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Community Garden Beds - Rules and Regulations

The Rules and Regulations Agreement Form text is provided below.  You will be asked to e-sign the form as the second step of the registration process.  After you submit the form, you will receive an email with the full text.  You can also download it by clicking HERE.

Thank you for reviewing this document. Adherence to the rules and regulations outlined below ensures that our entire gardening bed community can enjoy an orderly, safe and productive recreational space. 

 

General Obligations and Restrictions:

  1. Gardeners-in-good standing are those individuals who have been assigned a plot by the Needham Community Farm and have signed the sub-license agreement, paid their garden fee in full and abide by the Needham Community Garden Beds Rules and Regulations and the Sub-License Agreement.

  2. Gardeners must be residents of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

  3. Gardeners must ensure that their contact information is current. Contact information must include name, address, phone number, email address and emergency contact information. Community Garden Bed assignments will be sent out by email.

  4. Gardeners must park in designated parking areas.

  5. Gardeners may not assign or otherwise transfer rights to use a raised bed or any portion of the raised bed to others. Gardeners are responsible for the behavior of any person or persons assisting them with any gardening chores.

  6. Gardeners should be respectful of fellow gardeners and may not play music at high volume or smoke any tobacco products or cannabis products while at NCF. Alcoholic  beverages may not be brought to or consumed at the Community Beds. Gardeners may bring snacks and non-alcoholic beverages and are responsible for removing and disposing of all litter. 

  7. Dogs are not allowed in the Community Garden area.

  8. The tools and materials available in the communal shed are for every gardener’s use. Tools should be used safely and for their intended purposes. Please return all communal tools and materials to the shed after you are finished with them. Also, gardeners are responsible for recoiling hoses after use.

  9. Please report any urgent maintenance concerns, reports of broken or damaged tools, water leaks and other infrastructure problems to NCF-Comm-Beds-ASAP@needhamfarm.org. For non-urgent matters, please report concerns or problems to NCF-Comm-Beds@needhamfarm.org. Please note that this will be monitored on a weekly basis.

  10. For your safety and the protection of the growing beds, the gates should be locked at all times.  

  11. Please note that the fee paid to NCF at the time of registration for a Community Garden Bed ($100 for resident, $125 for non-resident), is non-refundable.
     


Planting Restrictions:

  1. To protect the Town’s water supply and the health of fellow Gardeners, the use of any non-organic chemicals including fertilizers, weed killers (herbicides), pesticides, and fungicides is prohibited. All fertilizers, amendments, pesticides and fungicides must be OMRI approved or approved by another organic products certifying organization. If you have any questions whether a particular product is OMRI approved, please refer to the Organic Materials Review Institute website.

  2. Please ensure that your bed is relatively weed free so that weeds do not spread to other beds. Gardeners are also encouraged to help remove invasive plant species from the Community Garden Beds area. A list of invasive plants can be found online HERE.  Examples of invasive plantings that should be removed from Garden plot include: Garlic mustard, Tree of Heaven, Black Swallow-wort, and Japanese Knotweed.

  3. Dumping or “storing” of any non-Garden related material in or outside the Garden plot is prohibited. All agricultural waste shall be placed in designated areas.

  4. Plants must remain within the perimeter of each bed and should not interfere with the communal paths.  Brambles such as raspberries, blackberries, or similar plants are not allowed in beds.

  5. Although the Community Garden Beds are primarily intended for annual fruits and vegetables, perennials may also be planted at your own risk; of note, individual plots are not owned, but are lent to each Gardener year to year and a Gardener may not be assured of the same plot from year to year.

  6. Tall plants that shade or encroach on neighboring plots or common walkways are not permitted.

  7. Growing cannabis is not permitted.

 

Structures / Furnishings:

  1. No permanent fixtures may be installed in a plot.

  2. Bee Keeping is not permitted. As part of its agricultural program, in coordination with a beekeeper, hives are maintained within the area under cultivation by NCF.

 

Maintenance:

  1. Gardeners should tend their plantings throughout the season by trimming, thinning, and harvesting as needed to keep the garden productive. If a gardener is going to be on vacation, they should make arrangements for somebody to tend to their bed and advise [the general email] about doing so, including the name and email of anybody so designated.

  2. Gardeners are required to clear weeds and to keep the aisles and paths surrounding their bed free and clean of weeds, trash and other materials to ensure that the common paths are passable by others.

  3. Gardeners must ensure that the garden area is neatly maintained out of respect for neighbors. Personally-owned tools and other garden related items may be stored, at the owner’s risk, within the bed, if they are arranged neatly and safely. At the end of the season, Gardeners must clear their plots of dead plants, decorations and all furnishings. Gardeners must remove weed control fabrics.

  4. Diseased plants should be placed in a plastic bag, removed from the property and disposed of as trash at the appropriate Transfer Station.

  5. Plant material generated from active gardening should only be disposed of at the designated compost sites at the Garden or  the Gardener’s Transfer Station composting area. Gardeners should not dispose weeds or other plants to the common areas or walkways. 

  6. Municipal water will be provided and subject to any water restrictions or bans as required by the Town of Needham. Please conserve water when and where possible.

  7. No unattended watering is permitted, including the use of timers, other than timers installed by NCF. 

  8. Water in uncovered containers or any standing water, including bird baths, is not permitted for health reasons.

 

Plot Assignment, Revocation and Appeal Process:

  1. Plots are reviewed each January and notifications are sent out by the end of the January for returning Gardeners. Gardeners must be residents of Massachusetts and preference will be given to residents of Needham when assigning  garden beds. Each February, notification to the general public  will be made whether any gardening beds are available. Thereafter, new applicants will be notified, on a rolling basis, about the assignment of a gardening bed. Applications will be processed in the order they are received. 

  2. Only one plot will be issued per household and is intended to grow vegetables and fruits for personal and family use. A non-refundable annual fee is assessed to cover maintenance expenses. For returning Gardeners, the annual fee is due 2 weeks after notification, and any plot with an unpaid fee will become available. Fifteen gardening beds are available free of charge to residents of Needham Housing Authority properties or are SNAP eligible. Evidence of residence or Snap eligibility will be required. In addition, 15 beds are 40” high in order to accommodate those with accessibility issues.

  3. If a plot becomes available, existing Gardeners in good standing will have the option to switch plots prior to plots being assigned to the general waiting list. If more than one existing gardener would like the plot, the plot will be assigned by lottery.

  4. At the start of the season, if there is no clear evidence of active gardening by June 1st, the Gardener will be contacted and given two weeks to respond. If no response is received, the plot will be considered abandoned.

  5. A Gardener will be notified by email and regular mail of non-compliance with the Community Garden Beds Rules and Regulations and will be given a one week notice to respond to the situation. The Gardener is responsible to contact NCF’s designated representative to discuss the violation. If no improvement occurs, then the NCF’s President or Vice President may revoke the garden sub-license.

  6. If a Garden is revoked for any reason, a Gardener may appeal the determination to the NCF Board. The appeal request must be received by the NCF’s Clerk within one week of the revocation. The decision of the NCF Board is final.

  7. If a Garden is revoked, the Gardener will have one week to remove any personal items from the plot, after which the items will be removed/discarded.

  8. In case of a hardship that may temporarily prevent a Gardener from addressing non-compliance issues, such as an extended vacation, illness, or other unplanned emergency, the Gardener must notify NCF’s designee and consideration will be given to the nature and extent of the requested accommodation. The maximum of such an accommodation period is one growing season and may require the gardener to take steps to maintain the bed during this period.

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