Community Garden

2023 General Garden Rules:

Opening day: To be determined by Beach and Rec and is weather dependent, please do not start planting until Beach and Rec open the gardens. Thanks!

Vehicles: Parking is allowed along the road up to the fence. Vehicles are allowed around the perimeter of the gardens only from Opening Day until Mid-June for set up and again in October and November for clean-up.  This is to prevent hard packing and subsequent erosion of the meadows. 

Dogs: Dogs are allowed at Bauer Park, and, by Town Ordinance, are to be leashed at all times. Feces must be cleaned up immediately and thrown away.  Bauer is a multi-use park and we have children and visitors in all areas of the park participating in many activities. It is our responsibility to keep these areas safe and healthy. Dogs are NOT allowed inside the fenced in area of the gardens at any time.  Please do NOT allow dogs to walk in the gardens

Bird houses: For over 20 years Bauer Park has participated in the Cornell Ornithology Lab Bluebird Monitoring project. It is a very specific process and requires strict control of the houses and data collection.   No other birdhouses are allowed on Bauer property as this interferes with data collection.  This means that bird houses are not allowed in the gardens and will be removed if found.

Gardener’s Work Days: All gardeners who rent plots are required to participate in service projects at Bauer Park. This includes clean-up days, festival preparation, work and clean up, and food pantry trips. It is a total of 4 hours of commitment (regardless of how many plots you rent). The dates are listed in this information packet.  Please plan ahead in order to make sure that you do not loose all community service opportunities and risk losing your plot.  You may also opt to pay the $60 “in lieu of” doing the community service hours.  You may also have another person do the work for you, but they must sign in under your name and/or plot number for you to get the credit for their work. If you cannot attend an organized work day please contact the Bauer Park Garden Committee via the Beach and Recreation Office to establish an individual maintenance project. We also have gardeners and visitors to the park who are willing to donate hours for gardener’s too ill to participate in the maintenance program. If you do not participate in service hours, pay the $60 or make arrangements’, you will be denied a garden plot the following year. This is a mandatory requirement. 

  • April 1, 2023:  9 am to 11 am
  • May 6:  9 am to 11 am
  • June 3:  9 am to 11 am
  • July 8:  9 am to 11 am   
  • August 5:  9 am to 11 am
  • September 9:  9 am to 11 am
  • September 30  9 am to 11 am  Fall Clean Up
  • October 13   Harvest Festival Set Up
  • October 14  Harvest Festival  11-3
  • November TBD Garden Clean Up

Tool Sheds: Garden tools may be stored in the sheds but please be sure to leave room for your fellow gardeners.

Watering:  Spigots are placed throughout the gardens. “Unmanned” sprinklers are not allowed.  We suggest hand-watering as it is much more efficient than sprinklers.  The water comes from the ponds and is NON-Potable.   Do not drink the water!

Roto-tilling: We do not provide individual plot roto-tilling. The entire Community Garden area will be turned as soon as the ground can be worked. Please wait until the garden is turned and the Beach and Recreation Department Opens the gardens for the season before planting or putting up fences. Again, Opening Date is weather dependent and will be posted at the park and emails will be sent to everyone who has rented a plot. We anticipate the opening date to be in early April.  

Deadline for Renewal The deadline for current gardeners to renew their plots is April 3, 2023. 

New Gardeners New Gardener Applications will be accepted starting April 10, 2023.

Adding Plots Returning gardeners who wish to add plots may do so starting April 25, 2023 if there are plots available. If you added plots last year, they will not be automatically renewed.

Gardeners Who Lost Plots Gardeners who lost plots due to infractions of the rules, from the previous year, (including not cleaning up your plot), must wait until May 8, 2023 to rent a plot if there are any available at that time. 

Non-Organic Pesticides The use of non-organic chemical pesticides is strictly prohibited in any garden at Bauer Park. 

Children and the Gardens We strongly encourage and welcome your child’s participation in gardening activities, however, it is your responsibility to supervise your children at all times while you are working in your garden(s).

Plot Cleanup You are required to remove any fencing, garden fabric, non-organic mulch, plant markers, gardening stakes, etc., that you have placed in your plot and take it with you by the end of day on Saturday, November 25, 2023.  If your plot is not cleared by the deadline you will be denied a plot rental the following year. 

