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Student Affairs

Plot Rentals

Interested in renting a plot at the Community Garden @ Auburn University?

We have several plot sizes to accommodate all gardeners. See the below table for more information regarding plot sizes and fees. Contact the garden manager at community.garden@auburn.edu for information on plot availability. 

Need help navigating plot rentals? Click here to watch a short step-by-step video of the process!

To be assigned a plot for the 2020-2021 year beginning on March 1, 2020, please read all of the information on this web page, including the Standards of Gardening, and pay using the Auburn Marketplace (link below). Prices will not be prorated for renters starting later in the season. All plot rentals end February 13, 2021.

Standards of Gardening at CGAU

What is the Garden Advisory Committee?

The community garden Advisory Committee is composed of faculty, student, administrator and community representatives who are active at the garden. They develop the garden policies and work to improve the garden. They meet monthly from April to November. You can find out who the current committee members are by visiting the “About the Garden” page. If you are interested in joining the Advisory Committee next year, please contact the garden manager at community.garden@auburn.edu.

Responsibilities of the Advisory Committee are as follows:

  • To maintain the community garden for the benefit of all renters. This does not include maintenance of individual plots; renters are responsible for their own space.
  • To mark plot boundaries and collect signed contracts with payment.
  • To provide access to water, maintain the water lines, and keep the established pathways and garden perimeter free of tall vegetation. Water will be cut off during winter (roughly November to March) to prevent pipes from freezing.
  • To provide shared tools (hand tools only, not power tools) in an accessible area. Renters will be given the code to the key box for access.
  • To identify neglected plots, distribute maintenance reminders, and reassign neglected plots as needed.
  • To maintain communication with renters, including the workday schedule and any changes or proposed changes to policies.
  • The CGAU may or may not also provide resources such as cover crop seed, wood chip mulch for pathways and individual plot perimeters, and educational resources and/or programs.
  • The CGAU reserves the right to terminate rentals if a renter does not adhere to the terms of this policy agreement.

What are the fees associated with renting a plot?

All renters agree to pay a plot rental fee and a rental deposit associated with the plot or plots to which they are assigned. If a plot is not maintained in an appropriate manner throughout the year or if renter quits gardening without clearing the plot, the CGAU will retain that renter’s deposit to cover the cost of cleaning up the plot. Please see the “What are gardener expectations?” drop down for more information.

How many plots can I rent?

First year renters are limited to one 15’x15’ plot, unless said renter has experience gardening in the Southeast USA. First year renters with this experience are limited to one large plot (30’x30’ or 20’x40’). Gardeners will be allowed more space in subsequent years so long as they remain in good-standing.

Why do I have to pay a deposit?

Rental deposits are charged to renters to safeguard against the following situations:

  1. The plot is not maintained in an appropriate manner throughout the year.
  2. If the renter quits gardening without clearing the plot.

In these cases, the AUCG will retain that renter’s deposit to cover the labor costs of clearing the plot.

Rental deposits are only charged one time per renter per plot. If you renew your plot rental for the following year, you will not be charged an additional deposit for the same plot. If you remain in good standing throughout the year, you are eligible to receive your deposit back when you end your plot rental. Upon termination of a rental contract, deposits can also be donated to the garden to fund general maintenance and garden projects. 

How do I get my deposit back?

Rental deposits are only charged one time per renter per plot. If you renew your plot rental for the following year, you will not be charged an additional deposit for the same plot. If you remain in good standing throughout the year, you are eligible to receive your deposit back when you end your plot rental. Upon termination of a rental contract, deposits can also be donated to the garden to fund general maintenance and garden projects. 

What are gardener expectations? / How do I remain "in good standing"?

All renters agree to maintain their plots in an appropriate manner at all times throughout the contract year. Both the function and the aesthetics of the CGAU are important for our community. Weeds cannot be allowed to take over a plot and pests and diseases need to be appropriately controlled. Renters must adhere to the following expectations throughout the year:

  • Actively garden and control weed growth.
  • If a section of a plot is not being actively gardened at any time during the contract period, uncultivated portions should be cleared of vegetation and managed to prevent unwanted growth. Options for controlling weed growth include soil solarization, heavily mulching with organic matter (grass clippings, straw, wood chips, etc.), or planting a suitable cover crop.
  • Deal with pest or disease problems as needed. Refer to Alabama Cooperative Extension System publications for crop information and problem solving: http://www.aces.edu/home-garden/lawn-garden/
  • Relinquish plot to CGAU if unable to maintain it. Relinquished plots may be rented to new gardeners, and refunds will not be given. Deposits may be refunded if the plot is cleared and the gardener has remained in good standing up to that point.
  • Gardeners must remove all dead and rotten vegetation from their plot(s) to avoid attracting rodents and pests. Plant waste should be placed in designated waste piles around the garden perimeter.
  • Clippings or compost may be stored in a plot if they are kept in a neat and organized fashion.
  • Plots must remain free of trash and debris. All “landfill” or non-degradable trash (treated wood, PVC, metal, plastics, bags, glass, tires, etc.) should be placed in the on-site dumpster. Landfill trash must not be placed in plant waste piles.
  • Each plot has a 12-inch wide perimeter that creates our 24-inch pathways throughout the garden. This perimeter of plots should be kept free of weeds and mulched with wood chips.
  • Pathways are to remain free of personal belongings (tools, containers, bags, etc.). Any garden equipment left in the designated pathways will be removed and placed near the shed.
  • Gardeners must maintain plants within their plot. The CGAU staff reserves the right to trim or remove any growth spilling into pathways and impeding the flow of traffic.
  • Gardeners may put up a fence perimeter around their plot, as long as it is maintained within their designated space and a 12-inch border is left to create the pathway. Note that any structure directly adjacent to paths should not be used as a trellis because plants grown on them will spill into pathways.
  • Hoses may only remain attached if a splitter is used, making additional spigots available for others.
  • Gardeners must remain nearby while watering unless an irrigation timer is in use. The CGAU is not responsible for maintaining irrigation timers. Members using timers are encouraged to check them regularly.
  • If a renter chooses not to renew their plot the next year, it is the renter’s responsibility to notify the garden manager. The plot must be cleared of vegetation and any non-organic material to receive a refund of the deposit.

What does "clearing" my plot entail?

“Clearing” a plot means removing large plants and weeds, garden materials, and trash. Large plants and weeds are those taller than 2 feet; smaller grasses and herbaceous plants are acceptable. Plant waste must be taken to a waste pile. Garden materials and trash should be taken from the property, donated to the garden, or put in the dumpster. Garden materials include but are not limited to tools, hoses, stakes, containers, garden art, and plant supports (trellises, cages, etc.).

What happens if I am not "in good standing"?

Renters must remain in good standing at all times during the contract period by maintaining their plot in accordance with the policies outlined on this web page. If the garden manager finds a gardener at risk of losing “good standing,” the gardener will be notified of the issue. Plots will be checked weekly and Maintenance Reminders distributed as needed. If a gardener does not address an issue within 7 days of a 3rd reminder (21 days after 1st reminder), the renter’s contract will be terminated and no refund given or deposit returned.

What if I don't want my plot anymore?

Renters will notify the garden manager if the renter no longer wishes to rent his/her plot(s). Forfeited plots are not eligible for refunds, but if the renter clears the plot and leaves the garden in good standing, they are still eligible to receive their deposit back. 

What if my contact info changes?

Renters will notify the garden manager as soon as possible of any change in renter contact information. Failure to do so could result in miscommunication of maintenance reminders and possible rental termination. 

What and when are Community Days?

Renters agree to help maintain community spaces for the benefit of the entire garden. Participation in at least one Community Day is mandatory and additional participation is encouraged. Community Day dates are listed below and on the Garden Events calendar, along with more information about events and garden news. Community Day is a way to give back to the garden, keep rental costs down, meet and learn from others, and benefit everyone in the garden.

Community Days are intended to be fun, educational, and provide time for gardeners to get to know one another. Most Community Days will be held on the 1st Saturday of every month, with some exceptions. Dates and tasks for each Community Day are subject to change and will be announced by the garden manager via email.

  • February 29, 2020 – New Gardener Orientation and first Community Day
  • April 4, 2020
  • May 2, 2020
  • June 6, 2020
  • July 11, 2020
  • August 1, 2020
  • September 19, 2020
  • October 24, 2020

Do I have to garden organically at CGAU?

The strategic plan of Auburn University includes sustainability as an important long-term goal in all aspects of campus life. While our gardeners are not limited to strictly organic practices, CGAU strongly encourages our community to consider sustainable methods in their plots. We encourage the use of organic and sustainable gardening methods, including preventative measures and treatment of diseases and pests.

What do I do about weeds?

Weeds are always an issue at the garden, particularly because they spread so easily by animals and humans walking through the garden, or birds or wind distributing seeds. If a section of a plot is not being actively gardened at any time during the contract period, uncultivated portions should be cleared of vegetation and managed to prevent unwanted growth. Options for controlling weed growth include soil solarization, heavily mulching with organic matter (grass clippings, straw, wood chips, etc.), or planting a suitable cover crop.

What do I do about pests and diseases?

Gardeners at the CGAU can expect to deal with both insect and animal pests, as well as soil borne and insect borne diseases. The garden has been actively cultivated for almost 50 years, which means that avoiding pests and diseases is nearly impossible. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System has many publications for crop information and problem solving related to pests and diseases (http://www.aces.edu/home-garden/lawn-garden/). There are also countless resources on AU’s campus, including the Plant Diagnostics lab and Extension agents who work from campus.

It is the goal of the CGAU to provide our gardeners access to the many resources available through campus. Approximately once per month, the CGAU has an Extension agent come to the garden to do insect and disease scouting. Gardeners will be given the opportunity to ask questions and receive suggestions for treating specific problems. We also have educational opportunities for gardeners during our monthly Community Days. 

