Scattered throughout Palo Alto are plots of land dedicated to providing Palo Altans with a place to dig their hands into the soil and plant vegetables, flowers, and herbs. These open spaces are an oasis for gardeners, as well as visitors, who come to enjoy the beauty of the calendula blossoms, the corn stalks, the pumpkin vines, the sunflowers, and more, as well as the large variety of birds and butterflies. The community gardens are inviting places to walk and relax.
History of the Gardens
The original Main Garden was created in 1970 as a model to demonstrate organic gardening, a return to older gardening techniques. It was originally part of the City's Nature & Science Department and volunteer gardeners were recruited from junior high schools, City staff, and people interested in gardening.
Over the years, demand for gardening sites increased and additional gardens were created. Today, the Palo Alto Community Garden Program resides within the Community Services Department and is the responsibility of the Open Space Parks and Golf Division.
The Palo Alto Community Gardens continue to change and grow with the times. The gardens have expanded to accommodate a growing population, gardening policies have changed to embrace new technology, UCCE Master Gardener Palo Alto Demonstration Gardens.
The first garden, the demonstration garden, shows innovative approaches to edible landscaping. They present horticultural "best practices" for home gardens by using seasonally appropriate vegetable and fruit selections, illustrate the use of garden practices such as methods of trellising, staking, soil preparation, and the use of mulch materials. This area provides space to showcase new varieties, cover crops, companion planting, rare fruits, and flowering plants that attract beneficial insects.
The second garden is the Waterwise Nature Garden. It showcases California native and Mediterranean climate plants that require little or no supplemental summer water but provide food and shelter for beneficial insects, butterflies and birds. The garden is open to the public for strolling.
For more information go to: Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County
Local Resources for Community Gardeners
We have many community resources for gardeners right here in Palo Alto. The City of Palo Alto gives compost workshops and gives away free compost.
Elizabeth Gamble Gardens is a beautiful place to stroll and get ideas and offers gardening classes.
Common Ground Organic Garden Supply and Education Center, a project of the non-profit Ecology Action, has been in Palo Alto for over 30 years, offering regular classes on organic gardening, as well as organic seeds and seedlings, books and tools.
Canopy stewards the planting and care of trees in Palo Alto.
Palo Alto Online has a list of local gardening clubs.
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Garden Program Coordinator
phone: 650-496-6962 firstname.lastname@example.org
Please contact the Garden Program Coordinator with any questions, or to sign up for a plot in one of the gardens.
Email is preferable: Name, address, and a daytime phone.
Gardens Open to Palo Alto residents only.
Current fees: .75 cent a square foot
and a $100 refundable deposit all the plots vary in size.
1312 Newell Street
Located behind the main library branch and Art Center
Edith Johnson Garden:
200 Waverly Street Located in Johnson Park.
Eleanor Pardee Garden:
1201 Channing Avenue Located in Pardee Park.
Community Garden Rules and Regulations