Waite Park Community Garden Policies

Welcome to the 2024 growing season! Here are our garden policies for a fun, fruitful, and safe summer together. If you have any questions, contact us at wpccngmember@gmail.com.

On this page:


Registration for both returning gardeners and new gardeners will be completed online, using a Google form sent out via email.

Registration is closed for 2024.

New gardeners: Those that are currently on the waitlist will receive priority for available plots. If there are more new gardeners than available garden plots, plots will be distributed randomly; new gardeners who did not receive a plot in the lottery will receive priority for the next season. New gardeners’ registrations will be considered complete after they attend orientation and submit payment.

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Each plot costs $35 for the season (or $15 for limited mobility raised plots). This cost includes use of our garden’s water and communal tools. Gardeners with second plots will pay an additional $35 (total of $70 for both plots). We accept plot payment by card (via PayPal, preferred) or by check. We will not accept cash payments.

Payment details are sent out once registration is completed. If you need to pay and don’t have the payment information, contact wpccngmember@gmail.com.

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All new gardeners must complete orientation to complete their registration process. Orientation information will be sent via email. Orientation will be on-site at the garden. The first half will be a review of the handbook, work teams, and garden work day sign-up. The second half will be a tour of the garden and safe use of the garden tools and water hutch.

New gardeners who cannot attend orientation must email us to schedule a separate orientation. Gardeners have until May 15th to complete their orientation.

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Garden Policies and Rules

Updates adopted 3/23/24

As a community garden, we want to be a place where people can grow healthy food for their families and build relationships with their neighbors. We see both the food and the relationships as important in sustaining us.

All of our rules and policies have been developed with the intention of helping us to build a community garden where:

  • We can grow food for ourselves and our families without harmful chemicals.
  • We can relax and restore ourselves by interacting with the natural world.
  • We can meet neighbors and build relationships over shared interests.
  • We can help each other and the garden be successful.

If at any point, you have a question about the policies and rules discussed below, please contact a garden lead or officer, and they can explain why we have adopted the rule. We value transparency and will be happy to explain the intention behind our decisions.

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1. Garden Work Days

Just like our plots need regular upkeep, so do the common spaces and community plots in our garden. To get the work done, we rely on gardeners to participate in the mandatory work hours. Because all gardeners contribute to the garden through work hours, we’re able to keep the plot fees low. Work days are also a great opportunity to get to know your fellow gardeners.

Gardeners are required to complete 6 hours of work per plot for the garden over the growing season. Garden work hours are earned by completing tasks for the common areas of the garden, not working in your own individual plot.

Gardeners will sign up for at least three work days (will be done via our website). Work day shifts are two hours long and will be scheduled based on feedback from this year’s registration form. There will also be independent service hours available if you sign up for the mowing/weed whacking or fruit maintenance teams.

For work days, gardeners will check in with the garden lead on site. Garden leads will assign tasks for the work day and track the hours worked. Work hours will be recorded and tracked on a Google Spreadsheet by the garden leads, which will be available for gardeners to view and check their hours. Independent work hours will be tracked and entered by that team’s lead. Please check your hours, and let us know if you notice a mistake! Gardeners who do not complete their work hours this season will not be invited back next season.

The first official work day of the season will be the same day as new gardener orientation and will be devoted to helping our new gardeners clear out their plots. Because many of us are completely new to gardening, we recognize that it may be daunting to clear out your plots alone.

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2. Second Plots and Abandoned Plots

Every year, we have some gardeners who want more growing space and others who find that a plot is a bit too much for them. Here’s how we’ll be handling each situation:

  • Abandoned Plots: After June 1st if a plot becomes unkempt and you think it may have been abandoned, please email to let us know. We’ll check in with the gardener and see if they are planning to return. If they aren’t (or if we don’t hear back from them within 7 days), we will turn this plot into a community plot where we will grow produce to share with each other and our neighbors. 
  • Second Plots: We want to make sure as many of our neighbors who want to join the garden can do so. To make space for our neighbors to join our garden community, second plots will not be assigned until all the new gardeners have been assigned a plot. If there are plots remaining, garden leads and officers will have first priority for second plots to incentivize leadership in the garden. Additional remaining plots will be offered to returning gardeners based on seniority. Second plots are only available to returning gardeners.
    • Please note: gardeners with second plots are required to complete 6 additional hours of garden work and submit an additional $35 payment.

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3. Plot Care Requirements

Because our plots are so close, how we tend our own plots end up impacting our neighbors’ plots. For that reason, we have adopted the following rules about plot care requirements. Please help us maintain a cooperative community garden space by observing the following rules:

