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Sample guidelines from other gardens

Sample Guidelines and Rules for Community Gardens

This compilation of rules from many other gardens reveals a breadth of concerns and an interesting variety in toneMost gardens have about 10-20 statements in their list of guidelines and rules.  This list is overkill, but I didn’t want to bias the outcome by being too selective. Inclusion of a rule here does NOT imply that I or the OCGA board think the rule is necessary or even a good idea.  I hope you will read this before the rule-making meeting.  Our job of creating our own rules should be easier if we use this list as a starting point. Italics are my additions

–Susie A.


One of the main goals in community gardening is to work together or next to each other in relative harmony. Please be courteous in all interactions, and work together to resolve any disagreements. Contact your Garden Manager for guideline clarifications or plot delineation. Garden Managers will check plots regularly to encourage productive use by participants. Gardeners should make arrangements for plot maintenance and notify the Garden Manager if they will be away for more than a week.

In the spirit of cooperation, all gardeners shall treat the garden, other gardeners, neighbors, and visitors with respect and consideration. No stealing (harvesting from others’ plots without authorization), verbal or physical harassment is allowed. Violation of this rule will result in expulsion from the garden.

Radios. Should you wish to listen to the radio, please use headphones so as not to disturb the tranquility of the gardens.

The bulletin board is a way for all of us to stay in touch. Please use it for any garden-related purposes.

If you have any questions, suggestions, or complaints, please contact one of the Garden Committee members.

Please park only in prescribed areas (yet to be determined for Oxford garden).

No stealing of anything is permitted. Should it become known that you have taken anything: vegetables, tools, hose, plants or anything else, you will lose your plot immediately.

I will not plant, weed, water or harvest from any other members plot unless specifically invited to do so.

No gardener can give permission to any one to go into anyone else’s plot for any reason. Only the gardener assigned to a plot can grant permission.

Food, herbs, and flowers planted around the garden perimeter inside the fence may be harvested by any Garden Member or Community Harvest plot gardenerItems planted outside of the fence may be harvested by anyone.  Please take only what you need.

If vandalism or theft occurs, notify the garden committee immediately. Help us discourage losses by questioning unfamiliar faces.

Garden Gates. The last gardener to leave the garden regardless of the time of day should securely close and lock the shed and gates.


Garden plots are assigned to one person only and are not transferable. Others may garden at your site, but the responsibility for payment of fees, cleanup and other duties at the site will be the responsibility of the individual whose name is assigned to the plotYou may not give your plot to another person; however, a one-season temporary transfer is allowed; notify the Garden Manager.

Keep the Garden Committee advised of your current address, email address, and telephone number; notify the Garden Committee of any change to your contact information.

Each child’s plot is assigned to one adult who assumes full responsibility for the plot.

Notify a Garden Committee member if you are no longer able to tend your plot; will be absent for a long period of time; or have asked a friend to tend your garden.

Gardeners must maintain plots and adjacent walkways. Gardeners who do not maintain their plots will not be eligible for a plot in the following year.

I will keep my plot planted or well-mulched at all times.

Plots that are unplanted by _date____ are assumed abandoned and will be forfeited without a refund. Plots not planted will be reassigned.

If, for any reason (health, vacation, work pressure), you will be temporarily unable to maintain your plot, inform a Garden Committee member.

If you want someone to work your plot or pick your vegetables when you are sick or away, give that person a signed note.

I will harvest only my from my own plot unless given specific permission by other gardener’s to harvest from their plots.

Notification of abandoned or neglected plot:

1.    Garden Manager calls gardener to set date for work to be done by gardener.

2.    If gardener does not meet agreed-upon date, gardener will receive a 5-day notice to clean up garden or lose plot.

3.    If gardener does not respond, gardener will receive a cancellation letter, and the plot will be assigned to another gardener.

The Consequences. If you fail to follow any of the above guidelines, a member of the Garden Committee will contact you and give you (time usually from 1-2 weeks) to correct the problem. If you do not respond, your plot will be considered abandoned. Plantings will be removed from abandoned plots or harvested for charity and the gardener will not be eligible to return the following year.

All gardeners are required to keep their plots as disease- and weed-free as possible.  If a garden is not maintained, a warning will be given. If conditions do not improve, the garden will be forfeited.


Garden meetings are held the _______ of each month in the gardening season.

