Abodes Garden Program Contract

Abodes Community Garden’s goal is to provide a safe and attractive community environment for those desiring to grow vegetables, fruits, flowers, and plants in an organic and environmentally friendly manner. Because this is an organic garden the use of synthetic or chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or amendments is prohibited. Only products that are labeled as OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) approved, or USDA Organic approved are acceptable. Any live plants or seedlings that you purchase for your garden plot must be organically grown as well, so as not to introduce chemical residues into the soil. Please consult the Organic Gardening Guide for more detailed information.  If you have questions about a product you wish to use in your garden plot, please check with the Garden Master.


In consideration for the privilege to participate in Abodes Gardening Program (“AGP”), the undersigned Gardener(s) (“Gardener”) agree(s) to the following:



The AGP is administered by Abodes, Inc a property management company. The AGP follows the requirements in this contract, the AGP Registration Form and the Organic Gardening Guidelines.  Staff from Abodes oversee the development and operation of the AGP and have authority to assign garden plots, settle disputes and disqualify gardeners for violations of regulations.



Returning gardeners in good standing from last season are invited to apply mid March for the rental of the same plots they gardened the prior year. Beginning March 28, new gardeners and returning gardeners in good standing who wish to apply for the rental of plots other than those they rented the prior year may register for garden plots on a first-come, first-served basis.


Approval of any new gardener who wishes to rent more than one plot is subject to review. Final permission will be granted or denied based on, but not limited to, the gardener’s gardening knowledge and experience.


Up to two garden plot rentals per gardener will be considered prior to April 15, after which point an unlimited number of plots may be rented, based on staff approval and availability.


  1. Contact Information and Communication

Staff – Abodes staff will be available to assist gardeners at info@abodes.com, (812) 333-3333, or at our office during the regularly scheduled, weekly work days (M-F, 9-5).


Gardeners – E-mail will be the primary method of communication with gardeners, including important information about gardeners’ plots and gardeners’ compliance with the AGP Contract. Notification of change of address, e-mail or telephone number must be given to Abodes via e-mail.



Garden plot rental fees reserve garden plot(s) for the current season only and are used to offset direct operating costs such as soil amendments, water, and tool sharing. No refunds on garden plots will be given unless the space can be assigned to another gardener. No refunds on abandoned garden plots will be given.  Any refunds will be subject to a $10 fee to cover administrative costs.



Gardeners renting plots that are unmaintained (per section 8 below regarding maintenance) or not fully cleared at the end of the AGP season (see section 6 below regarding the gardening season) may be charged a maintenance fee ($30) which will be billed to the primary gardener as listed on AGP Registration Form. Gardeners who do not clear their plots at the end of the season may not renew their plots the following year until the new gardener registration period begins.



The AGP season is April 15 through October 31. The gardens will open on April 15, weather permitting (gardeners will be notified via e-mail and signs posted at the gardens before April 15 if the opening is delayed). Gardeners may not begin any preparation or planting in their plot(s) before the opening of the season.


Garden hours are from sunup to sundown during gardening season.


Garden plots are numbered and a map will be posted showing all garden plot numbers. Gardeners must be certain they have located the correct plot(s) before beginning any preparation or planting.


Gardeners are responsible for maintaining their plot(s) as soon as the gardens are open for the season or immediately when they start renting, if after the opening of the season. Harvesting must be completed and plots must be cleared of all materials (i.e. plant material, stakes, cages, twine, wire, landscaping fabric, newspaper, plastic, etc.) and planted with a cover crop or mulched with straw, leaves or other materials by 5 p.m. on October 31.



Gardeners wishing to continue to continue to garden in their plots past October 31 may request special permission from Abodes. Such permission must be requested prior to October.  Approval will be granted on a case by case basis.



Garden Plot Maintenance – Gardeners must consistently maintain their plot(s) throughout the garden season. Regular maintenance includes: regular weeding, harvesting ripe produce and removing all dead or diseased plants. Gardeners must make arrangements for weeding, watering, and harvesting in their absence.


