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Garden Policy

Rules and Management For Personal Garden Plots At Corinthian Gardens

Mission: Our mission is to create a garden space that builds a sense of community; provides a place of beauty for others to enjoy; brings together neighbors from throughout the community; and promotes sustainable gardening practices.

The following rules and management structure pertain to the personal garden plots within the Corinithian Gardens development sponsored by Friends of Eastern State Penitentiary Park.

1. Eligibility for and Assignment of Personal Garden Plots

You are eligible to apply for a personal garden plot if you are a member of Friends of Eastern State Penitentiary Park (FESPP). Membership in FESPP is free and is limited to residents of Fairmount, Francisville or Spring Garden neighborhoods (Spring Garden Street to Girard Avenue and Broad Street to 30th Street). You will not qualify for a personal garden plot if you are a member of any other community garden within this geographic area.

You can become a member of FESPP by providing your name, address, telephone number and, if applicable, email address by any one of three ways:

  • Email: fespp19130@gmail.com
  • U.S. Mail: FESPP, P.O. Box 56080, Philadelphia PA 19130
  • Web: Send a message with this information from the “Contacts” page at our website: http://www.fespp.com

There are no fees required to become a member of FESPP. However, fees are required if you are assigned a personal garden plot. (See Fees and Volunteer Requirements section for additional information.)

Initial Plot Assignment  

Plots were assigned in March 2014 to all eligible applicants who completed the requirements. (See Fees and Volunteer Requirements section.)

Annual Plot Assignment  

After the initial assignment of plots, applications will be processed on a first come, first served basis. Applicants for garden plots will be accepted according to plot availability.

All applicants for a renewable garden plot must meet volunteer-hour thresholds before applying. (See Fees and Volunteer Requirements section.)

New applicants can apply via the website or by mail. (See Section 1 for addresses).

Applicants may obtain a plot in one of the following ways:

  • March 2014 lottery plot assignees may renew plots annually up to three years.
  • Subsequent plot assignees may renew plots annually for up to two years.

A waiting list will be maintained for applicants for whom no plot was available. After the waitlist positions assigned from the initial lottery, waitlist members will be added to the list on a first-come first-served basis. Waitlist members are contacted via phone or email when their name reaches the top of the wait list. Waiting list members are encouraged to participate in the planting and maintenance of all shared garden areas in the park.

Each gardener must sign a copy of the plot contract annually. This will normally be done at the March meeting. Plots held by gardeners who have not signed the plot contract by April 15 will be assigned to applicants on the waiting list.

2. Fees and Volunteer Requirements

There is a $50 annual fee per plot, payable in person at the March meeting of plot assignees, or in monthly installments of $5/month for 10 months. For those 65 years of age or older qualifying for the half plots, the fee is $25.

Gardeners should not break ground until their plot assignment is confirmed and annual fee paid. Plots for which fees have not been received by April 15 will be assigned to applicants on the waiting list.

All applicants for a renewable garden plot are required to have participated in 15 hours of volunteer activities per household in the calendar year prior to applying for a garden plot and must also commit to volunteering at one or more other FESPP event.

Each household that is awarded a garden plot is required to participate in 15 hours of Corinthian Gardens volunteer activities each year the plot is held and participate as a volunteer for one or more other FESPP event between February 1 and November 15 of that calendar year.

The requirements for those 65 or older who receive a half plot are 7.5 hours and no FESPP volunteer requirement.

3. Plot Locations, ‘Households’ and ‘Helpers’

The location of each plot is specified in the plot contract and on the site map.

No household may have more than one plot. Spouses and children under 18 shall be considered a part of the household. Two households may join together to garden a single plot.

Gardeners can seek help from friends and family with respect to plot maintenance.  However, rights to a plot are non-transferable and any such “helper” cannot adopt or inherit a plot.

4. General Garden Rules

  • Children under 12 may not be in the garden without adult supervision.
  • No pets are allowed inside the fenced individual garden plot area.
  • Respect your neighbors and their plants, crops, tools, etc.  Taking of anything from a plot without permission of the owner is not permitted and will result in plot forfeiture.
  • Each gardener is responsible for trash removal in designated manner.
  • Growing or using illegal substances in the garden will lead to immediate expulsion with no return of the plot fee.

5. Plot Maintenance Rules

  • Garden activity must begin by May 1, or they will be given to the next person on the waiting list and the plot fee returned to the original applicant
  • Each gardener is responsible for cultivating, weeding, watering, clearing and end of season cleanup for his/her plot and the paths around it.
  • Gardening activity and plant growth must be restricted to the gardener’s plot.
  • Each gardener will mulch in the paths around the plot in compliance with the plot contract.
  • Gardeners are responsible for composting their own weeds and plant debris.  If a gardener chooses not to compost within the community bins, unwanted material should be taken home for disposal.  Weeds and plant debris should not be placed in the garden’s trash cans.
  • Gardens in weedy and/or uncared for condition by August 5 will be cleared or rototilled.
  • No trees or woody shrubs may be planted.
  • No poisonous or nuisance plants shall be planted.  A list of prohibited plants will be posted in the garden.  No permanent structures should be placed in or around a plot.
  • Fertilizer, pesticides or weed repellant will not be used in any way that detrimentally affects an adjacent plot.
  • For those who are physically able, use a watering can to water your plot.  Water can be obtained from the rain barrels located throughout the garden.
  • If you cannot weed and/or harvest your plot for any reason (vacation, illness, etc), please arrange for assistance and notify the Plot Assignment Committee so that your plot will remain secure.

6. Three Notice Rule

Non-compliance with these rules will lead to three warnings and then to expulsion as stated below.

  • First Notice: Phone call or email stating the problem and indicating a deadline for correction.  A gardener has 10 days from call/email to correct the problem.
  • Second Notice: Phone call or email restating the problem and indicating a deadline for correction. A gardener has 10 days from call/email to correct the problem.
  • Third Notice: Phone call or email restating the problem and indicating a deadline for correction. A gardener has 10 days from call/email to correct the problem. Continued inactivity will be viewed as abandonment of the plot and the plot will be forfeited without refund.

7. Changes in Rules and Management Structure

Sole authority to enact, abolish, alter, amend or otherwise change the Rules and Management Structure resides with the Board of Directors of Friends of Eastern State Penitentiary Park.