I agree to attend the Garden meetings.

I understand that the Garden Committee meets once a month, and my participation, contribution, and ideas for the gardens will be highly valued and I am encouraged to attend.

It is the responsibility of each gardener to follow Community Garden Rules and to take an active role in administering the gardens. All gardeners are required to attend the Annual Meeting, __date_____, at the _location__. Failure to attend that meeting (or to send a representative) may result in forfeiture of your plot and the return of your fee.

Gardeners agree to attend ___ gardening workshops per year.

We encourage you to attend our association meetings throughout the year.


Family members are welcome to the garden site. Please supervise young children so they don't disturb other plots.

Children are VERY welcome at the garden when accompanied and fully supervised by an adult.

Teach young children to stay on paths.

Parents are encouraged to bring children to the garden and introduce them to the wonders of gardening. Please monitor their behavior and whereabouts at all times.

I will not bring pets into the garden.

Dogs. Please remember that Oxford laws apply to the garden area. Leashes and “pick-up” are required at all times. Under no circumstances should dogs be permitted into the gardening area proper because of potential disease from dog feces.

Community Service / Volunteering

Gardeners understand that this is a community garden, and in order for it to succeed, gardener support is needed to maintain the site, manage compost, maintain equipment, plan and execute produce giveaways, help keep site picked up from debris, and plan celebrations.

I agree to participate in general garden maintenance, garden construction and/or committee work of at least ___ hours per month.

Gardeners are encouraged to work together as a group on communal aspects of the garden for four hours at the beginning of the planting season.

ALL gardeners will participate in garden activities and events like: clean-up days, preparation for special events and fundraising events.

I will participate in the spring and fall cleanups of the garden. I will participate to the best of my ability in group workdays.

I will participate in ___ number of workdays, the fall cleanup of the garden, ___ number of hours of volunteer work in the garden, take my rotating turn for garden maintenance.

I agree to volunteer ___ hours toward community gardening efforts (include a list of volunteer tasks which your garden needs).

We request that all members volunteer their time for general maintenance (especially of adjacent walkways) to keep the garden site looking good. The use of the site is contingent on our ability to keep it looking good. Check the bulletin board for chores that need to be done.

Plot holders promise to devote reasonable amounts of time as requested by the coordinator to the maintenance and improvement of the garden throughout the gardening season. Failure to cooperate in work days will lead to losing your plot.

Crops must be harvested once they are mature. If you do not feel you can use all of them, there are food banks and senior citizens who could use extra vegetables. Please let the Community Harvest Committee chair know if you have more than you can use.

In the spirit of community, I will contribute some of my excess to our garden’s basket for the less fortunate who need fresh produce.

Please record the weight of produce donated and the name of the charity, as this will help us secure grants in the future.  A hanging scale and clipboard are in the shed.


What to grow:  Vegetables, herbs, flowers, and small fruit plants for home consumption and donation are appropriate. It is not acceptable to allow quantities of produce to rot. No large structures, perennial plants, or large collections of non-plant items are allowed.

Growing seasons: Gardeners are responsible for keeping their plot gardened, cover-cropped or mulched. Weedy plots are subject to warning and cancellation. The spring growing season is approximately February through May. Summer growing season is approximately June through August. Fall gardening is usually September and October, with most gardens prepared for winter with mulch or cover crop. Perennial crops and some annual winter hardy crops may be over-wintered, but should be maintained.

After the first frost all dead plants, weeds and stakes must be removed from the plot.

I will keep trash out of my plot, as well as out of adjacent pathways and fences.

I will allow nothing taller than 8’ in my plot.

I will not plant or erect structures in my plot that shade or in any way impede the growth in my neighbors’ plots.

I will not use fertilizers, insecticides or weed repellents that will in any way affect other plots or when rain is forecast.

RULES FROM ORGANIC GARDENS (note: the decision whether or not ours will be an organic garden will be made by the Garden Members.  If not organic, we need to determine what classes of chemicals will be permitted.)

I will use only natural fertilizers, insecticides and weed repellents. I agree to keep our entire garden organic.

Adhere to organic growing practices. [garden] is an organic garden. Do not use synthetic chemical pesticides or fertilizers like miracle-Gro. If you are not sure if something is allowed, please check with another gardener or the Garden Committee.

