LEO’s guide to community gardens in Louisville

It’s a rule-of-thumb for many Kentuckians to wait until after Derby to plant their gardens. But what if you don’t have a yard? That’s where community gardens come in. Grab your gardening gear, decide what you want to plant, and check out this list of community gardens in Louisville. If you know about other gardens to add, let us know. 

Blackacre State Nature Preserve and Historic Homestead
3200 Tucker Station Road
Blackacre State Nature Preserve claims to have the largest community garden in Louisville with over 300 plots. The garden is separated into sections for organic, non-organic, seasonal and year-round gardening. The nature preserve even offers micro-garden plots for beginners, or picky eaters who want a small yield. Equipment such as tools, tillers and hay bales are available for rental, and the garden is open Saturday, Monday and Wednesday from 9 a.m.-12 p.m.; Friday 6-8 p.m. 

East Main Street Community Garden
816 E. Main St.
This independent, organic garden has 32 plots, with each plot costing $20 per season. There is a sliding scale for those low on funds, and no gardener is turned away. Gardeners who are able are also encouraged to donate to the General Garden Fund with tools or money for the garden’s water bill. 

Jefferson County Cooperative Extension with UK’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment
Various Locations
This program with UK’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment operates 10 community gardens in Louisville. The plots range in size from 8 feet by 10 feet to 30 feet by 30 feet, and prices range from $10 to $20 per year. Gardeners have the option to renew their plots each year, and for most of the gardens such small equipment as tillers free to use. For more details, contact the Extension Office at 569-2344 or at [email protected].

7th Street – 3221 Seventh Street Road
Blue Lick – 10000 Mude Lane
Emerson – 1100 Sylvia St.
Farnsley-Moreman – 7410 Moorman Road
Limerick – 933 S. Sixth St.
William F. Miles Garden – 15712 Shelbyville Road
Millers Lane – 3122 Millers Lane
Parkland – Corner of 28th and Dumesnil streets
Russell – 409 S. 22nd St.
Southside – 7315 Southside Drive

Louisville Grows Community Gardens
Various locations
Prices vary
Louisville Grows is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building a sustainable community through urban agriculture, urban tree planting and environmental education. The group owns five community gardens and supports seven others through $1,000 micro-grants for equipment. Fees vary depending on plot size, but the average is $20. Plots range in size form 4 feet by 8 feet to 20 feet by 20 feet. 

Neighborhood Locations:
Shelby Park
Old Louisville

Louisville Grows also supports a refugee-run farm, from which you can reap the bounty for $575 per year. That might sound costly, but participants receive a bag of produce (roughly 20 pounds) weekly from June to the end of October. And if you want to be more involved, you can volunteer with farmers to help plant and pick the produce.

Shelby Park Community Garden
Corner of Hancock and St. Catherine streets
The Shelby Park Community Garden is a garden for and by the community, and it’s sponsored by the Shelby Park Neighborhood Association. Gardeners using the land must commit to volunteering on group projects for five hours per plot you plant in. Garden meetings are held once a month. You must take a turn mowing and turning over composite piles whenever possible. Also, composite piles are available for anyone in the neighborhood to use, not just the gardeners. Your reward? Quality, organic produce raised by your own hands that hasn’t been touched by pesticides and herbicides because the garden bans Roundup, Spectracide and similar products. Plots are rented by season, and range in size from four-foot-square beds to 11-foot-square beds.

For more information about the over 40 community gardens in the city, check this map by the Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District for more options.

Honorable Mention

Louisville Grows’ Orchards
Various locations
While not technically community gardens, Louisville Grows’ orchards are well worth mentioning. These orchards can provide up to 8,000 pounds of fresh fruit each year for community members, and also create green space in an urban environments. The food grown at these orchards include blackberry, serviceberry, raspberry, and blueberry bushes, as well as concord grape vines, plum trees, peach trees, pear trees, apple trees, fig trees and nectarine trees. 

The People’s Garden Orchard – 536 N. 44th St.
The Portland Community Food Forest – 2932 Portland Ave.
Produce Park – 441 S. 30th St.
The South Points Food Forest – 1400 Bicknell Ave.