Only one plot is allowed per household for new gardeners.
The registrant is ultimately responsible for plot maintenance, rule abidance, and volunteer commitments, and reading information provided in FOG electronic communication. However, more than one person may garden in a plot.
Only one person may be listed as the “registered gardener” for each plot; this person is ultimately responsible for volunteer requirements, plot checks, and following all FOG guidelines. Additional gardeners may be listed as “other gardener” on the registration forms, and they will also receive the FOGhorn bulletin and must follow all guidelines. Anyone may complete volunteer hours to be counted toward that plot’s requirement.
Fees are non-refundable (see rates on pg. 11 of the 2014 FOG Registration Packet).
Registrants who honor rules & guidelines, fulfill volunteer requirements, and pass all plot checks will be eligible to pre-register for next season (gardener may keep the same plot or choose to move to a different empty plot), and will also be eligible to lease a second plot.
All gardeners must practice ORGANIC methods (see FOG Organic Standards). Serious infractions will be referred to the Steering Committee and gardener may be dismissed immediately.
Gardeners must ensure their corner plot stake (bright orange) is visible at all times. Do not remove it for any reason – if the corner stake breaks or disappears, please notify us so that we can replace it.
Do not install plants or structures that will grow tall enough to shade other garden plots.
Do not use plants that are listed on the Prohibited Plants list. These plants are considered invasive and may spread to surrounding areas.
Do not use plants that may spread and encroach on other garden plots. Put aggressive plants (i.e. mint) in the interior of your plot.
Do not enter another person’s plot without permission.
Soil excavation is permitted to a depth of no more than 12 inches.
Gardeners are responsible for keeping the paths on all sides of their plot mowed. This includes the full width of the path, from the edge of one plot to the edge of the next.
Gardeners must not place any obstacles into the path; this includes dirt, rocks, bricks or cinderblocks, and discarded weeds. These are dangerous to gardeners and damage our mowers.
Practice aggressive water conservation (see FOG Water Use Policy). Broadcast spraying is not allowed at any time (when gardener stands in one place, directing a spray of water into the air which will rain down on plants). Grow Food Northampton is committed to a high standard of water conservation and reserves the right to strengthen water restrictions as needed and without notice.
On-site parking is available ONLY along the gravel drive running parallel to Meadow St. (see 2014 FOG map). As you enter the garden, turn right immediately to park along the road next to the edible hedgerow. Alternately, turn left at the toolshed to drive around the one-way circle to park ONLY along the edible hedgerow on that side. Parking is prohibited in all other areas of the garden. 10-minute drop-off is permitted, but cars must be moved to an appropriate parking area immediately afterward. If you are unable to walk to your plot and would like to park closer, you must contact the Steering Committee (firstname.lastname@example.org) for an exception to be made.
Ride your bike to FOG whenever possible to reduce traffic, erosion & pollution, and preserve our garden roadways. A bike rack is provided (near the playground).
The entire FOG site is a tobacco-free zone – do not smoke or bring any tobacco products into the garden.
Children must be supervised at all times within the garden (FOG abuts two busy streets and the Mill River).
Dogs must be on leash at all times (per Northampton ordinance). Unleashed dogs will be asked to leave the garden. Dogs must not damage or enter the other plots. Waste must be picked up and removed off site.
Many people garden to enjoy the peace and quiet of nature, and noise carries easily, especially to our immediate neighbors. Please keep radios, cell phones and conversations to a reasonable volume. Per Northampton’s noise ordinance, loud machinery (like mowers or rototillers) are not allowed between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
GARDEN TOOLS & SHED
You will receive a combination by email for the toolshed, outhouse, and yard carts locks. Please keep the shed locked at all times to prevent theft. Garden carts, wheelbarrows and FOG tools are stored in the shed and are available to all gardeners – please share! After using, please clean and return them promptly. Everything in the shed remains the property of Grow Food Northampton – please do not store personal items or remove anything.
We encourage gardeners to compost in FOG’s central compost sites (located in resource areas – see 2014 FOG map). Please do not establish personal compost piles on your plot. Compost only non-diseased plant and vegetable material an
d cover fresh compost with soil, straw or leaves to discourage animals. Do not bring personal kitchen waste to the compost piles. Non-compostable material including metal, plastic, treated wood, glass, etc., as well as diseased plant material must be packed out of the site. No waste may be placed elsewhere – i.e. in paths, roads, wet areas, etc.
