in. (W) x 9.6 in. (D)
Can I bring someone with me to help or to show them the garden? Yes, but please have them sign in on the sign-in sheet. If they will become a regular gardener helping to maintain your plot, they should submit an application and sign the liability statement.
For how long do I have a plot? Gardeners will hold their plot assignment April through November (weather permitting). Gardeners returning from a previous year can renew their application for those plots.
Garden visitation is permitted only during the designated hours due to the garden’s location on school property.
Materials & Resources
As a Norristown Sprouts Community Garden member, to what resources will I have access? As a member, you will have access to support and information from other gardeners, Garden Coordinators, and a Registered Dietitian. For hands-on gardening, gardeners will have access to the garden tools, wheelbarrows, compost area, organic compost/soil, mulch, and trash bins.
Do I need to bring my own gardening tools? Garden tools are available for sharing but you may choose to bring your own tools if preferred.
What plants and other materials can I bring into the garden? Gardeners agree to garden with non-invasive plants and non-toxic materials. Gardeners are welcome to bring their own seeds and gardening equipment.
How do I water my garden bed? Water can be accessed from rain barrels that are next to the school. The rain barrels are filled as needed by the Norristown Fire Department. Watering cans are available to be filled up with water from the barrels.
What programs and activities are available? Educational workshops, family-friendly events, and cooking demos will be planned throughout the year.
Can non-members attend garden programs, events, and activities? Yes. The programs, events, and activities are open to the community.
Who should I talk to if I have a question about the garden? You should contact the Garden Coordinators with questions about the Norristown Sprouts Community Garden. If you have general gardening questions as it relates to planting, weeding, harvesting, composting, etc., you may come to the Garden Coordinators or another gardener with whom you are comfortable.
What should I plant in the different seasons? For ideas on what to plant, please take a look at our resources available at www.montcopa.org/CommunityGarden
How much work does it take to care for a plot? It depends. As a guideline, expect to spend at least one day a week working your plot, with additional visits as needed. The workload varies depending on the type and number of plants you grow, the amount of rain, etc. Generally, gardeners who spend more time working their plots achieve better results. We do not recommend applying for a plot if you have a very busy schedule or will be taking long vacations.
How Do I Volunteer?
Volunteers are welcome at the Norristown Sprouts Community Garden. To be eligible, you must:
- Be 16 years or older
- Have or able to obtain current child clearances (can be obtained for free here)
Please complete the Volunteer Application (here). Once you submit the application, the Garden Coordinator will contact you.
Are bathroom facilities available? Bathroom facilities are not accessible on-site. Bathroom facilities are available in the various shopping centers next to the garden which are within walking distance.
Can I bring my pets to the garden? No. While we love furry friends, please do not bring pets to the garden.
Who oversees Norristown Sprouts Community Garden and its activities? The Montgomery County Office of Public Health oversees the garden, but it is maintained by a joint effort of county-employed Garden Coordinators and community members.
Raised Bed Sheet Mulching (source: Megan Chawner, Penn State (PDA -Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture)
Tips for a Raised Bed Vegetable Garden (source: HGTV)
Garden Mulches (source: University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension)
Fall Garden Raised Bed Calendar (source: Penn State Montco Cooperative Extension Office)