Garden Plot Landscaping – plantings should not excessively shade neighboring plots, and must be less than five feet (5’) tall at all times. Temporary supports for vegetables (e.g. beans) may be of a height necessary to support their growth, but must not shade a neighbor’s plot(s) and must be removed after the growing season. Vines and other plants shall not extend onto paths or into neighbors’ plots.


No hazardous materials nor excess lumber or other materials not intended for gardening in the plot may be stored in plots.


Pathways Gardeners are responsible for maintaining (weeding, mulching, and keeping level and traversable) the woodchip paths adjacent to their plot(s). Gardeners must also keep all paths (wood chips or grass) free of overgrowing plants, gardening supplies and equipment. Abodes will provide wood chips for path maintenance.


  1. GARDEN Plot Utilization

Gardeners unable to utilize or maintain their plot(s) and paths in the way described above, must contact Abodes staff immediately. If contacted, Abodes staff may be able to find a temporary solution until a gardener is able to continue maintaining his/her plot(s) and paths.


Turning In Garden Plots – Gardeners can turn in their plot(s) to Abodes staff at any time. If a gardener sufficiently maintains/clears, and cover crops or mulches their plot(s) such that Abodes staff does not need to do anything to the plot for the rest of the season, the gardener may renew the same plot the following year.  Gardeners must notify the staff when turning in their plots any time prior to the end of the season, October 31.


Any gardener leaving a plot early resulting in Abodes staff having to care for it in any way, may be charged a maintenance fee (see section 5 above regarding maintenance fees), billed to the primary gardener. Additionally, in the following year s/he may not renew that plot during the returning gardener registration period, but may apply to rent an available plot during new gardener registration period.


Unmaintained Plots – Abodes will contact gardeners renting unmaintained plots and those gardeners will be given two weeks to comply with all AGP Contract requirements. If the gardener does not comply by the end of this two-week period, s/he will give up the privilege to participate in the AGP for the current season and the primary gardener will be charged a maintenance fee (see section 5 above regarding maintenance fees). Additionally, any participating gardener who gives up his/her privilege to participate in the AGP under these circumstances may not rent a plot in the following year until May 1, presuming plots remain open at that time.


Gardeners who receive a two-week notice and then turn in their plot(s) before the end of the two-week period will be considered gardeners who turned in their plot(s) early as described in the “Turning in Garden Plots” section above.


Extenuating Circumstances – Gardeners may request an exception to the above rules for extenuating circumstances. Exceptions will be granted at Abodes sole discretion.


  1. Tools, Trellising and other Materials

Gardeners are permitted to store tools, watering cans, or other materials they use in the regular maintenance of their plot(s) during the regular gardening season within the boundaries of their plot(s) or within the tool shed. All items must be stored in a way that does not collect water for a period of time long enough to provide a habitat for mosquitoes.


AGP tools will be available for gardeners to use on a first-come, first-served basis during Garden Hours. Gardeners must clean and return tools to the tool shed in an orderly manner after use.


Soil amendments, trellising, stakes, cages and other hardscaping materials are permitted for use during the AGP season, as long as the items are kept within the boundaries of that gardeners plot(s) and are utilized within two weeks of being placed in those plot(s). Carpet may not be used as a weed barrier, or for any purpose, in the garden.


  1. SOIL

Abodes prepares each bed with a high-quality organic soil mix. This soil mix is amended with all-natural nutrients and ph-tested at the beginning of the season. By contrast, the organic plots available at City of Bloomington’s community gardens are in-ground plots, and the soil has not been amended or ph-tested.


Note that in-ground plantings are not organic by USDA standards, as the grounds at the Woods at Latimer have only been chemical-free for three years.



All gardeners must follow the organic guidelines provided here and on the Organic Guidelines form.


