High River Community Garden Guidelines

The High River Garden Society is the governing body for McLaughlin Meadows and Riverside Community Gardens. These gardens are on public land owned by the Town of High River.   There is a Community Garden License Agreement between the Town of High River and the High River Garden Society.  Some of our rules and regulations come from this agreement.

The High River Garden Society has the sole discretion to manage the gardens and to accept gardeners.  If accepted as a gardener, you must abide by the rules and policies within this agreement. 

Welcome to Community Gardening

Welcome to the Community Garden.  We are excited to begin our third season.  This Community Garden guidelines will tell you how the gardens operate and who to contact with questions.

Each garden will have a Garden Manager. S/he will coordinate and manage activities and maintenance tasks.  S/he will consider your preferred volunteer roles as indicated on your Garden Application.

Community Work

The Community Gardens are run totally with volunteers. Each gardener is required to look after their own plot and volunteer with the maintenance and upkeep of the pathways, and common areas including the Food Forest. Community Work Days are a great way to get to know your neighboring gardeners, share ideas, and create a garden space that we can all be proud of. The Garden Manager organizes Community Work Days and oversees volunteer hours to ensure gardeners are doing their part.

We encourage all gardeners to attend our scheduled Garden Meetings. These meetings are not only for the business of the gardens, but also provide an educational, and social environment that benefits all who attend.

Food Forest

We began planting the Food Forest area last spring but will most likely incorporate a few more additions as time and space allow.  This area is for the whole community, not just the people who have garden plots.  We need your assistance in caring for this area. During the 2017 growing season, the Food Forest included fruit trees and shrubs, a potato patch, a corn stand, strawberries, raspberries, climbing beans and grapes.

Community Garden Guidelines

General Guidelines

  • Gardener use is limited to one plot per residence.
  • Returning gardeners will have the same plot as the previous year unless you have requested a change. 
  • Plot changes are subject to availability.
  • For your safety, garden only in daylight hours.
  • Extra produce may be donated to the food bank, local charities, or individuals. 
  • Please be respectful of the other member’s plots by picking only what is yours, unless you have been given permission to do so.

Plots, Paths and Boundaries

Please keep your garden within its official defined boundary. 

Plots cannot be expanded or changed without prior written approval of the Board of Directors.

Paths must be kept clear, level and free of all obstructions.  This includes weeds and garden plants. The paths adjacent to each plot are the joint responsibility of the gardeners on both sides of the path.

Do not use boards, plywood or carpet in the paths; they present a tripping danger. 

Your garden plants must not extend into or over the paths. Plan for growth when planting and/or locating a trellis near the garden edge.  Any garden plant substantially extending into a path may be trimmed, moved or removed by the Garden Manager/Board of Directors without notice.

Perennials, Tall Plants, Pest Plants

Please work with your neighbours when planting tall plants such as sunflowers or bean trellises so you don’t shade adjacent gardens.

Planting trees and shrubs is not allowed. 

Planting perennials requires the approval of the Garden Manager/Board of Directors. 

Be very careful with plants that are invasive and hard to eradicate. Don’t let them get away or go to seed, or they may be considered weeds.

Weeds

All plots and adjacent paths should look tidy and be kept weed-free throughout the season.

Plots in violation of this policy may be re-assigned (see Policy Enforcement section).

Please note that pesticides are not allowed (see list in Chemicals section).

Get help identifying weeds from the Garden Manager/Board of Directors.

Pests and Diseases

Gardeners should watch for insects, pests, and diseases. 

Should a problem arise, contact the Garden Manager/Board of Directors so a plan can be developed to address the issue. 

It is unlikely you are the only with one with the problem. 

Chemicals

Chemical insecticides, fungicides, rodenticides, and bactericides are prohibited.

Natural methods of pest control such as traps, companion planting, good plant and soil health, and parasitic or biological controls are encouraged.

If you observe an insect or disease problem, please contact the Garden Manager/Board of Directors.

Permission to use a chemical product in the event of a catastrophic infestation may be granted by the Garden Manager in consultation with the Board of Directors, on a one-time basis, and applied at the safest time possible using the safest method possible.

