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Community Garden Rules

2024 Community Garden Rules

A Steering Committee consisting of seven garden members working together with a Dickinson College Liaison Officer manages the activities, routine maintenance, and infrastructure upgrades for the garden. One of the Steering Committee members chairs the Committee. The Steering Committee and Dickinson College Liaison Officer review and amend the Rules annually.

Our community garden will benefit from following some simple rules. These rules help our gardeners maintain a beautiful green space for themselves and the surrounding community and avoid potential problems.

  1. Plot Assignment Policies
  1. Garden plots are generally limited to two plots per member – two small plots (10’x4’) or one small and one large plot (10’x10’). However, many gardeners prefer to garden a single plot.
  2. New members can be assigned only one plot in their first year of membership if a waiting list exists.
  3. Plots are assigned to new members at the beginning of the gardening season after current members have confirmed their commitments to their plots.
  4. Current members with one plot can add a second plot by making a request in writing to the Committee Chair. Additional plots can be assigned if there are no applicants on a waiting list; assignments will be made in the order in which requests are received.
  5. Gardeners will be notified by general e-mail when an additional plot or plots become available.
  6. Current members will keep their current plots, provided that they renewed their membership on or before February 15, 2024. But they can also request a move to another available location; such requests must be sent in writing to the Committee Chair.
  7. A provision also allows an exception to be made to the general rule if no waiting list exists. In such cases, additional open plots may only be assigned to current members for that year only. At the end of the season, the additional plots that exceed the general two-plot limit will be made available for future assignments to members.
  8. Gardeners must turn in completed forms and payment before beginning work on plots.
  1. A $25 “New Member Fee” will be charged for the first year a member joins the garden.
  2. Each gardener is responsible for keeping their plots and surrounding walkways clean of weeds, pests, and debris. Maintaining at least a 4” deep or deeper layer of mulch (wood chips) in the walkways around their plots will keep weeds at bay.
  3. Beginning with the 2024 season, garden plot surrounds are mandatory for the safety of garden members and to keep plants inside the garden perimeter, prevent soil erosion and maintain walkways as community space. Plot surrounds should be made of wood or plastic edging, 24” – 36” chicken wire secured at the base is also acceptable. The plot surround must be approved by the Steering Committee for safety reasons. If a garden plot needs a surround, it is the responsibility of the garden member to pay for all supplies. Surrounds must be built before gardens can be worked on or planted for the 2024 season.
  4. Gate and shed locks are for your protection and must be locked when leaving the garden. Gates must remain closed at all times to keep small animals out of the garden. One small rabbit or ground hog can do considerable damage to the gardens. It is our members responsibility to keep the gates closed at all times.
  5. Only annual flowers and vegetables are allowed in garden plots.
  6. A community walkway is next to our garden, so each gardener is asked to plant one annual flowering plant (e.g., marigolds, zinnias, alyssum, cosmos, or annual salvia) in their plot to attract beneficial insects and to make the garden colorful. No unauthorized plants, please.
  7. Garden plants must not infringe upon adjacent garden plots; neither can they shade them or cover walkways. Each gardener is responsible for keeping vegetable plants, particularly tomato plants and sweet potatoes, under control and in the gardener’s own bed.
  8. If a gardener’s plot becomes weedy and overrun from lack of maintenance, a courtesy email will be sent to the gardener from the Steering Committee. The gardener will then have two weeks to clean up the plot. Unless the gardener contacts the Steering Committee within that time, the plot will be reassigned to another gardener after two weeks.
  9. Maintaining the garden area requires the support of all garden members. All gardeners are required to participate in several “All Hands” Work Days to support the maintenance of the community areas of the garden during the growing season. In addition, gardeners will receive a Bi-Monthly Newsletter with important information about the garden, Project Lists, "All Hands” work dates," and other volunteer opportunities.
  10. Please, do not be tempted to feed wildlife or leave any food items on the garden grounds within or outside the fence. Any food items (from hamburger buns to pumpkins) attract wildlife to the garden area and encourage rabbits, groundhogs, etc., to establish homes within feet of the garden fence. Unfortunately, this always ends in the disastrous devastation of some beds in the garden.
  11. Use of only organic fertilizers/pesticides in the garden in keeping with the college's sustainability and environmental stewardship goals. For information on how to use chemical-free alternatives, please get in touch with the Cooperative Extension Office at 717-240-6500 or
  12. We have a compost pile for your use. Yes, for your convenience and to "close the loop," we have three "bins" along the north side of the garden area where you can deposit weeds and other plant material from the garden. The compost that we generate can then be used to enrich your garden beds! Please knock/shake off clumps of soil clinging to the roots before adding plants to the piles because too much soil makes the resulting compost less desirable. No personal plants from home flower pots, pumpkins, etc., are allowed in our compost piles.
  13. Please take all garbage and food items home and discard them. We do NOT have trash pick-up at the garden.
  14. We welcome you to bring your children to the garden, but they MUST be accompanied by an adult at all times while in the garden, inside or outside the fence, for their safety.
  15. The Dickinson College Community Garden and its lessees are not responsible for any personal tools or belongings stolen from the garden.