Charlestown Township, Chester County, PA

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Established June 2, 1997
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March 16, 1998

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August 13, 1997
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Brightside Farm

Brightside Farm - Community Garden

LATEST NEWS Plot Assignments Garden Diagram
Rules & Restrictions Photos:  2003  2004  2005
What's New?
The list of 2011 gardeners and plot assignments is available here, and the garden layout is available here
Would You Like a Plot? - Plots are available on a first come, first served basis. There is generally a short waiting list at the beginning of a new year. Since there is always some turnover, it is unusual to be on the waiting list more than one year, especially if you get on the list early.
Brief History...
The Community Garden at Charlestown Township's Brightside Farm (at the intersection of Yellow Springs and Valley Hill Roads) was started in the Spring of 2003, at which time 12 fenced in plots were constructed, with water provided via hose from a nearby well. Using materials purchased by the Township, the garden was constructed by volunteers from the Township's Brightside Farm Committee with a lot of help from local farmer Newell Burdick. Each gardener pays a fee of $25 for use of a plot for the year. The first year was a great success and it was clear the garden should be expanded. (See our 2003 Photos.)
In the Spring of 2004, the garden was expanded an additional 12 plots giving us 24 in total. In addition, the area south of the fenced garden was plowed and disked for planting of crops not likely to be bothered by deer, such as pumpkins and other melons. See our 2004 Photos.
Operation of the Latch at the End Gate by the Well
Whether entering or leaving, you always lift the outside brass colored hook. Outside meaning the hook nearest the outside of the garden. Always close the gate behind you and make sure it latches.
Rules & Restrictions - The Big Picture...
  • KEEP ALL GARDEN GATES CLOSED AT ALL TIMES. One gate left open can result in a great deal of damage from either someone's pet or from entry by various wild but increasingly bold animals including rabbits, deer, raccoons and ground hogs.
  • NO PETS IN THE GARDEN - Please do not bring pets into the garden. They can easily wander onto someone else's plot and damage the plantings there.
  • WATCH CHILDREN - We welcome children in the garden, and especially like seeing them share both the effort and the rewards of gardening. If you bring young children with you while working on your plot, please make sure they stay in the center aisle or in your own plot, and do not wander into someone else's plot.
  • TURN WATER OFF WHEN LEAVING - If you are the last person to leave who is using water at your hose station, be sure to turn OFF the water at your hose station (bottom red handle). If you are also the last person to leave who is using water in the entire garden, TURN OFF THE BLUE HYDRANT outside the end of the garden nearest the house. The hydrant is OFF when the handle is DOWN!
  • BUILDINGS ARE OFF-LIMITS - Please observe the signs around the areas with farm buildings and equipment that only permit access by "Authorized Personnel". Unfortunately, there are both structures and machinery that are unsafe, especially for unsupervised young people. One "event" the Farm Committee may be able to hold this summer would be a tour for our gardeners of the buildings and grounds not generally open for public access.
  • TREE CLIMBING OFF LIMITS - The trees outside the house end of the garden are very tempting for young people to climb. We hate to be sticks-in-the-mud, but without being able to control the situation, and with concerns that young children could climb without supervision and get injured, we ask that no one climb these trees. Hopefully, most families have some trees at home that their children can climb.


