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Community Gardens

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Growing In The Heartland Community Garden
Gardener Responsibilities & Rules Agreement

This is a community garden managed by the Highlands Soil & Water Conservation District, but a cooperative effort with costs, benefits, fun and work shared equally among the gardeners.  

Enrollment & Renewal: 

Enrollment and renewal of garden plots occur in January and September of every year.  All new members are required to complete an enrollment and release form. The forms can be downloaded from the website  The completed forms and fee needs to be submitted to the HSWCD office prior to receiving an assigned gardening plot.

Plot Rental Charge: 

There is a $ 10.00 charge for each six (6) month garden season, payable during enrollment in January and July. Or, a gardener can pay for a full twelve (12) months rental in one payment.


Under no circumstances are pets of ANY kind allowed in the Garden.

Community Garden Work Days: 

Members are asked to participate in Garden Work Days on an as needed basis.  Participation by all gardeners will help us to keep the Garden grounds and equipment well maintained.  The work days will be scheduled and posted well in advance.


All community garden tools are to washed off and returned to the storage area after each use. The door to the storage area should be kept locked.


This is a valuable resource and should be conserved.  Sprinklers should not be kept running for more than twenty (20) minutes at a time and should never be run all night.  Water in the early morning during the summer. Sprinklers and timers are allowed, but not provided. When not in use, all hoses should be rolled and hung on hangers provided.

Surplus Food Donations: 

Any surplus produce can be donated to the local food bank in Highlands County. No surplus produce can be sold for payment to the gardener.

Fertilizers and Pesticides: 

Only fertilizers on the market as approved to be safe for use in gardens are allowed.  Use of unapproved products will result in termination of this Agreement and the gardener’s right to garden in the community garden.  Keeping your garden carefully cultivated is one of the best defenses against pests and predators.


The compost product is here for all to use, so please limit how much you take to two (2) wheelbarrow loads per plot per quarter.  Please contribute your garden weeds, trimmings, and other plant waste such as grasses, leaves, kitchen scraps, etc. to the compost.  But NO non-biodegradable items go in composter, please dispose of these items in the dumpster just outside the fence border.


The Garden shares a dumpster with Highlands County 4-H for our non-biodegradable materials, but if you have an excessive amount please don’t overload the dumpster. Put plant debris in the open compost bin.


Garden paths must remain six (6)feet wide and accessible at all times.  The paths must be level and clear of tools, debris, and overhanging vegetation.  Personal items such as buckets, stakes, and hand tools must be stored on your plot. When they are no long in use, please remove them off site.  So the walking paths can be mowed easily, be sure you don’t go right to edge of plot with plantings, fence or hoses. Strive to keep your plot and its adjacent pathways clean.


Plot fences must not block paths or shade neighboring plots and they must be sturdy and maintained.  If a fence does not comply with the fencing rules, the gardener will be asked to remove it.

  • Fences and trellises are allowed only within a plot or on the plot border.  If a fence is constructed on the plot border, then vegetation must not be planted outside of the fence or encroach on neighboring plots.
  • Be sure your fence is not in the walking path so the mower blades don’t cut it and mower can fit between plots to mow.
  • Fences must not be taller than six (6) feet.
  • Products beyond typical fencing materials are not allowed. Plastic mesh must not be used in fence construction.
  • Fences must be kept free of weeds.
  • Broken or falling fences must be repaired or removed.
  • Broken, non-biodegradable materials must be taken off-site or put in dumpster.
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Thank You EPI!

The Highlands Soil & Water Conservation District expresses gratitude for the continued support local excavation company, EPI, has given to the Growing in the Heartland Community Garden since it was started 5 years ago.  Every year EPI delivers a large dump truck load of processed compost for our gardeners to use in their plots – FREE of CHARGE to the District.   This contribution enables our gardeners to produce delicious vegetables while enjoying being outside along with “growing” an appreciation for the many farmers across our Nation who feed us all.  Thank you EPI!