Urban Agriculture

Below are a series of frequently asked questions and answers to assist Cambridge residents in practicing urban agriculture; cultivating food at home in our city. If you need more information or have additional questions, please contact Jennifer Letourneau at 617-349-4680 or jletourneau@cambridgema.gov.

Where should I locate my garden?

Your garden ideally should be south facing if possible.  If that is not possible, then locate it in a place that gets the maximum amount of sun and air.  A planter on wheels is a good solution for an urban gardener to be able to “chase the sun.”  In addition, you should choose a location with access to water.

Can I plant directly into the ground?

Ideal gardening soil is rich with nutrients.  Most urban soils are nutrient deficient and potentially contaminated with lead.  Compost can be added to soil to add nutrients.  In addition, it is recommended to test your soil before planting.  You can send your soil out for analysis to UMass Amherst, http://soiltest.umass.edu/.

What can I do if I do not have a back yard or my soil isn't good?

Many urban gardeners have success growing in containers.  Plants grow well in all types of containers or planters.  If you are constructing a planter, please be sure to use materials that will not introduce any contaminants.  For example, do not use pressure treated lumber to construct your planter.  Ideally, your planter should be filled with nutrient rich soil at a depth of at least 6 inches.

Are there Community Gardens in Cambridge?

Yes, click here for more information.

What should I plant?

The types of plants that you choose are completely up to you.  Some plants are happy to have their seeds directly sown into your garden and others prefer to be started indoors and transplanted.  Here is a website that can help you plan, http://www.gardenguides.com/.

When should I plant my garden?

There are many factors that can help you determine when to plant.  Here is a website to help you make that decision, http://www.almanac.com/.

Where can I learn about making my own compost?

The City of Cambridge Public Works Department is an excellent source for compost information. Click here to learn more.

How can I deter rodent activity in my garden?

The City of Cambridge Public Works Department is an excellent source for rodent control information. Click here to learn more.  

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Dept of Public Works

147 Hampshire St
Cambridge MA 02139


Hours of Service

Monday: 8:30am-8pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 8:30am-5pm
Friday: 8:30am-12pm

Department Director:

Jennifer Letourneau: