Community Gardens Program Policies

Community Garden gardeners planting
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.
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Garden Policies

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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, or call the Master Gardener Hotline at 503-655-8631
  7. Contribute and log a minimum of 6 hours per year in service to your community garden. You must complete the first 3 service hours by June 30, and a total of 6 hours by October 31.
    • Contact your garden manager for a list of tasks that will count towards your service hour commitment
    • Contact staff to request an accommodation if you cannot complete service hours
    • Deadlines to complete service hours:
      • June 30 – complete the first 3 hours or ask staff for an accommodation. If you do not complete your first 3 hours, you will receive a mid-season reminder
      • October 31 – complete a total of 6 hours or ask staff for an accommodation. This includes all hours completed before June 30. If you do not complete 6 or more hours, you will receive a policy reminder in January

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).

2024 Site Visit Schedule

Garden Policy Frequently Asked Questions

Multilingual Garden Policies

حدائق بورتلاند المجتمعیة

Programska politika


Ennukun Fot Ira

Portland Community Gardens Policies – English

سیاستهای باغ مشارکتی

Danrangeji ngesa Fattude

Karen Community Garden Policies

커뮤니티 정원 안내

सामुदायिक बग ैँचा सम्बन्धी नीयिहरू

Qajeelfamawwan Iddoo Misooma Hawaasaa

Politicile de utilizare a grădinii comunității

Правила пользования общинными садово-огородными участками

Políticas para el Jardín Comunitario

Sera za Kutunza Shamba la Jamii

Polosii ki he Ngoue ‘a e Komiuniti

Правила роботи в громадському саду

Các Quy Định về Khu Vườn Cộng Đồng

Portland Khua Huan – Huan Zatziate

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 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.