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Community Gardens Program and Permit Information

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Welcome to the Community Garden Program

The community gardens program offers Montgomery County residents the opportunity to use public space and water to garden an individual plot(s) at low cost. Join over 600 gardeners, who garden plots in one of our locations, located all over Montgomery County. As the program grows and neighbors come together, Montgomery Parks will respond by increasing community garden spaces as we are able.

Our community gardeners grow much more than vegetables and flowers. In partnership with Parks, we make positive environmental, economic, and aesthetic impacts on daily lives. Join us and transform strangers into friends and neighborhoods into communities.

Information

Price

The price of each garden plot is based on size. You will find the plot sizes on the application form. For 2017 the plot prices are as follows:

  • 200 sq ft: $45
  • 300 sq ft: $55
  • 400 sq ft: $65
  • 625 sq ft: $85
  • Gardening Table: $35

Water

All gardens have water available on site. Most gardens have water tanks called cisterns. The gardeners work together to fill the cisterns with water the nearby WSSC fire hydrants. The gardeners use water meters that Parks rents from WSSC. The cost of water is included in the rental fee. Water is available from early April until October each year.

Fencing

All gardens are enclosed with deer fencing. The fencing ranges from 7 to 10 feet in height. Some gardens also have underground fencing to deter burrowing animals. Unfortunately, it is not possible to exclude all animal pests from the gardens. Most gardens have gates with combination locks, and only people with plots are given the combinations. When you rent a plot, you will receive a permit for your garden plot as well as the combination for the garden gate/s. Please add parkpermits@montgomeryparks.org to your contact list to ensure delivery. There is one combination for all of the locks at each garden.

Expectations of Gardeners

In addition to paying the rental fee for an individual plot, gardeners are joining a community of gardeners and are expected to join the listserv for their garden. As part of that Community, gardeners are expected to observe the rules governing the garden and be active participants in the community. They will participate in community work days and keep the communal areas of the garden weeded and chipped. Gardeners also perform a variety of community garden maintenance tasks as directed by the Parks Volunteer Garden Liaisons in each garden. Each gardener is expected to contribute eight service hours annually.

Here is a short video about the Montgomery Parks Community Gardens. Check it out!

Reserve a Plot

Plot Renewal Information

Click here to fill out renewal applications. Follow the instructions on the form.

New Application Information

New applications for plots will be accepted beginning February 6, 2017 at 7:00 AM for all available plots. No applications will be processed prior to that date.

In order to rent a plot, you must be a resident of Montgomery County and create a FREE ActiveMONTGOMERY Account. To provide gardening opportunities for more people, garden plot rentals will be limited to one-person-one-plot. Each new applicant may rent only one plot. For information on how to create an Active Montgomery, please click on the link below:

To apply, please submit a completed application form online, by mail, in-person, by fax or by e-mail.

The rules for having a plot in Montgomery Parks Community Gardens are found in the Conditions of Use document. These rules are part of the agreement you sign when you rent your plot. Please review them carefully because gardeners are required to know and follow these rules. Failure to follow the rules will result in the loss of the plot and the rental fee. Go to the this link to review the garden rules:  2017 Community Gardens Conditions of Use.

Application Document and Contact Info

  • Apply Online at ActiveMontgomery.org NOTE: the online option is ONLY for open enrollment and does not apply to historic plot renewal. See online booking instructions below.
  • In-Person: stop by our Park Permit Office at 9500 Brunett Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20901 Operating hours (Monday-Friday, 8:30am-5:00pm)
  • By Mail to the address above
  • By Fax to 301-495-2484
  • E-mail a scanned copy to ParkPermits@MontgomeryParks.org. Please include Community Gardens in the Subject Line.

All plot holders must agree to the 2017 Community Gardens Conditions of Use. Please note that gardeners must abide by these rules in order to be a Community Gardener in good standing.

Conditions of Use

All plot holders must agree to abide by the 2017 Conditions of Use. Failure to follow these rules will result in the loss of the plot and rental fee. The Conditions are listed below and you may wish to print a copy here.

Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
Montgomery Parks Community Gardens
Conditions of Use 2017
Administrative Rules

  1. M-NCPPC, Montgomery Parks plots are rented “as is” (current condition). Montgomery Parks does not perform annual tilling.
  2. All plots are the property of Montgomery Parks, and are not transferable. Fees will not be refunded or pro-rated. Plots that are given up or are revoked for cause will be returned to Parks for re-assignment. Gardeners may not give or offer their plot to others.
  3. Gardeners must maintain a current email address and phone number on file with Parks. Changes should be sent to the Community Garden Coordinator, patricia.lynch@montgomeryparks.org.
  4. To receive important information and updates, gardeners are required to become members of the Yahoo electronic list for the garden where they rent a plot. If gardeners do not have an email address, they must make arrangements to check the website on a regular basis. The list for your garden will be sent with the confirmation of the plot rental, and will include directions for joining the list.

