Ben Franklin Community Garden - Celebrating 40 years!

Garden Rules and Regulations 2021

Download the 2021 Rules and Regulations [pdf]

The COVID-19 pandemic results in additional procedures to the garden rules to protect gardeners when interacting with other gardeners and other items.

Please check all bulletin boards for announcements.


    Monday-Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
    (Closing may be as early as 7 p.m. as sunset occurs earlier in the day.)
    Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
    Holidays 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

    Garden Staff may not always be on duty. Gardeners are required to vacate the Garden if severe weather threatens.

    Parking AND Bikes

  1. Please observe posted signs. Reserved spots for handicapped parking are available for vehicles displaying a valid handicap placard. Parked vehicles may not exceed 7-feet wide by 17-feet long. Other gardeners park in the schoolyard where the yellow lines indicate parking spots. Posted spots for loading and unloading are available in the Garden driveway. Please use caution when driving or walking in the driveway. Please park bicycles in the bike rack near the storage shed at the Garden entrance. Bikes are not permitted in the Garden area.

    GARDENER Conduct

  2. To maintain the peace and tranquility of the Garden, Gardeners are expected to treat one another and Garden staff with courtesy and respect. Foul language and offensive behavior are prohibited.
  3. No one is permitted to trespass into any garden plot without permission of the Gardener or just cause.
  4. Picking of fruit from the orchard is permitted only for donation to the hunger centers.
  5. Children must be supervised at all times to ensure they do not step into other garden plots or disturb fellow Gardeners.
  6. Pets are not allowed in the Garden per City of Cleveland Ordinance (Section 603.04 – Dog Nuisances).
  7. The Cleveland Metropolitan School District, the owner of the Garden property, prohibits alcohol, drugs, and smoking on school grounds. Unless otherwise authorized by law, pursuant to ORC 2923.122, firearms and dangerous ordnance are prohibited on the school premises.

    Grievances are given to the Garden Coordinator or a member of the Garden Committee for presentation to the Garden Committee. Depending on the severity of the lapse, failure to maintain courteous, respectful behavior can result in a written notice from the Garden Coordinator or Garden Committee or denial of gardening privileges in future seasons. A serious offense can result in immediate forfeiture of your plot. Produce remaining in forfeited plots will be donated to the Hunger Centers. The Garden Committee’s decision will be final.


  8. Plots are assigned by the Garden Coordinator and the Chairperson of the Garden Committee and/or designated Committee members assigned by the Chair. Returning Gardeners may request the same location or a different location. First-year Gardeners are limited to one (1) plot; thereafter, the limit is two (2). This limit does not apply to Gardeners who maintained more than two (2) plots prior to the 2010 Gardening season. A Gardener can be a co-Gardener of no more than two (2) additional plots. Gardeners/co-Gardeners may not transfer their plot(s) to anyone without permission of the Garden Committee. NOTE: Anyone working in a garden plot must have a signed waiver of liability on file.
  9. The Garden maintains an inventory of hand tools, wheelbarrows, and carts for Gardeners’ use. Access is first-come/first served. Any Garden implements used should be cleaned and returned to the shed area as quickly as possible. Unauthorized removal of Garden assets and/or produce is prohibited.
  10. As a condition for the services provided to Benjamin Franklin Community Garden by Summer Sprout, the selling or bartering of ANY produce grown in the Garden is specifically prohibited.
  11. Please respect posted signs and limits regarding usage of communal supplies such as manure, leaf humus and wood chips. Wood chips are to be used in common path areas only.

