Community Gardens Rules & Responsibilities


The City of Bellingham Parks and Recreation Department operates three year-round gardening sites. Our goal is to give everyone an enjoyable gardening experience and be responsible stewards of the land. In order to achieve these goals all program participants are expected to follow the rules. Failure to comply with the rules and responsibilities may result in cancellation of the program.


  • All garden work should be conducted during daylight hours. 
  • Community Garden participants shall practice pack in, pack out (leave no trace). Please take home and discard of all garbage and recycling appropriately.
  • Children must be accompanied and supervised by an adult.
  • Do not bring pets to the gardens. This excludes service animals, which must be kept on leash. 
  • No motorized equipment permitted except gas-powered rototillers. 
  • Do not store any personal materials anywhere outside of leased 10-foot x 20-foot plot. 
  • Subletting or reassigning plots to other gardeners is prohibited. 
  • Gardeners must volunteer a minimum of 5 hours annually in support of the community garden e.g. common area maintenance, newsletter/articles, committee participation, event planning, etc. and submit completed Community Garden Support Log by October 15. Please work with the Community Garden Committee or check the bulletin board for appropriate support tasks and opportunities. This support work is in addition to the normal maintenance of your plot, as described in the Maintenance section. 
  • Gardeners who are notified of not meeting expectations outlined in the Community Garden Rules & Responsibilities will have 7 days to resolve the identified issues. Gardeners unable to resolve identified issues will result in cancellation of program participation and plot reassignment. 
  • Garden newsletters/updates will be posted on bulletin board. Gardeners without email addresses are responsible for checking the bulletin board for updates. 


  • Each gardener is responsible for weekly maintenance and upkeep of their garden plot and adjoining walkways to the mid-point. 
  • Spring plot inspections will take place on or around March 15, with plot clean up and significant garden activity required by no later than April 30 (the last day for plot refund).
  • Plots and walkways must have minimal weeds and grasses. 
  • Plots must be kept neat and tidy year-round; please limit storage items and debris to minimize safety hazards and pest/rodent problems. 
  • Place all weeds removed from the garden for disposal in the designated weed area. 
  • Rocks shall be placed in designated areas. 
  • Fall clean up: By October 31, plots should be tidied and cleared of rotting vegetation which may attract rodents or pests; cover crops and/or mulching is encouraged. 


  • Some community gardens have designated compost areas. Place only non-invasive plant material in Community Garden compost if available. Compost is limited to garden cuttings, raw fruits, and vegetables from the gardens. Household or yard waste generated off-site is not permitted. 


  • Water hoses are available to share among community garden program participants. Please adhere to summer water conservation guidelines. Limit watering to 30 minutes when other gardeners are waiting to water their plots. 
  • Water hoses shall not be attached to overhead watering systems or drip watering systems. 
  • Gardener must remain on-site when watering. 
  • Water is for Community Garden plot use only. 

Plant Materials 

  • No invasive or woody plants may be planted in the garden. This includes trees, shrubs, and vines such as grape, wisteria, hops, and invasive tubers. Bush and cane fruits (i.e. blueberries and raspberries) are permitted, however, ALL perennial plantings must be trimmed and maintained.

For more information about invasive plants contact your Community Garden Committee.


  • All garden structure requests (i.e. storage containers, fencing, netting, raised beds, pots, plants, individual composting bins, etc.) must be pre-approved by Park Operations. Structure requests must be received in writing. Park Operations staff will make the final determination and respond to the requestor. 
  • No structures will be permitted over 6-feet tall. 
  • All garden materials and approved structures must be within the 10-foot x 20-foot garden plot. Approved hoop houses, row covers, and tunnels may not exceed 5-foot wide by 14-foot long. Gardeners must be able to walk around the structure and be able to maintain plot/fence lines. Garden materials and approved structures that go outside of garden plot will be removed and discarded as it interferes with garden perimeter maintenance, other garden plots and may impose safety risks for gardeners.
  • Fencing cannot be made of solid materials such as brick, stone or wood. Fence materials/posts shall not be set in concrete. 
  • No planting on shared fences without consent from other gardener. 
  • No heating units are permitted. 

Bulletin Boards 

  • Bulletin boards are for Community Garden information sharing only. No advertising or personal notices. 

Community Garden Sheds 

Each site has a shed with donated tools and materials for all gardeners to use. Contact the Community Garden Committee for information about access. 

  • When using materials from the shed, return items where they were found in clean condition. 
  • Gardeners may donate rakes, hoes and shovels in good condition with Community Garden Committee approval. 
  • Do not donate hardscaping items (fence, posts, plastic, bricks, stones, etc.) 
  • Secure the shed upon leaving if lock provided. 

Conflict Resolution

Conflict resolution:

  • Call 911 – for any emergency, theft, or crime.
  • Contact Community Garden Committee – for gardening information or help.
  • Contact Park Operations (360) 778-7100 – for concerns about garden maintenance.
  • Contact the Main Office (360) 778-7000 – to register and pay for your plots.


Registration Form
Scholarship Form
County-wide Community Garden Map


Parks and Recreation Community Garden Program
Registration:  (360) 778-7000

Parks and Recreation Contacts