Portland's community gardens are vibrant spaces that reflect the diversity of the neighborhoods in which they are located. As a member of the community, each gardener shall follow the garden policies that layout best practices for gardening in a shared space on public land.
- You are welcome to garden all year round. During the main growing season (April – October) show you are using your plot by:
- Preparing the soil for planting
- Planting and growing crops
- Harvesting ripe produce
- Removing weeds, especially those in flower or setting seed
- Collecting seed you want to save before it drops on the soil
- When you are not actively gardening, continue to care for your garden plot by:
- Removing weeds, especially those in flower or setting seed
- Removing dead and dying plants, especially if they are diseased or covered with pests
- Neatly storing seasonal structures like tomato cages, stakes, trellis materials, and wood when not in use
- You are responsible for maintaining the paths and fence lines that touch your plot.
- Keep paths bordering your plot 2.5 to 3 feet wide and level so others can safely pass
- Remove weeds from the paths and directly outside the fence, if your plot touches a fence
- Store things inside your plot
- Keep plants within the boundaries of your plot
- Portland Parks & Recreation does not provide garbage or plant waste pick up. You are responsible for managing the plant material and trash from your plot.
- You may compost plant material in your plot, bury it, or dispose of it in home yard waste bins.
- Do not dump material anywhere inside or outside of the garden.
- Prevent rodents and stinging insects from building homes in your garden.
- Remove piles of debris and regularly turn your compost pile
- Remove food sources by harvesting produce when ripe, and leaving food scraps from your kitchen at home
- Dump water that has been standing for more than 3 days to keep mosquitos from laying eggs
- Organic gardening is required.
- Use only organic fertilizers, weed killers, or bug killers
- If you are unsure whether a product you want to use is allowed, search for it on the Organic Materials Review Institute website at www.omri.org, or call the Master Gardener Hotline at 503-655-8631.
- Contribute and log a minimum of 6 hours per year in service to your community garden. Three hours must be completed by June 30, and a total of 6 hours must be completed by October 31.
- Contact your garden manager for a list of tasks that will count towards your service hour commitment.
- If you are unable to contribute service hours due to disability or personal circumstance, contact staff to request an exception.
- Gardeners who do not complete and log service hours and do not contact staff to request an exception for 2 years in a row, will not be allowed to renew their reservation and their plot will be reassigned.
Multilingual Garden Policies
Gardener Accountability and Policy Enforcement
Gardeners are responsible for following the garden policies. Staff and volunteer garden managers will regularly monitor plots throughout the year. If a gardener is not following the garden policies, staff will send them a reminder.
- If a garden plot looks abandoned during the main garden season (April – October), garden staff will check in with the plot holder. The plot holder has 2 weeks to respond and start gardening. If there is no action after 2 weeks, the plot will be reassigned.
- When a gardener receives their third reminder during the garden season, they have the option to enter a trial period where they work with staff to create a garden plan to help them keep their plot.
- Gardeners who receive a fourth reminder in a year will have their reservation cancelled and the plot will be reassigned.
- Gardeners may request an appeal of a garden reminder or plot cancellation by submitting that request to the Community Gardens Program Coordinator. The appeal request will be reviewed by the Community Gardens Program Coordinator, the Garden Manager of the site where the appealing person gardens, and one other Garden Manager who is a member of the same racial/ethnic group and/or speaks the same language as the gardener (if possible).
Community Garden Resources
Here are some of our favorite gardening resources to support you in your garden plot.
Portland Community Garden New Gardener Orientation
No synthetic chemicals (herbicides, pesticides or chemical fertilizers) are allowed in Portland Parks & Recreation's community gardens unless they are listed on the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) product list
Planting and Harvest Calendars
Soil and Composting
Portland Gardening Organizations
Friends of Portland Community Gardens has been a hands-on advocacy resource for the Portland gardening community for over 30 years. We empower gardeners to make the most of their community garden plots by providing communal supplies such as compost and tools.
Oregon Food Bank offers free a beginning vegetable gardening course for low-income gardeners that teaches participants how to garden on a budget.
Grow Portland helps connect gardeners of all abilities with the learning opportunities needed to grow their own food.
Multnomah County Master Gardeners have a plethora of educational resources from garden classes to plant pest and disease diagnosis.
Resources to run a Community Garden
Starting a new Community Garden
Liability Statement: By paying or receiving scholarship assistance for the community garden plot, the participant agrees to abide by the program policies and procedures and to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the Bureau of Parks and Recreation, the Community Gardens Program, the City of Portland, the Property Owner and its lessees, and their officers, agents, and employees from and against all damages, claims, demands, suits, actions resulting from, or because of, any damage to property or bodily injury or death of any person arising out of the occupancy and/or use of the Garden by the participant, the participant’s co-gardener or guests.
ADA Statement: To help ensure equal access to City programs, services, and activities, the City of Portland will reasonably modify policies and procedures and provide auxiliary aids and services to persons with disabilities. Contact Community Garden Program staff at 503-823-1612 (TTY 503-823-6868) with such requests. For additional ADA information, call 503-823-4333 or 711 (TRS).
Notice of Non-Discrimination: Portland Parks & Recreation programs and services reflect the cultural diversity of our community. We do not discriminate on the basis of religion, race, color, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, age, or ability.
Portland Parks & Recreation Photo Policy: Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) reserves the right, and may give permission to the media, to photograph classes, programs, and participants at any of our facilities and properties or any sponsored activity. Please be aware that these photos are for promotional purposes and may be used in future publications and media communications in any format. If you do not wish to be photographed, please inform staff and we will make reasonable efforts to honor your request. If you see staff taking pictures, and you do not wish to be photographed, please let us know. If you see a photo of yourself or a family member that causes you concern, please notify us. As a courtesy, we will make every reasonable effort to dispose of the image, and will not use it in future publications. However, we will not be able to retrieve, destroy or discontinue existing printed publications in which the photograph may have been included.