  13. Volunteer Hours.In keeping with the intention and meaning of a community garden, and in an effort to defray costs and maximize grant awards, each Gardener and Co-Gardener is required to donate a minimum of five (5) hours toward the operation, maintenance, and promotion of the Garden. Hours are recorded in the Volunteer Service Log. In lieu of volunteer hours, a donation to OBCDC’s Garden Fund of $10/hr minimum is expected.
  14. Hunger Center Donation. Gardeners are encouraged to donate surplus produce to a Hunger Center. Produce should be fresh, free of disease and spoilage, with inedible parts and excess soil removed. Please leave it on the cart by the Garden shed. Any Gardener donating produce independently should obtain a receipt from the recipient organization and submit it to the Garden Coordinator or the Garden Committee so an accurate count of donations can be maintained.

  16. It is mandated that nothing be planted or placed in such a way as to shade or encroach on another Gardener’s plot. Further, each Gardener must allow 12 inches for a walkway between adjoining plots, and any plantings should be a minimum of 12 inches from paths. No illegal or invasive plants, morning glories, for example, may be grown. Corn and sunflowers of any type are prohibited.
  17. For appearance, Gardeners assigned plots adjacent to the center East-West blacktop walkway, are required to plant a row of ornamental flowers along the border with the walkway. Because the Garden is a certified Monarch Waystation, butterfly-attracting flowers, such as zinnias, are highly recommended. All Gardeners are encouraged to grow nectar plants to attract butterflies and other pollinators.
  18. Garden paths must be kept free and clear of all obstacles (i.e., hoses, tools, wagons, wheelbarrows, etc.). Hoses must be run along paths (not through other plots) and disconnected after use. Unattended watering is not permitted. Any personal supplies/implements (tools/sprinklers, etc.) must be stored within one’s plot. Neither OBCDC nor the Garden Staff are responsible for tools or personal property left unattended on the premises.
  19. Plots must be weeded regularly. This includes adjacent paths. The use of impermeable plastic weed blocker products is prohibited. The condition of the Garden is monitored by the Garden Coordinator and Garden Committee. If a plot appears to be neglected, a warning will be issued. Failure to address the warning within two weeks will result in designation of the plot as “abandoned,” forfeiture of the plot, and denial of gardening privileges in future seasons. Abandoned garden plots revert to Garden Committee control.
  20. Gardeners are responsible for ensuring their plots are maintained during vacation periods or other absences longer than one week. If possible, please advise the Garden Coordinator or a member of the Garden Committee in advance if you will be away from your garden plot for more than one week.
  21. The use of Sevin and inorganic herbicides including Preen and similar products is prohibited. Please contact the Garden Coordinator or a member of the Garden Committee if you need advice on other organic herbicides. Only composted manure may be applied.
  22. It is strongly recommended that Gardeners compost organic material within their plot throughout the season (see Garden Coordinator for instructions). Diseased and infected plants should be removed from the Garden and disposed of properly. Gardeners may also choose to bag and remove organic waste. It is the responsibility of the Gardener to remove all garden waste and trash from the Garden premises.

  24. Checkout process: At the conclusion of the season a checkout sheet must be signed by the Garden Coordinator or a member of the Garden Committee (as noted on the Garden roster) confirming the plot can be successfully plowed. Ground must be level. Raised beds and walkways must be raked smooth. All manmade materials, including weed-blocking material and staples/pins, must be removed. Any straw in bales must be removed or spread evenly across the plot. Remaining vegetation (including vines and plant stalks) must be cut to lengths/heights of less than two (2) feet and distributed evenly across the plot. It is not necessary and not recommended that vegetation/organic material be removed. Gardeners are encouraged to leave flowers in place to provide for our pollinators.
  25. Gardeners who fail to complete the checkout process by the end of the final day may be denied gardening privileges in future seasons. No cover crops are permitted without prior approval by the Garden Coordinator.

    Failure to comply with any of the above Rules and Regulations can result in the Gardener forfeiting his or her garden plot(s) and being excluded from the Garden program. Violations may be reported to the Garden Committee using the Incident Report which will be issued to the gardener by the Garden Coordinator or a member of the Committee.

Download the 2021 Rules and Regulations [pdf]

Incident Report Form [pdf]