Garden Rules

To print a copy of these rules, please click here: Garden Rules.

The Hagerstown Community Garden is under the jurisdiction of the City of Hagerstown Department of Parks and Engineering. As such, all rules governing this garden will conform to existing rules of park use in the City.

Important: If any of the Garden Rules are violated that require corrective action, you will be contacted by phone or email and have one week to address the violation. If the violation has not been remedied by the end of two (2) weeks, you may lose your gardening privileges.

Conditions of Use for Hagerstown Community Gardens
Administrative Rules:
  1. The City of Hagerstown plots are rented for the use of the plot holder. The City will till the soil each spring. No other work by the City is contemplated.
  2. Plots are not transferable, and fees will not be refunded or pro-rated. Plots that are given up or are revoked for cause will be returned to the Association for re-assignment.
  3. Gardeners must maintain two (2) ways to contact them such as a current physical address, email address and phone number on file with the Association and the City of Hagerstown. Contact changes should be sent to the Plot Coordinator or Operating Committee member.
  4. City residents shall have preference.
Garden Space Allocation:
  1. Gardeners are required to complete an application form.
  2. Garden plots will be 128 sf or 192 square feet in area, with a path adjacent to all sides of each plot.
  3. Applications and plot fees are due for returning gardeners in good standing by February 15th of each year. All returning gardeners should notify their Plot Coordinator if they would like to change plots; otherwise they will maintain their current plot. New applicants have until March 1st to submit their application fees.
  4. Only one plot will be allowed per extended family and/or household.
  5. Gardeners in good standing at the conclusion of a garden year can expect to return to the same plot each subsequent year. Gardeners who fail to meet the standards of “good standing” (see by-laws) from the previous year will forfeit their garden privilege in the subsequent year. These individuals may reapply for a garden plot, following a one-year absence from the garden, and no special consideration will be extended regarding plot allocation.
  6. New plots are allocated on a first come, first served basis based on the date the application was received. If no plots are available, applicants will be added to a waiting list.
Garden Maintenance:
  1. Gardeners are responsible for following all garden rules. If you are unsure of the meaning of a garden rule or need additional information regarding the rules, you are responsible to get clarification from a co-leader. Questions should be e-mailed to the Operating Committee.
  2. Gardeners are required to assist in maintaining garden common areas during scheduled work days. Each plot must contribute a minimum of four hours per year to this effort.
  3. By April 1st, gardeners must begin work on their plots including weeding, soil amendment, and cultivation. By June 15th, gardeners must have planted seeds, seedlings, or transplants in their plots.
  4. Gardeners are required to keep plots and the adjoining pathways tended. If you will be out of town or unable to make it to the garden for an extended time, PLEASE contact a gardener or your Plot Coordinator for help in maintaining your plot in accordance with the plot maintenance rules.
  5. For soil amendments as well as fertilizers, gardeners will only be allowed to use organic materials and sustainable techniques.
  6. Grass/weeds should not be over 6 inches high.
  7. Vegetables and flowers should not hang over into the path by more than 1 ft.
  8. Plots should not have rotting vegetables for more than two weeks.
  9. Tall plants should only be in the middle of the plot or on the edge adjacent to the pathways so not to block sunlight or interfere with your neighbor’s plots.
  10. Gardeners will not create permanent structures, such as raised beds, arbors, or trellises (with the exception of seasonal string and pole structures) in the garden.
  11. Temporary pole structures, and any other temporary structures shall not block sunlight from your neighbor’s plot.
  12. A maximum of 10 percent of any given plot shall be used for the production of flowers with the exception of flowers that attract pollinators and/or beneficial insects.
  13. Do not plant perennial plants that are difficult to remove such as mint, blueberry, berry vines, or fruit trees. An exception is made for strawberries and herbs other than mint.
  14. Gardeners will not place large stones and/or broken concrete chunks in the garden.
  15. Organic practices are required in all parts of the community garden. Garden pests and plant diseases can be especially serious in the community garden. Only organic methods such as handpicking bugs, row covers, and pesticides labeled as OMRI-approved or organic can be used in the community garden. The Master Gardeners, or an Operating Committee member can help you locate information about controlling pests, and treating and/or removing diseased plants.
  16. To reduce weeds and pests, improve the soil, and maintain the garden’s appearance, mulch is strongly recommended. Gardeners are encouraged to use materials such as aged compost, composted manure, leaves, straw, burlap, weed cloth, to protect the soil and reduce weeds. Carpet, stone, and sod mulch are not allowed.
Garden Decorum:
  1. Gardeners are required to attend both bi-annual garden meetings and work the minimum number of hours stated on the “Community Garden Application”. Failure to attend garden meetings and/or work less than the hours required during a season may result in the forfeiture of garden membership.
  2. Do not apply anything to or pick anything from another person's plot without their express approval.
  3. The City will provide public water via a lockable frost-free hand hydrant on the site. A Leader will be designated as responsible for the water and only they will be able to unlock the hydrant and fill the water barrels on site. The barrels shall be designed to prevent mosquito breeding. Gardeners may use water from the water barrels to irrigate their plots as needed.
  4. Smoking and chewing tobacco is not allowed.
  5. Pets, drugs (including alcohol), radios, boom boxes and fires are not allowed.
  6. Children (under age 16) in the garden must be supervised at all times.
  7. The garden will be open only during daylight hours. For safety, consider gardening in pairs or keeping a cell phone nearby if it makes you feel more comfortable.
  8. Report theft, vandalism and unusual activities to a Leader.
  9. Gardeners should attempt to resolve any issues with neighboring gardeners before bringing it to the attention of a Leader. Issues stated to the Leader must be in writing.
  10. If you plan to discontinue use of your space, please let an Operating Committee member and your Plot Coordinator know as soon as possible so that your plot can be assigned to another gardener.
  11. Please be mindful of a community’s “code of conduct”; this consists of common courtesy, respect and consideration of other gardeners as well as the Operations Committee. Inappropriate behavior to any of the gardeners (including those holding lead positions) may result in you losing your gardening privileges.
  12. All personal tools and wheelbarrows should be marked with the plot number and the plot holder’s initials. All items borrowed with the permission of the owner must be returned in the same condition or be replaced. Treat common tools (owned by the Association) with respect and return them to the storage area in good condition.
End of Season Cleaning:
  1. At the end of the gardening season, all dead plants and non-plant materials (string, wire, wood, metal, plastic, etc.) that are not being used must be removed and disposed of properly and all gardens left neat and tidy. If your garden is not cleaned up by October 31st, you could lose your gardening privileges.
  2. Please put weeds and cut up dead plants into the compost bin provided (except tomato, okra or any other woody plants that will not break down quickly). These items will be chipped or hauled off the garden premises. If you have any questions, please contact an Operating Committee member.
  3. Any diseased plants or seedy or invasive weeds are to be put in the trash so it will not contaminate the compost and spread disease to other gardens.