Garden Plot Maintenance and Hygiene Plots must be maintained in good condition and within the boundaries established. Maintain your garden by picking your crops regularly and arranging for someone to care for your plot if you go away.  Please do not waste food.  Contact the Beach and Recreation Department if you are unable to pick your produce at 203-245-5623. Please don’t let food rot on the vine. They can be given to the local food bank. Keep grass walkways clear of hoses and other gardening materials. Do not throw rocks found in gardens in walkways, take them and place them next to the shed(s). Remember, Bauer Park has a carry in, carry out policy for trash. You are encouraged to regularly tend your plot and carefully use organic insect deterrents only when absolutely necessary in all the Community Gardens. DO NOT USE NON-ORGANIC CHEMICAL PESTICIDES. If you use non-organic chemical pesticides you will automatically lose your option to reserve a plot the following year. 

Fencing Green, black or wire mesh, no higher than four feet, may be used to fence individual plots in all gardens, however, no orange fencing or barbed wire is allowed. Fences must be removed by the end of day on November 25, 2023.

Animal Visitors to Your Gardens Some of the animal visitors to your gardens may be protected by the DEEP.  If you are having issues with garden visitors, please contact the Beach and Recreation Department and we can get the Bauer Park Committee’s involvement in how to handle the visitor. Do not take it upon yourself to remove/hurt/etc. the visitor.  It is also unlawful to transport animals from one place to another so guidance from the department/committee is a good way to deal with visitors.

Mulching Mulching is an important part of gardening to conserve water and keep weeds down. However, thin plastics are meant to be covered because they will break down in the sun and be very difficult to remove, often breaking into small pieces. Please use the appropriate materials and REMOVE THEM COMPLETELY AND BY THE CLEAN UP DATE. If using plastic or fabric you must rake it out of your plot if it has broken down during the season. 

Garden Waste Please place organic debris from your garden next to the sheds trying not to block the path. All non-organic material should be taken with you and disposed of properly.

Madison Food Pantry Donations: We will continue to have a shed available for produce donations to the Madison Food Pantry. We encourage gardeners to donate extra produce and to have someone tend to their gardens when they are away, to prevent good food from rotting in the plots. We can arrange to have produce picked in your plot if you are unable to pick it yourself or if you are away. Again, just contact the Beach and Recreation Department at 203-245-5623.

2010 Volunteers

Application Procedure

  • We encourage you to apply through the mail.  
    • Mail the application form to: Town of Madison, Recreation Department, 8 Campus Drive, Madison, Connecticut 06443.
    • Make a non-refundable payment to “Town of Madison”
  • Alternatively, you may renew in person at the Recreation Department.
  • The entire Community garden area will be turned as soon as the ground can be worked. Please wait until the garden is turned before planting or putting up individual fences. Please do not start planting until the town has prepared the plots, the date is weather dependent and will be posted at the park and emails will be sent to everyone who has rented a plot. We anticipate the opening date as being early in April. We do not provide individual plot roto-tilling. There shall be no perennial planting in the gardens.
plants growing in community garden plots

Plot Descriptions

Use of non–organic chemical pesticides is strictly prohibited in any garden at Bauer Park. Please supervise children. We strongly encourage their participation in gardening activities while they receive your guidance and direction.
Plot Type Size Cost Description
Garden Approximately
20' x 20'
$30 no non-organic pesticides
are to be applied
Organic Approximately
20' x 20'
$30 no non-organic pesticides or fertilizers
are to be applied
Greenhouse Space varies $5 please contact Beach and Recreation at (203) 245-5622  Available first come - first served each year.

Plot Assignment, Number of Plots & Cultivation Deadlines

Plots in the Community Gardens will be reassigned to gardeners who renew by April 3, 2023 unless they had infractions from the previous year or did not do service hours.

You may have up to two plots (Beach and Recreation has the discretion to limit the number of plots assigned) in either the Community Garden or Organic Garden.  Some gardeners have been grandfathered in to have more than two plots due to the fact they had plots before the general rules and regulations were established.  

Plots that are rented but not cultivated by June 5, 2023 will be made available to other gardeners for a $15 charge. You will automatically lose your option to reserve the plot next year.  If you know you will be delayed in planting, just contact the Beach and Recreation Office at 203-245-5622 before June 5, and we will extend your deadline.  All plots not cultivate by July 1, 2023 will be utilized for food share. 


Call the Recreation Department at 203-245-5623 email: Carrie Gazda.

Thank you!


Please complete and send to:

Madison Beach and Recreation Department
8 Campus Drive, Madison, CT 06443

Community Garden Application