    Gardening Rules

  5. All gardens are subject to regular inspections. Failure to abide by any of the rules set out in the Conditions of Use will result in the loss of your plot. If a garden plot is not in compliance with the Conditions of Use, notifications will be sent by email. A follow-up inspection will be performed 2 weeks after the email notice. If the plot is still not in compliance, it will be revoked and returned to Parks for re-assignment. All fees will be forfeited.
  6. Gardeners are required to help with community garden by contributing 8 hours of Community Garden service each year. Chores that meet the requirement include community work days, filling the water tanks, weeding and chipping common areas, fence lines, and paths, keeping the garden trash-free, organizing garden events, helping with other’s plots when needed, etc. Garden Liaisons are authorized to identify tasks that meet the service hour requirement. Please consult them to learn how you can help maintain the garden and meet the service requirement.
  7. Wood chips provided by Parks will be delivered to each garden. Volunteer garden liaisons will request supplies on behalf of the community gardens. Compost is provided by Parks when it is available, and is not a regular service of the program.
  8. Gardeners are required to maintain their plots, paths, and the fence lines at all times. This means you must work in your plot at least once every week. All gardeners are responsible for weeding, cultivating, watering, and harvesting. If you are away or not able to keep up with maintenance tasks, please notify your garden liaison and arrange for someone to maintain the garden plot in your absence.
  9. Garden paths and fence lines are maintained by the gardeners and must be kept weeded, chipped, and open—no tools, wheel barrows, or garden debris may be left on the garden paths. Gardeners are responsible for keeping garden gates closed and locked.
  10. By April 1, gardeners must begin work on their plots including weeding, soil amendment, and cultivation. By June 1, gardeners must have planted seeds, seedlings, or transplants in their plots. By November 1, gardeners must remove dead plants and summer garden debris from plots.
  11. 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, using row covers, and applying pesticides labeled as OMRI-listed or organic can be used in the community garden. The garden liaison volunteer(s) in each garden, or the Community Garden Coordinator can help you locate information about controlling pests, and treating and/or removing diseased plants.
  12. 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, layers of newspaper, or plastic (away from lawn areas) to protect the soil and reduce weeds. Carpet, stone, and sod mulch are not allowed.
  13. Gardeners are encouraged to plant fall and winter crops if they wish. If not, they should take steps to protect the soil by planting cover crops or covering their plots with barriers to reduce winter weeds. Acceptable barriers include: newspaper (non-shiny parts) covered with mulch/ compost, burlap bags, weed cloth, plastic covering or tarps.
  14. Invasive plants are not allowed in the garden. Information about invasive plants in Maryland can be found at https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/problems/invasive-plants. Aggressive plants like mint, lemon balm, and similar plants must be grown in above ground containers, and must not be allowed to establish themselves in the ground.
  15. Gardeners MAY NOT shade other plots with plants or plant structures. Tall plants should only be planted in the center of the plot or where they will not shade neighboring plots. Plants or structures that do not meet this standard will be removed.
  16. If application of chemicals is necessary in or around the garden, Montgomery Parks is responsible for notifying gardeners at least 48 hours in advance. Chemicals will be applied in accordance with Maryland Department of Agriculture guidelines by certified/registered applicators and, for health and safety reasons, may result in the temporary closure of the entire garden.
  17. Water conservation must be practiced at all times. Please concentrate on watering roots rather than other parts of the plants. Gardeners must be present when watering. Do NOT leave water running unattended. Watering by hose connection to the water tanks is limited to 15 minutes at a time, especially when others are waiting to water.
  18. Open containers of water are a health hazard and are not allowed. If you store water in your plot, containers must be kept covered and sealed tightly when not in use. Uncovered water will be dumped out.

    Fencing, Stakes, and Structure Rules

  19. Plot markers must be upright and visible at all times. Gardeners shall not relocate any plot markers. Plot markers are not to be used as fencing material, plant structures, or watering can holders. Please remember all plot sizes are approximate and variation in size and shape from plot to plot within each garden is normal.
  20. Encroachment into paths or other garden plots is not permitted. Obstacles left in the paths will be removed.
  21. No structures of any kind may be built without written approval by Montgomery Parks. Structure requests should be directed the Garden Coordinator, patricia.lynch@montgomeryparks.org. The deer fence may not be used as a trellis or plant support, and should be kept free of weeds. Plants attached to the deer fence should be removed immediately.
  22. Fences up to 3 feet high may be installed in your garden inside the plot boundaries. The materials must be neutral in color (black, grey, green, silver are okay, red, yellow, orange are not), and must not create tripping or other safety hazards. They must be kept weeded at all times. Parks reserves the right to remove fences that are unsightly or negatively affect gardeners or other plots. Removal will be at the gardener’s expense. Requests for higher fences should be sent to the Community Garden Coordinator, and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

    Getting Along and Courtesy in the Gardens

  23. Pets are not allowed within the community garden fence.
  24. Littering and dumping are forbidden. Community Gardens are trash free, carry-in and carry-out facilities. Only plant waste is allowed in the garden debris areas. No burlap, plastic, or paper materials are allowed in the debris pile. Non-plant materials left in the plant debris area can result in suspension of compost deliveries. All trash must be removed from the site and disposed of by the members of the garden.
  25. Gardeners are not allowed to trap animals (ground hogs, raccoons, rabbits, etc.) in the Community Gardens at any time.
  26. All personal tools, wheelbarrows, and hoses should be marked with the plot number and the plot holders initials. Gardeners are not permitted to borrow or move tools, wheel barrows, etc. without permission of the owner. Gardeners should not enter others’ plots without specific permission. All borrowed items must be returned in the same condition as borrowed or be replaced.
  27. Children are welcome in the garden, but must be supervised by a responsible adult at all times.
  28. The community gardens are alcohol and smoke-free areas. Loud radios and/or music are not allowed.
  29. All general parks rules apply to the Community Gardens.
  30. Conditions of Use and Garden Rules are subject to annual review and revision.
Last Updated: November 28, 2016