No soil? No problem. Options aplenty on Martha’s Vineyard

The former Thimble Farm has space for community farmers. — Photo by Randi Baird

Interested in trying out your green thumb? Want to till some soil this summer? If your property has less than desirable conditions for plotting your own garden bed, consider buying a plot in an Island community garden. Home grown cucumbers, zucchini, eggplants, tomatoes, peppers and more can be yours at one of three local farms.

Thimble Farm

According to Island Grown Initiative program administrator Emily Duncker, the community garden at Thimble Farm will be the first space on the farm to collaborate, inspire, and connect more people to the preservation and stewardship of the unique property. “We are committed to developing Thimble Farm as a community resource, and this garden is one of the aspects of the concept plan we presented to the public on February 8,” Ms. Duncker said.

The Thimble Farm community garden space, on the Tisbury-Oak Bluffs line, off  Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road will be a half-acre with handicap accessible beds and plots of varying sizes. Plots are available in three sizes 5 x 20 ($50), 10 x20 ($75) and 20 x20 ($100), with scholarships available as well as a sliding cost scale based on income.

”One of our main intentions is for this garden to be as inclusive as possible, including offering support for novice gardeners. We hope the smaller sized plots will attract novice gardeners who are maybe interested, but not fully sure of how to garden yet,” Ms. Duncker said.

Native Earth

Native Earth Teaching Farm, at 94 North Road in Chilmark, also offers a community garden.

“Our plots are all organic, fenced, various prices according to size, and barter and work trades are sometimes possible,” owner Rebecca Gilbert said. “We also have a farm library available, when the farm is open three days a week, and a garden mentorship program which includes seeds, seedlings, and training for beginning gardeners.”

FARM Institute

The FARM Institute in Edgartown offers 25 individual garden 8×20 plots for $75. The farm provides fencing, irrigation, compost bins, and tools to share.

Rebecca Sanders has been the FARM Institute garden manager for the past two years and took over responsibility of the Community Garden in 2013. “We have a community garden workday each spring, which will fall on April 5 this year. This is the first day gardeners can get into their plots and get started,” Ms. Sanders said.  “We’ll have cold hardy seedlings for sale, as well as wood chips available for gardeners to mulch the pathways around their plots.”

The FARM Institute’s Community Garden started seven years ago.

“The Community Garden was started in 2007 by our former education coordinator, Melinda DeFeo, and former development director Chrissy Kinsman, both avid gardeners,” Ms. Sanders said. “Tools were purchased for the garden with help from Scott and Julie Lively. Ms. DeFeo brought her Edgartown School students to plant a grains array in the garden in 2013.”

More information

Interested in trying out your green thumb?

Thimble Farm: Contact Emily Duncker at for more information about the community garden at Thimble Farm, a contract and/or to rent space for the season.

Native Earth Teaching Farm: To make arrangements for this season at Native Earth Teaching Farm, call the farm at 508-645-3304 and talk to Rebecca.

The FARM Institute: Reserve your spot at the FARM Institute in Edgartown by calling 508-627-7007.