Last Updated: 2010-10-08

CITY OF RICHMOND

RICHMOND GROWS GARDENS

RULES AND GUIDELINES

2/2/11

Overview

The City of Richmond recognizes the value of urban agriculture and establishes this Community Garden Program hereinafter called Richmond Grows Gardens to promote the development of community gardens throughout the city. Community gardens build and strengthen the community, provide economic benefits, increase social equity and promote environmental stewardship. By providing access to affordable, nutritional foods, community gardening is among the most practical approaches to preventing and reducing obesity and associated diseases. Under the City's program, community gardens will be created and maintained by Garden Groups and citizens. This will help the City decrease its operation and maintenance costs. Turning vacant lots into attractive gardens can also help neighborhoods more effectively attract and retain residents and businesses.

Urban agriculture improves the quality of life for urban residents by creating green spaces and enhancing the connections between garden participants. Community gardens can also provide environmental benefits including managing storm-water runoff by capturing and filtering water in the urban environment.

Richmond Grows Gardens Program

Under the leadership of Mayor Dwight C. Jones, the City Administration seeks to encourage community gardens by offering city property to non-profit organizations, civic associations, community groups, and other eligible entities to be developed into community gardens. Groups are encouraged to engage with individual gardeners by creating their own policies to rent individual plots or otherwise let individuals use the parcel. All Garden Groups and the individual gardeners within them must follow the City's Richmond Grows Gardens Rules and Guidelines.

The City Administration created a part-time Richmond Grows Gardens Coordinator position to oversee Richmond Grows Gardens. There is also a Richmond Grows Gardens Committee. The committee is comprised of city personnel from the following departments: Economic and Community Development, Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities, Planning and Development Review, Public Works, and Public Utilities. The Committee created the Rules and Guidelines and develops and recommends policies and standards for community and commercial gardens.

The goals of Richmond Grows Gardens are as follows:

  • To support the sustainability goals for the City of Richmond: an improved quality of life for residents, a healthy environment and enhanced economic development and job creation opportunities;
  • To create an understanding of the value of community gardens and the need for community gardens in the City of Richmond;
  • To encourage and facilitate local urban agriculture and to increase access to fresh, nutritional food for residents and particularly those in underserved communities; and
  • To turn vacant and underutilized city parcels into productive gardens.

Subject to available resources, the city will support Richmond Grows Gardens in the following manner:

  • Provide a Richmond Grows Gardens Coordinator to act as a resource for groups working with the Richmond Grows Gardens Program;
  • Offer eligible city-owned parcels for use as community gardens;
  • Maintain a webpage to provide information about Richmond Grows Gardens;
  • Maintain a list of resources for Richmond Grows Gardens participants on the webpage; and
  • Help raise awareness of community gardening through the webpage.

Definitions

City property means city-owned real estate or any portion thereof that may be used as a Community Garden, as designated by resolution of the city council.

Commercial Garden means city property leased from the City of Richmond and used by the lessee to grow fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs, wood products, or native or ornamental plants to exchange for monetary value off-site.

Community Garden means city property used to grow fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs, wood products or native or ornamental plants for non-commercial purposes, in which there is no exchange of goods for monetary value.

Community Garden Coordinator means a city employee appointed by the chief administrative officer to manage the Richmond Grows Gardens Program.

Garden Group means (i) a legal entity, except an individual, registered and in good standing with the Commonwealth of Virginia State Corporation Commission, (ii) an unincorporated association or (iii) a governmental organization that holds a permit issued in accordance with City Code sec. 26-491, et. seq.

Richmond Grows Gardens Requirements

Participants must follow these requirements:

  1. Must agree to comply with the Richmond Grows Gardens Rules and Guidelines for the duration of the use of the garden.
  2. Must agree to the terms of the City of Richmond's Release, Waiver of Liability, and Indemnification Agreement.
  3. Community gardeners must be residents of the City of Richmond. If you move from the city, then you must return your plot to your Garden Coordinator at the end of the growing season. Volunteers who participate in Richmond Grows Gardens may be non-residents.
  4. Garden Groups and commercial gardeners are limited to one parcel.
  5. Community gardeners are limited to one garden plot per household.