  • No chemical pesticides and/or fertilizers in the garden. Natural, organic soil amendments and fertilizers are allowed, though they must be 10-10-10 or less.
  • Do not dig anywhere outside the four borders of your plot. We are very lucky to have an irrigation system, which travels throughout the garden. Digging too deeply can damage the irrigation system. If you do accidentally damage the irrigation system, contact the water lead immediately. 
  • Do not use foreign materials that will leach chemicals into the soil for weed control (ex: carpet, tar paper, black plastic weed block, colored mulch, anything with dye). Our garden receives leaf mold to use; it is fantastic as a mulch and weed blocker. Other acceptable materials for weed block include cardboard, bricks, non-treated boards, straw, and grass clippings. Please email us if you have questions!
  • Remove all weeds from your garden as soon as possible. Please do not allow the weeds to go to seed.
  • All trash, weeds, and heavy stalked plants (e.g., Brussels sprouts, broccoli plants) must be disposed of offsite. Please do not put them in the compost bins. Use yard waste bags to take your weeds and heavy stalked plants home with you for collection. WPCG does not have trash or yard waste removal services.
  • Due to their impacts on neighboring plots, gardeners may not grow the following plants in their garden plots:
    • Sunflowers
    • Potatoes
    • Shrubs
    • Berry Bushes
    • Perennials (for exceptions, please contact the perennial lead)
    • Fruit Trees
  • Minnesota state law requires cannabis plants be grown in a locked area away from public view. As such, cannabis cannot be grown in the garden.
  • Please be courteous to your fellow gardeners. If plants in your plot are shading other plots, you may be asked to remove them.
  • Gardeners who become unable to tend their plot over the course of the growing season should reach out to a garden lead as soon as possible to arrange for someone else to take over their plot.
  • Gardeners who abandon their plots or who are repeatedly reminded to maintain their plot will not be allowed to return next season.
  • At the end of the season, please remove plant debris from the plot. If you intend to return next season, you may keep materials such as tomato cages or trellises, in your plot.

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4. General Garden Rules

Because we want all gardeners to feel valued, respected, safe, and relaxed in the garden, please observe the following rules:

  • Be respectful of other gardeners, their plots, and common spaces. Please do not enter other gardeners’ plots without their permission; repeatedly ignoring this rule will be grounds for dismissal from the garden.
  • We have bee hives located onsite; please do not touch or enter the beehive area. Any gardeners who enter this area without explicit permission will be dismissed from the garden immediately.
  • Lock the garden gates upon entering and exiting the garden. We have had issues with people who are not gardeners coming in and taking our gardeners’ crops. Keeping the gates locked at all times ensures that people entering the garden are gardeners.
  • Children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult for their safety.
  • Pets are not allowed in the garden. Dogs may be leashed outside the fence, away from the gates, so that people can enter and exit without interacting with them. This helps us to make the garden accessible to those with allergies, phobias, and cultural requirements to avoid interactions with dogs.
  • No smoking or vaping in the garden.
  • When other gardeners are present, please use headphones if you would like to listen to music or other audio. For many gardeners, their time in their plot is an opportunity to disconnect and enjoy the sounds of the wind, the birds, and insects. Please help your neighbors enjoy this opportunity to relax by limiting noise.
  • At any time throughout the day, the last gardener to leave must turn off the water.

The vast majority of our interactions in the garden are positive. Our gardeners share tips with each other, water each other’s plots when we go on vacation, and share excess plants, supplies, and crops. However, we recognize that conflicts may arise. If at any time, you feel a gardener has been disrespectful, aggressive, or otherwise destructive of the kind of community we’re trying to build together, please contact a garden lead or officer to report the behavior. The garden officers will review the complaint and discuss the behavior with the offending gardener. Disrespectful, aggressive behavior and serious breaches of the garden rules will result in termination from the garden without a refund of plot fees; ejected gardeners will not be invited back to the garden in the future.

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WPCG Organizational Rules and Policies

The Waite Park Community Garden relies on volunteers who work year-round to support the garden. We have officers, who are responsible for overseeing all garden operations, and garden leads, who take on targeted responsibilities for the garden. Please refer to the Officers and Leads page to learn more.

Election of Officers

  • Officers will be elected with an in-person vote at the fall garden meeting. All positions are elected by majority vote.
  • The term length for officers is one year. Officers may be re-elected for a maximum of three consecutive terms for the same position (with the exception of the treasurer, who is the Waite Park Community Council treasurer).
  • Only gardeners in good standing (i.e. completed work hours, no outstanding payment or behavioral issues) are eligible for election.
  • Gardeners who complete three consecutive one-year terms in one officer position are eligible to run for a different officer position.
  • Gardeners who have previously completed three consecutive one-year terms in an officer position are eligible to run for the same position after one year out of that office.
  • At least three of the four officer positions must be held by residents of the Waite Park neighborhood.
  • The president, in consultation with the other officers, selects garden leads.
  • If an officer steps down from their position during the course of the year, the president, in consultation with the steering committee, will fill the position with another gardener.

Garden Meetings

WPCG will hold a minimum of two general gardener meetings per year (one in late winter/spring, the other in fall). All gardeners are welcome to attend. At these meetings, we will review garden policies and procedures, vote for officers, and discuss future changes. Below are our rules about voting at WPCG meetings:

  • Each garden plot has one vote. Gardeners with a second plot do not get a second vote. Plots with multiple gardeners may only cast one vote.
  • Votes by proxy or in-absentia are not accepted.
  • At the fall meetings, gardeners will vote to elect the officers for the following year.
  • At the spring meetings, gardeners may express concerns, make suggestions and ask questions. Gardeners will review any revisions made to the annual policy document.

Steering Committee Meetings

Two or more steering committee meetings may be scheduled by the president complete with agenda.

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