These guidelines will be strictly enforced in order to ensure a healthy, organic environment for all Gardeners. Failure to adhere to organic guidelines will result in a citation, and the non-organic product(s) must be removed within 24 hrs of citation. Gardener will be responsible for restoring the plot to organic standards. Note that many chemical products, such as Miracle Grow, can contaminate soil for up to 10 years. In such cases Gardener will be responsible for the cost of changing out the soil in their bed and replacing it with a new organic soil mix of comparable quality. The cost for the amount of organic soil mix needed to fill one bed is approximately $100, and will be charged to the Gardener.


A second violation, in addition to the above measures, will result in termination of gardening privileges. 



A composting bin is provided in the garden area. Non-woody plant material from garden plots should be composted in this bin. Please do not compost weeds, however, as this will cause them to sprout again elsewhere in the garden.


The compost bin generates both solid and liquid compost, which are optimal garden fertilizers. Gardeners may use compost from this bin, as well as the two other bins located at the Woods at Latimer, to fertilizer their plots. Gardeners should be judicious in the amount of compost they use, in order to ensure that an equal supply is available to all gardeners.


  1. Watering/Hoses

Water hoses are located at the garden site. When using hoses, gardeners must be careful not to damage other garden plots and when finished watering untangle and neatly coil hose on ground next to spigot. Overhead watering that sprays into other garden plots is prohibited. No unattended watering is permitted. Do not water neighbors’ plants without express permission or request form that neighbor. Please do not waste water!



Gardeners must close and latch the gates when entering and exiting the garden areas. Gardeners are not permitted to fence individual plots or blocks of plots.  Gardeners are not required to unlock the gate for anyone they do not know.


  1. TRASH

Gardeners must remove any trash they generate, including empty plant pots and trays, from the garden area and dispose of it properly. Recycling bins and dumpsters are located on the property.


  1. PETS

Pets are not permitted within the garden area at any time.



Parking is available directly in front of the garden area.



Good conduct and civil interaction shall prevail at all times. Gardeners shall not commit any act that is detrimental to others or to their property. Theft from the plot of another gardener is grounds for immediate dismissal from the garden. Any Gardener bringing a guest is responsible for the behavior of his or her guest(s). If a dispute arises, Gardeners should attempt to resolve it among themselves. If they are unable to do so, Abodes staff has the authority to arbitrate.



Gardeners should report any vandalism, theft or suspicious behavior or activity in the garden areas to Abodes staff immediately. Gardeners are not permitted to remove anything from plots not rented by them without the permission from the renting gardener. Abodes is not responsible for any damage to garden spaces, theft of produce or personal belongings in the vicinity of the gardens or elsewhere.



The undersigned hereby states that s/he understands the activities that will take place in this program, and that the Program Participant is physically and mentally able to participate in this program. The undersigned recognizes, as with any activity, there is risk of injury. In the event that the Program Participant sustains an injury in the course of the program, and Abodes is unable to contact the appropriate person(s) to obtain consent for treatment, Abodes and/or its employees or volunteers are authorized to take reasonable steps to obtain appropriate medical treatment. The Program Participant and/or his/her parent or legal guardian shall be responsible for the cost of such treatment. The undersigned now releases Abodes, its employees, agents, and assigns, from any claims including, but not limited to, personal injuries or damage to property caused by or having any relation to the activities covered by this contract. It is understood that this release applies to any present or future injuries and that it binds the undersigned, undersigned’s spouse, heirs, executors and administrators. The Program Participant may be photographed and videotaped while participating in Abodes activities, and consent is given for the reproduction of such photos or videos for advertising and publicity.





Garden and Plot #(s)________________________________________________________




I, the undersigned, have read the Abodes Gardener Contract and understand all of its terms. I agree with its terms and sign it voluntarily.



Primary Gardener, Printed Name                                            Primary Gardener, Signature                      Date


Additional Gardener, Printed Name                                       Additional Gardener, Signature                  Date