Richmond Grows Gardens Rules

The following rules are established to govern the Richmond Grows Gardens Program, ensure that the plots are maintained and that the City of Richmond policies and laws of the City of Richmond and Commonwealth of Virginia are followed.

The rules are subject to change. The rules and all changes to the rules will be posted on the Richmond Grows Gardens webpage on www.richmondgov.com.

General Rules:

  1. Applicants for a Commercial Garden should complete the designated application. The Richmond Grows Gardens Coordinator will review the application and refer applicants to the appropriate contact in the Economic and Community Development Department in order to negotiate a lease for a Commercial Garden. The lease will require approval by City Council.
  2. The City will offer a parcel for use as a Community Garden to an approved Garden Group through the issuance of a permit revocable and terminable at will for any reason, upon due notice, by either the City or the Garden Group, for the annual use of city property for a period not to exceed 12 months from the date of any such issuance.
  3. The application for the permit must be filed by an individual authorized by the Garden Group to request a permit for the use of city property as a community garden. Such authorization, supporting the application for a permit and designating the authorized representative, shall be demonstrated in the manner in which the bylaws, applicable laws, rules, or regulations of such organization may require for official actions of the organization.
  4. Garden Groups will pay the City a non-refundable fee of $50.00 for the first year. This fee covers administrative costs from January 1 through December 31 of the calendar year. The Garden Group will pay a non-refundable annual renewal fee of $25. This fee covers administrative costs from January 1 through December 31 of the calendar year.
  5. The City will accept new applications for a parcel on a first come, first served basis until March 30 of each calendar year for that year, except that applications for the first year of the program (2011) will be accepted until May 31.
  6. The City will accept renewal applications from Garden Groups until November 30 of each calendar year for the next year. If a Group does not submit its renewal application and fee by the deadline then its parcel may be reassigned.
  7. Garden Groups from the previous season in good standing will have first preference and may choose either the same parcel or a vacant parcel if one exists.
  8. For each initial application and each renewal application, Garden Groups will be required to provide proof of insurance in the amount of $250,000 naming the City as an additional insured and indemnify the City against any individual claimant, regardless of whether or not that individual is affiliated with the Group. Government organizations may provide proof of self-insurance in the amount of $250,000 in lieu of the insurance requirement. The indemnification requirement shall not apply to government organizations.
  9. All individuals participating in a community garden will be required to complete a Release, Waiver of Liability, and Indemnification Agreement. Individual waivers are required within seven calendar days of an individual agreeing to participate in the Richmond Grows Gardens Program. Failure to send Individual Waivers will result in the Garden Group being solely responsible for the defense of and compensation for any and all personal injuries and/or property damage sustained as a result of an individual's participation in the Richmond Grows Gardens Program.
  10. Garden Groups will be required to demonstrate that they adequately informed the neighborhood of its plans to create a Community Garden by notifying all residents within a 150 ft. radius of the proposed community garden site. The organization applying for a permit shall demonstrate support for its application by any of the following methods:
    1. a letter of support from the active community or neighborhood association located nearest to the proposed garden site;
    2. a letter of support from the City Council person whose district contains the proposed garden site; or
    3. a petition of support with signatures from a majority of neighborhood residents who reside in close proximity to the proposed garden site.
  11. A Garden Group must designate a Coordinator to be responsible for its Community Garden and to serve as the Garden Group's primary contact with the city's Richmond Grows Gardens Coordinator.