WEEDS AND DISEASE (see also “Compost and Trash”)

Gardeners agree to keep the garden & garden edges free of weeds, diseased plants, insect-infested plants and over-ripe vegetables.

As a community garden, please respect the surroundings and tend to your plot and help keep the area free of litter and weeds.

Diseased and infected plants must be removed from the garden and disposed of properly.

Keep your garden neatly weeded on a regular basis. Weeds are a major complaint of neighbors and other gardeners, and are the leading cause of plot forfeiture.

Please dispose of weeds and plant materials in designated compost areas.

Be considerate of your neighbors. Do not plant sprawling crops or tall ones that might interfere with others. Harvest only from your assigned plot. Do not spray on windy days. Keep insects and weeds under control.

Using herbicides, black plastic mulches, and rubber mulches is prohibited.

Mulch with organic materials to reduce water evaporation and unwanted weeds.

I will keep weeds at a minimum and maintain the walkways immediately surrounding my plot free of weeds and trash.

Perennial plants are not allowed in plots, but may be planted in the perimeter areas.  Please consult with the Garden Committee.


Wood chips may not be used in plots.

Maintain the paths adjacent to your plot. Weed them and add wood chips when necessary.

Gardening activity and plant growth must be restricted to the gardener’s plot and the common planting areas. Please prevent vegetation from attacking paths and adjacent plots. When planting near paths, leave adequate space for plant growth.

The assigned garden plots have been established with access paths between them to provide access for all gardeners. Access paths should be 4 feet wide (except the paths between the 4’ x 8’ plots on the west side of the garden are 3’ wide.)

Paths must be free of garden materials and debris so as not to create a hazard nor to impede their maintenance.

Please help maintain common areas of the garden, such as the perimeter plantings, as you are able.


Please be mindful of conserving water.

Consider using drip lines or soaker hoses to water your plot.

Mulch with leaves, grass clippings, or straw to reduce water evaporation.

Gardeners need to be diligent in shutting the water off after their use.

Gardeners must report all leaks. Shut off faucet when done watering.

Water hoses must not cross other plots and must be attended while in use. Water sprinklers are not permitted in the garden.

Please help avoid water loss in the aisles and be considerate of other waiting gardeners.

Please refrain from watering your garden with an open-ended hose. The use of a hose nozzle will conserve water and maintain sufficient water pressure for other gardeners.

Coil hoses by hydrants when finished watering.

Unattended watering is not permitted. Notify the garden coordinator of any leaks in the water line. Make sure all faucets are off when you leave the garden. Keep hoses neatly coiled near the hydrants."

COMPOST AND TRASH (note: we are exploring the trash removal options)

Each gardener is responsible for trash removal.

I will keep trash and litter cleaned from my plot, as well as from adjacent pathways and fences. I will remove all refuse that is not composted.

Gardeners agree to keep the garden area trash-free during the growing season.

Plant material is not allowed in the trash bin unless it is unsuitable for composting.

The compost pile should only be used for compost. No trash please.

Do not put plant material with diseases, insect infestations, or weed seeds in the compost.


Take care of tools. When you are finished with your work, hang the tools in the shed and lock it.  Neatly coil hoses either in the shed or next to the hydrant. Help keep the shed building safe by keeping it free of clutter. Help clean up seemingly random piles and bags of materials around the garden

I understand that the garden tools are for everyone to use, and therefore, I will clean and return them promptly after using them.

Communal tools should be cleaned and returned to the storage area when done.

Tools are not to be taken away from the garden except for maintenance.

Consumable items, such as seeds and soil amendments, are for use in the community garden only.


Keep the garden attractive and safe for all.

Any changes to the rules must be approved by a majority of the Garden Members.

Complaints, policies, and mediations are the responsibility of the Garden Committee, with the Oxford Community Garden Association board and the Oxford Park Commission having final authority.

Your compliance with the above regulations will help everyone have an enjoyable and prosperous garden. Failure to comply with above regulations during the season, may result in a loss of future gardening privileges.

I have read and agree to abide by the above garden rules and policies. I understand that failure to abide by these rules will result in forfeiture of my gardening privileges.

I understand that neither the Oxford Community Garden Association, the Oxford Park Commission, nor the City of Oxford are responsible for my actions. I therefore agree to hold harmless them harmless for any liability, damage, loss or claim that occurs in connection with use of the garden by me or any of my guests.


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