In an effort to maintain the garden’s natural beauty and reduce the risk of soil contamination, please choose biodegradable alternatives to plastic wherever possible (stakes, trellises, edging, ground cover, etc.) Do not use plastic to sheet mulch—it easily breaks apart and becomes scattered in the soil. Plastic chairs are not allowed at FOG. No pressure treated wood is to be used in plots. The Steering Committee may consider rare exceptions on a case-by-case basis.
No structures installed on gardeners’ plots may be considered “permanent.” Where necessary for safety and to prevent winter damage, we reserve the right to ask gardeners to remove structures, including trellises and hoop houses, at the season’s end.
Due to concerns about permanence and mature height, only specific species of woody plants are pre-approved for individual garden plots. Permitted species are blueberries, currants, gooseberries, and grapes (must be supported; trellises must be less than 6′ in height). Any other species, food-bearing or ornamental, must be approved by the FOG Steering Committee before being planted on site. All plants and plant supports should be sited so as not to cast shade on other gardeners’plots.
Bramble fruits such as blackberries and raspberries are not permitted in individual plots, due to their tendency to spread aggressively. Instead, we have established a community bramble patch on the eastern edge of FOG for all to enjoy.
The registered Gardener for each plot (or plots) is responsible making sure that three hours of community service work is completed. All volunteer work must be completed and logged by the date of the fall plot check (Nov. 2, 2014). In order for your hours to be counted towards the 3-hour requirement, you must log your hours by emailing email@example.com (please let us know who worked, the date the work was done, how much time was spent, and what was done). Options for volunteer work will be listed regularly in the FOGhorn bulletin.
THE “FOGhorn” E-BULLETIN
The FOG Steering Committee communicates to gardeners regularly through our electronic bulletin with the subject line “FOGhorn”. Gardeners agree to read these notices carefully and are responsible for being aware of the information published. This could include volunteer opportunities, events, changes in rules, deadlines, etc. Send notice of email address changes to firstname.lastname@example.org, and notify us immediately if you are not receiving these emails.
Gardeners with serious rule violations are subject to immediate loss of plots and fees.
Three plot checks will be held each year, occurring on the first Sunday in June (spring plot check), the first Sunday on or after the 15th of July (summer plot check), and the first Sunday in November (fall plot check). Reminders will appear in the FOGhorn. Gardeners who fail the plot check will be notified within one week, and will forfeit their plot immediately for the remainder of the season.
- Spring Plot Check: Plot must be cultivated (i.e. there must be evidence that you worked in the plot).
- Summer Plot Check: Plot must be maintained to a minimum standard (i.e. more cultivated plants than weeds in evidence, and/or plot must be less than 50% weeds).
- Fall Plot Check: All plots must pass this plot check in order to be eligible to pre-register for the following year. Gardeners who fail this plot check may, for a $30 administrative fee, have a one-week extension to correct identified problems.
- Gardeners must cut back and/or dispose of dead plants, though it is acceptable to leave plants that would act as valuable food sources or habitat for wildlife (e.g. sunflowers, echinacea, etc.). Winter crops and harvesting are permitted.
- All non-attached objects must be removed or tied down for the winter (jugs, furniture, toys, tools, etc), and remaining structures secured. Stakes may be left in the ground if they are secure.
- Extended plot use beyond Nov. 1 through use of row covers, cold frames, etc. is permissible provided gardener passes plot check and completes volunteer hours.
Plantings within a plot are the property of the registered gardener. Plants not removed by the fall plot check become the property of the next season’s registered gardener. If a gardener fails to cultivate his/her plot by the spring plot check, remaining plants become the property of the gardener to whom the plot is reassigned.
COMMUNITY RESOURCES FOR SALE
Finished compost will often be available for purchase at FOG. The cost is $1.50 per 5-gallon bucket (you may fill wheelbarrows as well, but measure with the bucket). Drop payment into the slot marked “Payments” in the interior wall of the toolshed – we need to receive payments as we go, so please do that the same day. You will be able to pre-order finished compost in the spring for a lower price of $1 per bucket (there are about 40 buckets in a yard, and about 5 buckets in a wheelbarrow) – we will notify gardeners when the pre-orders can begin.
FOG STEERING COMMITTEE
These dedicated gardeners volunteer hundreds of hours each season to help manage FOG, develop the site, set policy, and support gardeners. The Steering Committee makes and communicates decisions as a group, trying its best to balance individual and group needs, and to ensure good stewardship of the land and our natural resources. Find a list of the current committee members at www.growfoodnorthampton.com. Please contact us if you are interested in joining the Steering Committee.
GET IN TOUCH
Please email email@example.com or call 413-559-0060.