Kitchen Garden Rules

Roots and Wings Community Garden at South Presbyterian Church Rules and Regulations

  • To grow food and grow connections.
  • To reconnect with the earth.
  • To learn by doing and from each other.
  • To share tools, know-how, compost bins, veggies, and laughs.
Hours of Operation and Parking
  • Gardening is permitted from dawn to dusk.
  • Group gardening takes place on Saturdays from 10 AM to noon. We encourage you to make an effort to attend as many of these sessions as possible to contribute to, and benefit from, collective learning and support.
  • To avoid letting animals in, please be sure to close the gate behind you whenever you enter or leave the garden.
  • Parking is not allowed in the church parking lot during worship or when events are occurring at the church. Usually, parking is permitted in the church lot after 3 PM. Street parking is available. Please do not park in the circle near the nursery school door.
  • No overnight parking allowed on premises
  • Please do not block garden paths with vehicles, equipment or debris. Supervise children at all times.
  • Dogs are not allowed in the Garden.
  • No alcohol is permitted. The Garden is a smoke-free environment. 
Organic Gardening Methods
  • The Roots and Wings Community Garden is an organic garden. Chemical pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers may not be used.
  • There will be instruction on organic methods for pest control during the garden season.
Communal Garden Area
  • The Roots and Wings Community Garden is a cooperative garden. Approximately 50% of the growing area is a communal garden run mostly by gardening volunteers.
  • Gardening volunteers will decide what to plant where in communal areas and will decide how the produce from this area will be divided.
  • Gardening volunteers will be encouraged to give part of their produce to the South Presbyterian Church Food Pantry.
Family Plots
  • There will be 6 individual plots assigned to families. Most gardening tools and plants will be provided by Roots and Wings.
  • Gardeners with individual family plots will be asked to contribute $30 at the beginning of the gardening season. This contribution will be used to defray cost of materials (organic soil, fertilizers and plantings, tools, soil tests, etc.). These gardeners will dispose of their harvest however they please.
  • Harvest from these plots belongs to the assigned family. Please do not pick vegetables in another family’s plot, walk in it, or harm plantings in another plot.
  • The individual family plots and the community garden area should be weeded and kept neat. The walkway next to a family’s plot is the family’s responsibility. It must be kept free of debris. Containers or other items cannot be placed permanently on the walkway. If your plants grow over excessively onto the walkway, prune or tie them back. Plants growing over the walkway may be trimmed by Roots & Wings to allow the lawn mower to cut the grass.
  • Gardeners who are not able to maintain their commitment due to temporary causes (such as illness or travel) must notify the Roots & Wings liaison.
  • If we have not received notice of your circumstances, and we observe your plot is overgrown or has had no activity for an extended time, we will send you an email requesting that you return the plot to good order. If we do not hear from you, we may re- assign the plot or collect harvest for the Food Pantry or other gardeners.
  • You may store tools (with your name clearly marked) in the designated toolbox within the garden at your own risk. 
General Rules & Responsibilities
  • Garden updates and requests for help are communicated via weekly emails. Please make sure to check them out for important announcements, warnings, or help requests. If in doubt, you can always contact Iris at
  • All gardeners (volunteers and those with family plots) are expected to share in the tasks of watering and keeping the surrounding pathways weeded and well tended. Occasionally, larger-scale work is necessary, such as installing or repairing raised beds, replenishing soil, etc. All gardeners are expected to help with these tasks.
  • If you are new to gardening, ask a more experienced gardener for help when uncertain of the appropriate step.
  • If ripe produce is not being collected, we may harvest and donate to the Food Pantry.
  • There is an irrigation system. More to come on that. 
Compost and Trash
  • Plants and weeds may be placed in the designated compost area or compost bins. PLEASE do not place diseased plants in the compost area—put them in a plastic bag and dispose separately or take them home.
  • The Roots & Wings Community garden is a carry in, carry out enterprise. You must bag your trash and take it with you. DO NOT dispose of trash on the garden property or thereabouts. 
Putting the Garden to Bed for the Winter
  • Harvesting will be completed by all the gardeners around November 15th.
  • We will remove all annual plants, debris, stakes, plastic, tools, etc. from the garden. We may add soil amendments and/or plant cover crop in the fall.
Garden Events
  • At least one Harvest Potluck for all participating gardeners will be planned using some of the garden produce in the late summer or early fall (date and time TBA).
  • Permission must be requested from Roots & Wings to hold a private event involving more than one family. 
  • Please direct any concerns about garden rules to Iris Hiskey Arno -


Garden Safety

The Roots & Wings garden is a friendly place where there will usually be experienced gardeners on hand to offer support or advice. Garden rules require minor children to be supervised by adults. There will, however, be times when garden participants will be on their own or beyond the immediate view of experienced volunteers. We want the garden to be a safe and happy experience for everyone. For that reason, we want participants and their parents to be informed that there are certain risks inherent in working in a garden, and that these risks can be minimized by following some common sense guidelines.

The Roots & Wings garden is an organic garden. No chemicals are used or allowed. Some organic products may be used in the event of leaf mold or insect infestation. The soil in the raised beds is imported from garden suppliers. The in-ground soil has been tested and determined to be within acceptable parameters. The soil has been screened, sifted, and amended with organic nutrients. There may be some small shards of glass in the soil.

Our tools are simple garden tools: shovels, trowels, pitchforks, rakes, pruning shears, etc. Some of these, especially the pruning shears, have sharp surfaces that can cut the skin. Some tools have rough wooden handles and could cause blisters or splinters. Garden gloves are recommended. There is a limited supply of re-usable garden gloves. With pruning shears, take care to make sure that the hand not holding the shears is well away from the cutting surface of the blade. Please also be attentive to those working around you. Make sure you have solid footing and that there is an adequate distance between you and the people around you, and that all body parts are well away from the working surface of the tool.

We have seen some poison ivy around the edges of the garden, outside the fences. There is picture of this three-leaved plant tacked to the cover of the tool shed. Do not touch its leaves, because it can cause skin irritation and itching, which can be serious if you are especially sensitive to it. If you think you have been exposed, you can clean the affected area with cleansing cream and paper towels, which are kept in the tool container. Take care to isolate any clothing that has come into contact with the poison ivy.

We need you to understand and acknowledge that neither South Presbyterian Church nor Roots & Wings can be responsible for your safety in the garden. Please read the paragraphs below and sign in the space provided.

I have read the Rules for Gardeners and will abide by them. I understand my responsibilities as a member of a community of gardeners.

In consideration of the permission of South Presbyterian Church and Roots and Wings Committee to participate in the Community Garden at South Presbyterian Church in Dobbs Ferry, New York, I, ___________________________ my family members, guests, successors and assigns, (“Participant”) do hereby forever release and discharge the Roots and Wings Committee of South Presbyterian Church and South Presbyterian Church, its elected and appointed officials, employees, agents and the Roots and Wings Committee volunteers from claims and charges for any and all liability arising from participation in the Roots and Wings Community Garden at South Presbyterian Church. I hereby agree to indemnify and hold all aforementioned parties harmless from any and all costs, including attorney’s fees, for claims of liability that may be made by the participant or third parties from the participation in the Roots and Wings Community Garden at South Presbyterian Church, Dobbs Ferry, New York.

_________________________ Participant Signature

____________________________________ Participant Name 

– Printed  _________________________

Parent Signature (for minor participants)

____________________________________ Parent Name – Printed

Address: ______________________________________________________ 

E-mail: ______________________________________________

Telephone Number: ____________________________________

Date: __________________________

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