  12. If a Garden Group chooses to divide a parcel into individual plots, then it must create an application process to offer individual plots to any member of the Group or resident of the neighborhood on an annual basis subject to renewal and under the following conditions:
    1. Garden plot requests will be processed on a first come, first served basis. A waiting list will be maintained for applicants for whom no plot is available.
    2. Garden Groups may charge a fee for each plot to help offset the normal operating costs of the garden. The fee shall not exceed the amount necessary to cover the normal operating costs of the garden including annual insurance, watering, maintenance, and improvement costs of the parcel, or $50 per plot, whichever is greater. Records of fees and expenses shall be kept and forwarded to the Richmond Grows Gardens Coordinator to ensure proper use of fees.
    3. Garden Groups must implement a process to provide a minimum of 10% of available plots (1 of every 10 plots or a minimum of one plot per parcel if fewer than 10 plots exist) to residents that cannot afford the fee charged by the Garden Group. This will help support the city's goal of encouraging and facilitating access to fresh, nutritional food for residents and particularly those in underserved communities. Examples include:
      1. A resident who cannot afford a plot may volunteer a pre-determined number of hours ($19/hr. is the standard value for an hour of volunteer service) to help with general maintenance of the parcel in exchange for a plot
      2. The Garden Group may create a fund to provide parcels for residents at certain income levels.
      3. If no eligible residents request a plot for the reduced fee then the city encourages the Garden Group to use the 10% allocation to grow produce for the benefit of the community or donation to the local food bank.
    4. If applicants do not return their applications and fees by January 15 of each year their parcels may be assigned to applicants on the waiting list.
    5. Applicants from the previous season will have first preference and may choose either the same plot or a vacant plot if one exists
    6. Once an applicant is approved, they must sign an agreement with the Garden Group. The Agreement must contain at a minimum, the Richmond Grows Gardens Rules and Guidelines and any other documents that the city of Richmond requires.
  13. No produce or any other items grown in a community garden may be exchanged for goods for monetary value, i.e. sold.
  14. Commercial and community gardeners are prohibited from using the "City of Richmond" name in any context without prior written permission from the Richmond Grows Gardens Coordinator. The City may promote the Richmond Grows Gardens Program in any manner allowed by law.
  15. No one under the age of eighteen (18) years shall be on Community Garden property without adult supervision.
  16. Plants regulated or prohibited by federal and state laws are prohibited in gardens. If any such plants are found, the permit for the parcel will be immediately revoked.
  17. The Garden Group must remove all structures, fencing and materials from its parcel when it vacates the parcel unless the Richmond Grows Gardens Coordinator permits otherwise.
  18. If gardeners abandon their plot for any reason they must notify their Garden Group Coordinator via e-mail. Garden plots cannot be passed onto family members, friends, or housemates. Gardeners must notify their Garden Group Coordinator if someone else will tend their plot in their absence.
  19. All garden activities must take place between dawn to dusk, i.e. daylight hours only.
  20. Any building materials delivered to a garden site must be used or removed within 14 days.
  21. No pets, animals or livestock are allowed on any Community Garden. Livestock or animals may only be allowed on a Commercial Garden if permitted under applicable City Code provisions and the terms of the lease.
  22. No alcohol, drugs or illegal substances are allowed on City Property and any use will result in immediate revocation of the permit.
  23. All gardeners are prohibited from baiting, trapping or transporting animals on City Property.
  24. Stealing of any kind is not allowed and will result in immediate loss of gardening privileges and forfeiture of garden plot.
  25. Theft or other illegal activities should be reported to the Richmond Police Department by calling the non-emergency number 804.646.5100.
  26. The Richmond Grows Gardens Coordinator will check all parcels on a periodic basis to ensure compliance with the Rules and Guidelines.

