Guide to the Garden

We hope to centralize a general guide for new gardeners to help acquaint them with the garden. As always, if you have any questions or ideas to make things better, feel free to drop a line to the garden coordinator at or give a call or text to 517-512-2068.

The Pavilion Tool ShedGarden-Guide_1

At the back of the Dunnebacke Pavilion in front of the garden we have a small shed area for tools. This area is locked with a combo lock, so if you need access, text me at 517-512-2068 with your name and plot number and I will get the code to you.

Here you will find a variety of tools for the garden including:

  • 2 Wheelbarrows
  • Shovels
  • Trowels
  • Hoses for the Water System (See Below)
  • Marker Board for notes to the fellow gardeners
  • Donated Seeds


We hope to eventually have a rainwater collection system hooked up behind the pavilion, but we also have access to city water. This feeds water to different areas of the garden which are controlled through a central junction box to the right of the Garden Entrance. Since it is a bit of a process to hook this up, we try to keep the blue barrels around the garden filled once it is hooked up, so people can draw from those barrels during the week for their local plots.


Water Barrel

The city water comes from a spigot at the bottom of the water fountain close to the pavilion. In order to hook up to the water source:

1- Get the black hose roll out of the Tool Shed and wheel it over to the drinking fountain.

2- Hook the green part up to the spigot below the fountain.

3- Roll the black hose out toward the junction box at the edge of the garden.

4- Open the junction box and find the hose leading into the junction and hook the black hose leading from the fountain to that.

5- Find the water key in the shed (4-way wrench found in the green basket hanging to the right of the door when you enter the tool shed)

6- Use the red marked wrench to turn on the water at the water fountain spigot.

7- See different labels at the junction to direct water flow to different parts of the garden. Water usually comes out at the hose close to the  blue water barrels.


Community Plot

garden-2The large plot in front of the compost bins is a shared plot that we collectively decide what to plant at the beginning of each season. See the Current Garden Plan page for this years specifics. It is split up into 7 raised beds which are tilled at the beginning of the year. Each raised bed can fit nearly 50 plants at 18 inch spacing. We try to plant closely and use companion planting to maximize production and minimize weeding. This plot is fed by a drip system and needs to be watered regularly during dry weeks.

In addition to the community plot, we also share the strawberry patch, raspberries and asparagus, which comes up really heavy at the beginning of the season (May to June).

The asparagus needs to be picked every few days to maximize production, so please help yourself if you see stalks that are over 7″ tall! They should be marked with bamboo sticks (see map).

We also have trellises use to grow cucumbers and peas.

At the end of the year, we have a work-day to harvest and split everything up based on what people want. What we have left over, we hope to donate to the foodbank. Overwintering crops including carrots and winter wheat will be planted after harvest.Old-Oakland-Community-Garden-updated-5-24 (1)


Monthly Work-Day

As part of the Old Oakland community garden we encourage people to help out at our monthly workday (Second Saturday of Every Month).

Join Us the second Saturday of Every Month from May to November! We work on shared garden projects from 9am to 12pm (Donuts and Coffee Provided). See the events page for details!

The Terrain

The Old Oakland Community Garden is in a very unique location, which invites a lot of good and bad things.

The Wetland

Part of the ecosystem of the Old Oakland Community Garden is the wetland which is directly behind the garden. This wetland includes a huge variety of native plant and animal species which we really want to conserve. But it also does involve a huge breeding ground for mosquitos and does attract invasive sparrow species which push out the native swallows. The birdhouses surrounding the wetlands are meant to encourage the native swallows. In order to deal with the mosquitos we will be installing a bat house which will hold up to 2,000 bats.


We try to do soil tests regularly in order to asses the nutrient levels and deficiencies in the soil. We will eventually have those results posted here on the website. For the most part the soil in the area contains a significant amount of clay making some crops difficult to grow. The drainage at the front part of the garden and in the garden beds is fair, but it tends to get a little soggy toward the back of the garden. This is probably good for composting on that end, but can make it difficult to grow a rotating crop in the community plot. We hope to eventually install pipes to help with this by draining water into the wetland area.

Native Plants

We hope to have a list of plants we have had success growing as well as ones we have had trouble with. Check back soon.

Weeds and Pests

We have a number of pathogens, pests and weeds that we have dealt with. We hope to keep this part of the site updated with what we encounter so you all know what to look out for.



CANADIAN THISTLE: This is one of the primary weeds infecting the garden. It seems to be particularly problematic in the southeast side. It grows via a massive underground rhizome which extends nearly 8″ underground. Wear gloves when pulling and try to get as much of the rhizome up as possible.

This plant is also invasive and has cropped up all over the garden. It also grows via a massive underground rhizome, making it particularly difficult to control. If you see it anywhere, please pull it up and try to get as much of the root up as possible.

HORSETAIL: This plant is also invasive and has cropped up all over the garden. It also grows via a massive underground rhizome, making it particularly difficult to control. If you see it anywhere, please pull it up and try to get as much of the root up as possible.

Lambs Quarter

LAMBS QUARTER: This can be quite invasive, but it’s relatively easy to control. It is actually quite edible. If you see some, pick and rinse the leaves and sautee it like you would spinach.


Working on this part. Let us know if you can help!