Compost

Plant debris is best utilized by composting, digging it into the soil, or as a mulch on top. Plant debris which is not used in your garden should be placed in the compost bins following the Compost Guidelines.   

Please do not add quack grass, or weeds that have gone to seed to the compost bins (see Garbage).

Fertilizers

Chemical Fertilizers are discouraged. 

Natural fertilizers such as compost and aged manure, provide  more
nutrients and organisms for healthy soil.

Compost is available to purchase from the Foothills Regional Landfill. 

Periodically we hope to have compost from our own bins available to gardeners.  This will be done at the direction of the Compost Manager and Garden Manager.

Garbage

There is no garbage pick up, so please take your garbage home with you.

Water

We encourage water-saving techniques, such as mulching, direct plant-root watering, and avoiding mid-day or overhead watering. 

Please remember that we pay for our water.  Only hand watering is allowed, sprinklers are not permitted.  When you finish watering, please rinse the hose, and roll it back up on the reel. 

It is important that both the tap and the hydrant be turned off.

Tools

We have a few basic tools in the tool shed. Please clean and return them after use. 

Gardeners who bring their own tools from home, should not leave them at the garden for security reasons. 

Report missing or broken community tools to the Garden Manager/Board of Directors please, so we can replace or repair them as required.

Tools are used at the gardener’s own risk.  Please secure the shed when you leave.

Vacations

Vacationing gardeners must still comply with weed and other maintenance rule deadlines. 

Please do not just put a notation on Facebook that you are on vacation and “would someone water your garden.”   Make arrangements for another gardener, a friend, or family member to care for your garden.  Then communicate that person’s name and phone number to the Garden Manager. 

End of Garden Season

All plots must be cleared by October 1 (weather dependent).

If you have early renewed your plot for 2018 you may plant fall crops such as garlic. 

You will be contacted by the Garden Manager/Board of Directors if you have not cleared your plot and given one week to clean it up. If your garden is not cleared, you will not be eligible for a plot the next season (see Enforcement of Guidelines).

Children

 Children are welcome in the garden area with adult supervision.

Pets

 Pets are not allowed within the garden.

Smoking, Drugs, and Alcohol

Smoking, vaping, drinking alcohol, or the use of illegal drugs within the garden is not permitted.

Notices

Notices to individual gardeners may be mailed, emailed or phoned. General notices will be emailed to everyone.
We will have a bulletin board in the shed where notices of general interest can be posted. 

Please inform the Garden Manager, or by email to the High River Garden Society of any changes to your address, phone number, or email address. 

It is the responsibility of the gardener to access information about meetings and garden business by contacting the Garden Manager/Board of Directors or viewing our website and Facebook page.

Abandonment

Any garden that is apparently abandoned may be reassigned (see Policy Enforcement). 

If you are unable to care for your plot for an extended period, please consider giving it up so that someone else can use it.

In special circumstances, where illness, injury or other commitments with a known end-date prevent care of your plot, contact the Garden Manager/Board of Directors immediately and make other arrangements for its care.

Enforcement of the Guidelines

The Garden Manager/Board of Directors are responsible for interpreting and enforcing the guidelines.  Most issues can be resolved informally, but at times a more formal process is needed to deal with some issues, such as weed policy enforcement.  The Garden Manager/Board of Directors will try to call or meet the gardener to discuss problems while they are still small. 

If the Garden Manager/Board of Directors determines that a plot or its owner is in substantial violation of the garden guidelines:

  • Verbal notice of the problem and a request for corrective action will be given.
  • If the problem remains unresolved 1 week after notice is given, a 1-week deadline written notice will be given. 
  • If the gardener does not comply, s/he will be evicted.

Gardeners are encouraged to discuss the situation with the Garden Manager/Board of Directors at any time during this process.  Special circumstances will be taken into account and other arrangements made at the discretion of the Garden Manager/Board of Directors.  The Board of Directors reviews all final evictions and appeals.

  • The High River Garden Society may change or update these guidelines at the discretion of the Board.