Maintenance Rules:

  1. The Garden Group Coordinator or commercial gardener responsible for the Commercial Garden must call the city's Richmond Grows Gardens Coordinator to schedule Miss Utility to have the entire parcel marked for utilities before anyone can begin any digging, erection of fence posts or any excavation for the first time on any parcel. Once the parcel has been marked for utilities then the Richmond Grows Gardens Coordinator will confer with the Garden Group Coordinator or commercial gardener to determine appropriate areas for gardening.
  2. Garden Groups and commercial gardeners are responsible for maintaining the entire parcel in good condition Maintenance is defined as: regular mowing of parcel, attention to encroaching Bermuda grass and other weeds and grasses within your plot and 2' of bordering pathways. Regular harvesting and removal of dead/dying plants and rotting vegetables. If you are letting a plant go to seed in order to collect the seeds, please indicate by placing a bag over the fruit or plant. This will keep those seeds from spreading and will notify the Garden Coordinator you are collecting seeds. Individual gardeners must maintain the areas immediately surrounding their plot.
  3. It is illegal to cut down or remove any trees on city property.
  4. Gardeners must maintain their plot throughout the growing season with active planting, harvesting and weeding. Weed control must follow the Richmond Grows Gardens Rules and Guidelines.
  5. Year round gardening is encouraged. Plots should be prepared for planting no later than May 1. Plots should be cleaned-up no later than December 1. If gardeners don't have something planted in their garden by May 1 and keep it planted all summer long then their plot will be given to the next person on the waiting list. If gardeners do not maintain their plots then gardeners may be declined renewal for the following year.
  6. All gardening activities on all parcels must be contained within the plot boundaries established by the Richmond Grows Gardens Coordinator.
  7. Diseased and pest-ridden plants must be removed from the site or placed in the trash bin to prevent spreading.
  8. Gardeners must keep all organic gardening debris, non-organic debris, trash and litter cleaned from their plot, as well as from adjacent pathways and fences. DO NOT dump plants or trash anywhere outside your plot. It is illegal to dump on City Property any illegal dumping will result in the immediate revocation of the permit.
  9. Gardeners must remove all tools, implements, hoses, plant pots, non-organic debris, refuse and garbage when they leave the garden. Any tools or equipment left are done so at the gardener's own risk. Hoses must be neatly rolled up and stored after each use.
  10. Gardeners shall use only organic fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides, and use them in such a way as not to affect other plots. No genetically modified seed allowed.
  11. Gardeners may use non-permanent structures such as sheds with non-permanent foundations, fences, raised beds, trellises, and deck box containers. Gardeners must maintain any structures in good repair. No chipped paint on structures is allowed.
  12. The building and maintenance of fences and other structures must adhere to building code requirements where applicable and the Richmond Grows Gardens Rules and Guidelines. The Richmond Grows Gardens Coordinator will confirm proof of compliance with applicable building code requirements.
  13. Mulches such as gravel, stone, pavement, carpet and artificial turf are prohibited.
  14. Plant heights must adhere to the Richmond Grows Gardens Rules and Guidelines. Gardeners shall not plant crops or build structures that shade or interfere with another plot.
  15. Gardeners shall pick only their own crops unless given permission by another plot owner.
  16. Gardeners should not block garden paths, aisle ways or public access areas with equipment, structures, debris or vehicles.

Children in the Garden:

We encourage family members of all ages to participate and enjoy the Richmond Grows Gardens Program. However, out of the need for safety and respect for all, please follow these important rules:

  1. No one under the age of eighteen (18) years shall be on Community Garden property without adult supervision.
  2. Parents are responsible for the constant supervision of their child/children at all times.
  3. Children's feet need to remain on the ground while in the garden and surrounding areas. There is to be no climbing on fences, water tanks, seating, or other structures.
  4. Children are not allowed in tool sheds unless supervised by an adult.
  5. Full size tools are for adult use only. Please bring children's tools from home.
  6. Rocks must remain on the ground. Throwing rocks is a very serious safety hazard for everyone in the garden-not only can they injure people that they hit, but they can also be hazards for those mowing grass. Rocks that are found while working in the garden may be placed (gently) in appropriate areas by an adult.
  7. Children should not be in another gardener's area without the permission/presence of that gardener.

Remember, we are not a playground so please bring appropriate entertainment and supervision for those children who need it. Parents will be held responsible for their children's behaviors in the garden and surrounding areas. Violations of these rules could lead to expulsion from the garden.

1. A. Fencing for City parcels:

Fences up to 6 feet tall are permitted, but not required. The gardener supplies the materials and labor.

  1. Any fencing must meet yard (setback) requirements of the zoning district in which it is located. The Garden Group or gardener must obtain any necessary city approval for placement and/or construction of any fencing.
  2. The maximum fence height is 6 feet. Posts and gates may extend up to 8 feet in height.
  3. Chain link fencing is discouraged. Permitted fencing materials are wood, a combination of wood and mesh or metal welded wire and u post fencing where no more than 50% of fence section is opaque. Ex. If you're using 4" boards you need 4" gaps between each 4" board.
  4. Fence posts shall be composed of pressure treated lumber and may be up to 8 feet tall and up to 4 inches wide. Gate posts may be up to 8 inches wide. Posts must be placed deep enough into the soil to securely anchor the post. Concrete may only be used at gateposts, corners, terminus points and otherwise as needed.
  5. For safety reasons, all posts 48" or shorter must have an appropriate cap or be covered Alternate fencing materials will be reviewed by the Richmond Grows Gardens Committee on a case by case basis.
  6. Any structure (including but not limited to fences, wall, and sheds) visible from the public right of way in a City Old & Historic District requires approval from the Commission of Architectural Review.