How does watering work at the garden?

The CGAU provides water to all gardeners as part of the cost of plot rental. Gardeners agree to use water in a sustainable, conservative manner. This means avoiding watering between the hours of 10:00am and 4:00pm, with times varying slightly seasonally. Staff will notify gardeners of changes to these times.

Purchases and maintenance of irrigation hoses, sprinklers, timers, etc. are the sole responsibility of the renter. All spigots in the garden are shared among many plots. Hoses may only remain attached to a spigot if a splitter is used, making additional spigots available for others. Gardeners must remain nearby while watering unless an irrigation timer is in use. The CGAU is not responsible for maintaining irrigation timers. Members using timers are encouraged to check them regularly.

Do I have to bring my own tools?

Renters will use only their own personal tools or the community tools provided by the CGAU, unless specifically permitted by another renter to use their tools.

There is a communal tool cabinet located at the CGAU. All community tools must be cleaned and returned to the tool cabinet after use and the tool cabinet locked (and keys returned) before leaving. Power tools are located in the shed and are for garden staff use only. If you would like to use any of the power tools, please ask a garden crew member for assistance.

Can I bring my pets to the garden?

If bringing any animals to the CGAU, renter agrees to supervise them, pick up after them, and keep them from entering other renters’ plots. Failure to adhere to these rules may result in a pet ban for renters.

Can I bring my children to the garden?

Of course! All renters are welcome and encouraged to bring their children to the garden. As with pets, if bringing children to the CGAU, renter agrees to supervise them and keep them from entering other renters’ plots.

Can I harvest from another gardener's plot?

Unless explicitly agreed upon by both parties, renters agree not to harvest from or otherwise disturb another renter’s plot. Gardeners found guilty of theft or destruction will have their contract terminated and their deposit will not be refunded.

Who is responsible for maintaining pathways?

Each plot has a 12-inch wide perimeter that creates our 24-inch pathways throughout the garden. This perimeter of plots should be kept free of weeds and mulched with wood chips. Pathways are to remain free of personal belongings (tools, containers, bags, etc.). Any garden equipment left in the designated pathways will be removed and placed near the shed. Gardeners must maintain plants within their plot. The CGAU staff reserves the right to trim or remove any growth spilling into pathways and impeding the flow of traffic. Gardeners may put up a fence perimeter around their plot, as long as it is maintained within their designated space and a 12-inch border is left to create the pathway. Note that any structure directly adjacent to paths should not be used as a trellis because plants grown on them will spill into pathways.

Renewing renters in good standing agree to have read this web page and submit payment annually between January 1 and February 1. Failure to do so will result in loss of the plot and the renter will be considered a new renter.

New renters must attend an orientation session prior paying the rental fee and receiving their plot assignment. Orientation will be Saturday, February 29, 2020 at 9 am. Additional orientation sessions will be scheduled with members joining later as needed.

Plot Rental Agreement Summary

The Community Garden at Auburn University (CGAU) agrees to rent an assigned plot(s) to the individual listed for the period of March 1, 2020 through February 13, 2021. Renter agrees to submit payment prior to taking possession of plot(s).

  • The renter agrees to the policies outlined on this web page.
  • The Advisory Committee of the CGAU and its designated staff will be responsible for plot boundaries, plot assignments, and rent collection.
  • The CGAU agrees to provide and maintain water lines with easy access for all plots. CGAU will maintain communication with renters including scheduling Community Day dates and any changes or proposed changes to policies.
  • All renters must remain “in good standing,” which we define as adhering to all policy agreements listed on this web page. CGAU staff will contact renters if they are in danger of losing good standing and give adequate time to remedy any problem. However, the CGAU reserves the right to terminate a rental if the renter is not adhering to the rental terms as outlined on this web page.

By clicking the below link(s) and submitting your payment, you agree to have read all the policies and information on this web page and agree to abide by the rules and policies of the Community Garden at Auburn University as a plot renter in 2020.

As a condition of use for the Community Garden at Auburn University, I agree to comply with the Standards of Gardening at CGAU.  I understand that if I fail to comply with the Standards, or if I engage in any conduct which Auburn determines to be hazardous to the Community Garden, I may be prohibited from accessing my assigned plot and forfeit any right I have to my crops without cost to the university.  Additionally, in consideration for access and participation in the Community Garden, the I agree to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless Auburn University, its Board of Trustees, Trustees individually, Administrators, Faculty, Staff, and Agents, from and against any and all claims, loss, damage or liability resulting from my acts, and any acts  of my invitees, or guests, or which arise out of or relate to our use of the Community Garden. This indemnity shall apply whether the same is caused by or arises out of the joint, concurrent, or contributory negligence of any person or entity. The foregoing indemnity shall include, but not be limited to, court costs, attorney’s fees, costs of investigation, costs of defense, settlements, and judgments associated with such demands, claims, suits or actions.

Last modified: February 27, 2020