Special Jobs

Once trained, gardeners can work independently on tasks like the ones listed below. Track your work hours, or donate time to help the Gardens thrive. If interested please contact (president@ithacacommunitygardens.org).

General Cleanup

Look around & see what needs doing. Tidy inside sheds (sort & put tools away, fold empty compost bags, sweep dirt out. Sort various trash containers, separating recycle from trash from organic stuff that can go into the compost. Pick up trash around the compost areas. Move random rock piles to the 2 designated rock piles, one on each side of the gardens. Tidy outside sheds: make sure tomato cages are stacked neatly, chicken wire is rolled & tied, stakes are sorted & stacked neatly, all buckets are turned upside down so rain doesn’t collect in them.

Deer Fence Completion & Maintenance

Continue to check & repair the deer fencing where line has broken (fishing line strands above the fence). String new fishing line (line found in highway shed, along with aluminum step ladder; also a second blue plastic 2-step step stool outside highway tool shed). Tie strips of fabric on the line — fabric is in highway shed on shelves.

Clear Fences

Remove any vines, weeds, wood that has grown into the fence. Trim any brush, bushes away from both inside and outside of garden fence. Bundle brush as you go. Make bundles small enough so anyone can can lift them. Use cut lengths of rope in the shed, with a loop tied in one end. Lay rope on ground, pile brush on the rope while cutting, & then pull the loose end through the loop, tighten the bundle, and then just tie one loop (like half a shoe lace knot) so the rope can be reused (it’s easy!). Leave the bundles outside the truck gate, to the side of the driveway, Truck driver will pull in there to pick them up. Clear area at least 3 feet wide outside the fence, so we can eventually mulch with wood chips. If overgrown material is in an assigned plot, notify ithacagardensboard@gmail.com who will contact the gardener.

Cut & Clear Brush Behind Fenced Garden on Railroad Side

The large locust trees have been cut and need to be cut into smaller pieces & bundled; follow bundling directions above. Tall weeds that are too big to mow (burdock, etc.) need to be sawed off at the base. Needs mowing more back there — watch out not to touch the wild parsnip (looks like yellow queen anne’s lace) outside the RR fence to the south.

Tidy the “Front” of the Gardens

Keep the fence along Rte. 13 clear of weeds, so we look good to the public. The fence needs clearing on both sides, so part of the job is going along the outside of the fence to weed & collect & remove any blown-in litter too. [Caution: watch out for poison ivy, especially on & between the 2 big trees along fence.]

Sift & Bag Compost

Use dirt sifters (in shed or by compost piles) to sift finished compost, or just roughly sort out the stones, trash, sticks, & bag without sifting. Put stones on designated stone piles, small uncomposted material back into the active compost bin, larger sticks, etc. into designated collection pile outside garden fence to be taken later to Solid Waste, smaller sticks can go into a plastic bag. Bag the compost (coal bags in shed) & lean bags against garden sheds for general use. Send message to email list so people will use it.

Remove Bindweed

Remove bindweed, especially growing up the fences. Collect in plastic bags from shed, leave by shed for disposal.

Sheet Mulch Clearing/Weeding/Re-mulching

AVOID POISON IVY! (ask where it is) The mulch needs to be 6” thick, lots more needs to be wheelbarrowed over from the pile on RR side. Empty the wood bin (just unhook the round wire bin): wood bits can be bagged (garbage bags in shed) or branches bundled (rope in shed – tie with a slip knot so rope can be reused). Put up beside truck gate outside garden fence, for others to truck to Solid Waste.
Persistent weeds such as comfrey and burdock are not killed even by 6″ of wood chips over cardboard. To weed, pull back the mulch a bit, insert a narrow shovel near the plant base, and try to get as much root as possible. Try not to put dirt on top of the wood chips, and remulch the dug area. Put any invasive plants into a plastic bag (found in shed) to be disposed of (leave the bags by the garden shed). This would be great job to tackle with a friend; plenty of work for two or more!

Food Donation Plot

Join the group of people helping to grow food for local food pantries. Work on tasks such as plot preparation, weeding and general maintenance

Mowing Team and Team Leader 

Mowing leader needed to help train new mowers, regularly check in with mowers, and point out areas in need of mowing. Training now available by contacting president@ithacacommunitygardens.org. Mowing team members set their own mowing hours. Here are mowing instructions.

Poison Ivy Removal

We are looking for gardener brave enough to work on eliminating the poison ivy growing in the fence & up a tree along the Rte. 13 fence (near the sheet-mulched area). Perhaps there is a less-than-usually-susceptible volunteer? Or someone who will use protective gear & proceed with extreme caution?

Ithaca Festival Parade Team & Parade Captain

We are looking for a 2018 parade captain to organize the Ithaca Community Gardens’ participation in the annual Ithaca Parade that kicks off the Ithaca Festival (usually a Friday in early June). Committee members will help design and construct the parade float (shall we recycle the caterpillar idea?), collecting materials and creating decorations around a garden theme. Members are strongly encouraged to walk in the parade to represent the Gardens. Bring creative ideas to a project that will showcase the Gardens within the community.

Woodchuck Removal Team & Team Leader

We pay a licensed wildlife control operator to live-trap and remove any woodchucks that are sighted on the Gardens land. Schedule the trapping when needed, and arrange for a small team of reliable gardeners to check the traps. Ensure that the traps get checked twice daily, filling in for gardeners if need be. Training available for this job!


We’re looking for a gardener with fundraising experience to work largely independently to submit a grant to Sustainable Tompkins, for their Neighborhood Mini-Grant Program, by June 1, 2017. We obtained a grant in 2015, so we can guide you through the process. We are looking for funds to help pay for a big “Urban Gardening Day” event we’re hosting at the Gardens in August 2017. We would like to include funds to produce a Gardens bumper sticker, and seed packets with the Gardens logo, either for sale or to give away. This is the ideal job for someone who prefers fulfill their work hours at home on their own time.

Database Assistance

First learn how the Gardens info is kept (in an online Airbase database), and then help with the design and management of the database. This job takes a lot of time during February thru May, needs someone with attention to detail and database experience.

Social Media Writer

Activate the Gardens’ presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

Bulletin Board Monitor

Rejuvenate the bulletin boards, post emails & notices for gardeners without computers.

Email List Manager

Get trained to add & delete gardeners on the Gardens’ group email list (on Riseup.net). Doesn’t take a lot of time but must be done promptly.

Newsletter Editor

Create & distribute a Gardens newsletter (we’ve had one off & on, as editors come & go).

Plot Rehabilitation Team & Team Leader

Contact president@ithacacommunitygardens.org to help rehabilitate one neglected plot, and possibly create one new garden plot. This is heavy work, using a spading fork to dig the area, remove weeds and level the ground.

Plot Staking

Replace missing or rotten marker stakes as soon as weather permits in March/early April, work in teams of 2 or 3 persons for 2–3 hours under the guidance of a trained plot staking leader to measure plot corner locations and drive in new metal replacement stakes on days and times determined by team. Requires attention to detail.

Solid Waste Trucking

This job requires a truck; a good time to do it is just after a workday (last Saturday of month April–October); check to see if it needs doing at other times. There will be yard waste, large brush, other stuff that doesn’t easily compost or invasive weeds like comfrey that have been bagged for disposal by taking it to Solid Waste.