1. B. Fencing for parcels in city parks and on city library property:

  1. Any fencing must meet yard (setback) requirements of the zoning district in which it is located. The Garden Group or gardener must obtain any necessary city approval for placement and/or construction of any fencing.
  2. Wooden slat fencing is required around community gardens on park property.
  3. Acceptable materials for construction are pressure treated 4 x4 posts, 6 x6 gate posts 2 x 4 railings attached with wood screws or nail gun.
  4. Rails are to run parallel to the ground with a minimum of 4 rails in height with gaps between railings to be either 4 inches or less or at least 9 ½ inches apart.
  5. Total height of the railing portion of fence is not to exceed 4 feet. Recommended height of fence is 42 inches using a 5 rail system of installation.
  6. To discuss the type of structure or other requirements for parcels in city parks: Gardeners should contact Mary Lois Mitchum, Parks Operations Manager, mary.lois.mitchum@richmondgov.com or (808) 646-0199.
  7. To discuss the type of structure or other requirements for parcels on city library property: Gardeners should contact Alvin Anderson, Assistant Director for Internal Operations, alvin.anderson@richmondgov.com, or (804) 646- 4257.
  8. Any structure (including but not limited to fences, wall, and sheds) visible from the public right of way in a City Old & Historic District requires approval from the Commission of Architectural Review.

2. A. Improvements and structures for city parcels:

  1. Any building must meet yard (setback) requirements of the zoning district in which it is located. The Garden Group or gardener must obtain any necessary city approval for placement and/or construction of any improvement(s).
  2. The gardener supplies the materials and labor for all structures.
  3. Storage structures are permitted with a maximum square footage less than 150 sq. ft. Improvements and structures must be temporary in nature and may not have a permanent foundation. Height is limited to 12 ft.
  4. Structures must sit on durable low maintenance temporary foundation materials. Structures must be sturdy and lockable and include exterior grade building materials such as: hardi-plank, cedar, exterior grade painted plywood, etc.
  5. Any structure (including but not limited to fences, wall, and sheds) visible from the public right of way in a City Old & Historic District requires approval from the Commission of Architectural Review.

2. B. Improvements and structures for parcels in city parks and on city library property:

  1. Any building must meet yard (setback) requirements of the zoning district in which it is located. The Garden Group or gardener must obtain any necessary city approval for placement and/or construction of any improvement(s).
  2. The type of structure allowed on park property will be determined based on the location of the community garden but can not exceed 150 sq. ft. in size.
  3. The type and height permissible will be determined on a case by case basis to allow for aesthetic considerations for the park system.
  4. To discuss the type of structure or other requirements for parcels in city parks: Gardeners should contact Mary Lois Mitchum, Parks Operations Manager, mary.lois.mitchum@richmondgov.com or (808) 646-0199.
  5. To discuss the type of structure or other requirements for parcels on city library property: Gardeners should contact Alvin Anderson, Assistant Director for Internal Operations, alvin.anderson@richmondgov.com, or (804) 646- 4257.
  6. Any structure (including but not limited to fences, wall, and sheds) visible from the public right of way in a City Old & Historic District requires approval from the Commission of Architectural Review.

3. Signage for city parcels:

  1. As a means of promoting the Richmond Grows Gardens Program, the City of Richmond provides signs for each community garden.
  2. Any structure (including but not limited to fences, wall, and sheds) visible from the public right of way in a City Old & Historic District requires approval from the Commission of Architectural Review.

4. Compost Bins

Composting plant materials within the plot is an excellent way to reduce trash and conserve nutrients. However, do not compost food scraps (such as meat, oils, or fat), as this attracts animals.

  1. Compost bins should be located to the rear of the garden parcel.
  2. Avoid locating bins near pedestrian pathways and adjacent property lines.

5. Soil Condition

  1. All parcels have been researched, assessed and/or tested by the City of Richmond before being offered for use as a garden site.
  2. The Garden Group or commercial gardener will be notified if the parcel's soil condition requires the use of raised beds or containers.