Rules & Restrictions - Your Plot...
  • WHAT TO DO WITH WEEDS - Two "Weed Bins" are provided, one between Gates "A" and "B", and the other near Gate "C". Please put all weeds you pull from your plot or the aisles in the garden into one of these two bins where they will be allowed to decompose.
  • COMPOST USAGE - The compost pile between Gates B and C is mature enough to use. Use the provided wheel barrow or cart to transport compost to your plot. Please do not add anything directly to this pile.
  • HELP MAINTAIN THE CENTER AISLE - Keeping weeds out of the garden's center aisle is a continuing problem for the limited group of people who volunteer to bring you the Community Garden. We ask that when you have the opportunity, please pull any weeds growing in the half of the center aisle in front of your plot.
  • WHAT TO DO WITH ROCKS - Our Community Garden grows rocks as well as plant life. When you remove rocks from your garden, please place them along the inside of the fence adjacent to your plot. Please distribute them along the base of the fence, and do not pile them up in one place in the 3' wide path between your plot and the fence. Please do not allow the rocks to weigh against the fence so they put outward pressure on the fence. Rocks at the base of the fence form another barrier to ground hogs and other critters. We try to keep the three foot wide paths around the interior of the fence and between plots weed-wacked during the summer.
    It seems each year we have to address a continuing problem of one or a few gardeners allowing their plots to go almost entirely to weeds and not do anything about it.
    We all start the year with the best intentions to keep our garden plot in good shape throughout the year. No one expects anyone to maintain a pristine garden plot. We all have other demands on our time that may cause us to "get behind" on weed pulling and other garden chores.
    However, we have had several instances where plots have, for all practical purposes, been abandoned mid-summer, with a dense crop of weeds allowed to grow to several feet throughout the plot. This is very unfair to the neighboring plot gardeners, especially when the weeds go to seed, and is also unfair to those who were denied plots because all 24 plots were "taken".
    The modest fee that is charged gardeners barely covers garden costs to the township, so we should all consider it a privilege to have a plot at Brightside Farm, and as such, we have an obligation to other gardeners and to the township not to allow our plots to become an eye-sore or source of spreading weeds.
    In past years, we have had plots turned over to new gardeners in the middle of the summer because a gardener found he or she could not care for the plot, often because of employment changes, illness or other very legitimate reasons. There is often a "gap" in garden maintenance when a gardener goes away on vacation, and this is expected.
    Starting in 2006, we established some new rules and suggestions to address this problem -
    • Anticipated Problem - It seems that most gardeners who allow their plots to go to weeds obtain little or no produce from their plots. If you anticipate a problem keeping up with the standard 19'x20' plot, either ask a neighbor or friend to share your plot, and the maintenance that goes with it, or notify me that you would like to share your plot and I will try to find another gardener for half of your plot. Of course, the assumption here is that you will be able to keep up with the half a plot that you retain for yourself. (I would suggest plots be split down the center-line from the center aisle to the fence, so each half of the plot contains both a fence border, an aisle border, and a side adjacent to another plot.)
    • Unanticipated Problem - If you do not anticipate a problem keeping up with your plot, but find at some point during the year that you are unable to do so, we ask that you not simply abandon it. First, notify me as soon as you are aware that you will not be able to maintain your plot. Depending on the time of the year, I may be able to get someone from the waiting list or another current gardener to take over your plot. If not, worse case, volunteers will weed-wack and/or mow your plot to keep the weeds under control.
    • Vacations and Temporary Absences - If you are going to be away for a period on vacation or other matter, but fully expect to return and resume care for your garden plot, please arrange with a friend from the garden or someone else to harvest your produce during that period, so it does not rot on the vine. If you suspend your garden maintenance and the weeds are already well established in your plot, please arrange for someone else to pull weeds in your plot in your absence. Someone may gladly exchange an hour of weeding for your fresh produce while you are away.


Plot Assignments...
The preliminary 2011 Community Garden plot assignments are listed below. Click here to see the layout of the fenced portion of the garden. Additional tilled space will be available for unfenced plantings.
Plot Gardener Plot# Gardener
23 Michelle Muldoon 24 Sue Williams
21 Liz Hasson 22 Sue Staas
19 Michael Bowell 20 Paul Stanley
Hose Station C,     Gate C
17 John Patriarca 18 Betsy Wilson
15 Sid & Marguerite Buck 16 John Martin
13 Irene Ewald 14 Margorie Crawford
Hose Station B,     Gate B
11 Ken & Pauline Patrick 12 Jihong Hu
9 Frank Manfrey 10 Peter Wilson
7 Gail Underiner 8 Jim Walsh
Hose Station A,     Gate A
5 Guosen Ye 6 Rob & Claire Dukes
3 John and Nancy Pittock 4 Marsha Wirtel
1 Chris Newman 2 Bill McKinley


Garden Layout
Garden Diagram


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