Working with other gardeners can be a rewarding experience. Trading plants, tackling common problems, and sharing a harvest are all benefits to working as a group. This process works best when the group develops a common set of rules and follows garden etiquette. A great publication to start with is Ellen Bauske and Robert Westerfield’s How to Start a Community Garden: Getting People Involved.
General rules common to every garden would include – when will the garden be open? Will there be a fee to have a plot? How is water handled?
Since each community is unique some rules will also be unique. Things to consider when developing your own Garden Golden Rules are:
- What if someone leaves his/her plot unattended for a period of time and it becomes overgrown and weedy?
- Will the garden be organic or will pesticides be allowed?
- What if someone plants a tall crop that shades other plots?
- Will individual fencing be allowed?
- Who is responsible for the upkeep (weeding) of the common areas and paths?
- Will dogs be allowed?
- What about children?
It is a good idea to develop your rules ahead of any real gardening and to put these rules on paper. Many gardens have new members sign a copy of the rules which helps eliminate many problems and misunderstandings. To learn more about community gardens in your area contact your local UGA Extension Agent.