6. Raised Beds and Containers

  1. Gardeners may use raised beds and containers in gardens at any time. Non-treated wood is required for the edging on raised beds. Any other material will be reviewed on a case by case basis by the Richmond Grows Gardens Committee. No treated wood or other harmful materials may be used for containers.
  2. If the soil condition requires the use of raised beds or containers then the following steps must be followed:
    1. Place weed barrier, geo-technical fabric, thick gauge plastic, or 3" of mulch over entire parcel to surround raised beds and cover ground under raised beds to ensure that existing soil does not come in contact with plants or clean soil being used for gardens.
    2. Use untreated lumber at least 6" high for raised beds (we recommend a 4" x 8" ft frame, made of untreated 2 x 6" lumber, with a 4" square piece in the corners)
    3. Use 4-6" of imported clean soil in raised beds or clean soil in containers

7. Making Good Plant Choices

Gardeners may grow a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers. Choosing from among the wide range of plants for the garden is challenging and fun. The guidelines below will help you make good choices. Talk to your gardening neighbors to share ideas for good plant choices for success.

  1. Perennials such as asparagus, rhubarb, and many desirable flowers are permitted. Divide them as needed to manage their size. Take them with you when you leave the Richmond Grows Gardens Program.
  2. Herbaceous vines are permitted when grown on a non-permanent structure, such as a trellis, contained within individual garden plots.
  3. Plants on the Virginia Invasive Plant List are prohibited: www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/documents/invlist.pdf. Many of these are weeds in areas surrounding the garden plots. Please control them as much as possible.
  4. Some desirable plants can be weedy, such as raspberries, blackberries, mint, morning glories, and fennel. Please keep these plants one foot or more away from plot boundaries. Grow plants like mint in pots to contain them. Remove and compost seed heads before the seeds ripen. Take the plants with you when you leave the program.
  5. Gardeners may plant a fall crop or cover crop after the summer season.

8. Mulch

Using mulch in your garden plot has many benefits. As organic mulches break down, they add valuable nutrients to your soil. You will need less fertilizer. They also help conserve water.

  1. Organic mulches, such as compost, leaves, straw, and shredded bark are highly recommended to conserve water and add nutrients to the soil.
  2. Non-biodegradable mulches, such as stone, carpet and artificial turf, are prohibited.
  3. Fresh manure is prohibited as it may contain weed seeds, smells bad, and may have sanitary issues that could affect neighboring plots. Composted manure is permitted.

9. Watering

Gardeners are encouraged to use rain barrels for their garden sites. Please refer to the "Watering Your Garden" document and this website: http://www.longwood.edu/CLEANVA/rainbarrels.htm for more information on purchasing, installing and maintaining rain barrels.

Other options for water are available and these are explained in the "Watering Your Garden" section. We recommend using water conservation methods such as mulching and selecting plants that use less water. Earth-friendly and low-water gardening methods are also encouraged.

  1. All hoses must be stored in areas that do not present a safety problem to other gardeners or if applicable, to personnel that maintain the common areas. City personnel, including but not limited to mowing crews, are not responsible for damage to hoses.
  2. All gardeners should have a Y-splitter to attach to the main faucet while they are watering their plot. This will enable another gardener to water simultaneously.
  3. Hoses may not be hung on other gardeners' fences without their permission.
  4. All gardeners should be considerate when using the water. If someone is waiting to water, please limit your time to 15 minutes.
  5. Fix leaky hoses and leaky connections so water is not wasted or causes a problem with soggy spots in other plots or common areas. Please report water faucet problems to the Richmond Grows Gardens Coordinator.
  6. Standing water or excessively wet spots are breeding grounds for mosquitoes, which are a health hazard. Empty all containers and store them upside down.

10. Managing Pests

There are many potential pests in the garden, such as weeds, insects, fungi, small mammals, etc. Most can be controlled using good gardening practices. We ask all gardeners to try these actions first. Remember the garden plot community is like a crowded neighborhood. Your actions can affect everyone. Commercial pesticides are prohibited within City of Richmond Community Garden Plots. Please use the following tips to manage pests without the use of pesticides:

  1. Choose plant varieties that are appropriate for our area and are resistant to pests.
  2. Keep plants healthy by using compost for fertilizer and mulches to retain water. Overwatering can cause diseases to increase.
  3. Remove insects by hand, such as caterpillars and beetles.
  4. Clean up dead and diseased plants immediately.
  5. Get ideas from the Richmond Grows Gardens Coordinator, your fellow gardeners, bulletin boards, books and magazines, and the Internet to help you resolve your pest problems safely.
  6. Small mammals, such as mice, voles, rabbits, squirrels and groundhogs can be a problem. Barrier methods, such as fencing below the soil line and netting, may help protect your crops.

11. Plot Condition

  1. All parcels and plots are rented in their existing condition.
  2. It is the responsibility of the new gardener to clear the plot and prepare it for planting.
  3. Row covers are permitted. Please anchor them to prevent blowing away, and store them when not in use.
  4. All gardeners must comply with the Richmond Grows Gardens Rules and Guidelines.

Richmond Grows Gardens: Community and Commercial Garden Watering Guide

WATERING YOUR GARDEN

In deciding which option to choose for watering your garden please consider:

  • The amount of water needed each month
  • If you're working with a community garden, the number of plots to water in your community garden

OPTION ONE: RAIN BARREL or CISTERN - Rain barrel (assembly needed - $60 and up; assembled - $200 and up) or Cistern - $1,500 and up
Cisterns and rain barrels are storage tanks that capture runoffs water from a catchment area such as a rooftop. Cisterns are essentially large-scale rain barrels.

  • Design Considerations
    • Roof available on site
    • Water demand
    • Rainfall pat
    • How much rain could be captured - for example during a 1-inch rain event a 1,200 square foot roof would collect more than 700 gallons.
    • Storage capacity - typically a 55-gallon food quality plastic drum, multiple rain barrels can be used at each downspout
    • Sit rain barrel under downspout
    • Overflow device
    • First flush bypass
  • During drought - call a transport company specializing in water delivery and pay for a water truck company to deliver water to site to fill barrel or cistern. (The City of Richmond, Dept. of Public Utilities or Public Works does not offer this service.)

NOTE: Benefits reduce use of potable water for irrigation and on site reuse of rain water reduces quantity of stormwater runoff.

OPTION TWO: PORTABLE WATER METER - $535 and up ($500 Refundable deposit, $35 water establishment fee, monthly meter service charge for 1 ½" meter (currently $64.54/mth); cost of water used per month; applicant to bring in meter for monthly reading and pays monthly billing)

  • From a public fire hydrant
    • Request and pay for a Portable Water Meter Permit through DPU Technical Services Division located at 400 Jefferson Davis Highway (646-3000)
    • DPU will issue the portable water meter and hydrant key
    • Applicant has to purchase a Reduced Pressure Zone (RPZ) backflow preventer (from $20 to $50 at the applicant's cost) and install on the portable water meter
    • Applicant will install the portable water meter with the RPZ device on the public fire hydrant. The DPU Cross Connection Specialist will inspect the backflow device installation.
    • Applicant can then attach a garden hose ($20 at the applicant's cost) to water plants
    • Applicant to bring in meter to Commercial Meter Shop at 400 Jefferson Davis Highway (646-8460) to be read by the 2nd business day of the month. Failure to do so will result in a late penalty charge of $20.00/day until meter is brought in.
    • Applicant to bring in meter to Commercial Meter Shop to be tested quarterly (every 3 months) by 4th business day of the applicable month. Failure to do so is a violation and may result in retrieval of the meter.

NOTE: The Applicant, at their own discretion can share the use of the portable water meter with other plot owners. Preference is to issue one portable meter per group of plots.

OPTION THREE: EXISTING WATER SERVICE AT PROPERTY (Water Meter in service)

  • Applicant shall receive written permission from property owner/person listed on monthly billings to use water supply on site and describe any billing arrangements in written approval.
  • Installation of a sub-meter is optional for property owner if they want to bear the monthly cost of the water use.
    WATER FAUCET
    • Hook up a hose connection from faucet to plot
    NO FAUCET AVAILABLE
    • Applicant shall receive written permission to (1)Tap existing water service on property and (2) extend pipe and install a faucet
    • The applicant shall be required to obtain a Plumbing Permit from Planning and Development Review, 900 E. Broad St., Rm 110 (646-6310), for all plumbing work on-site including installation of the RPZ backflow preventer.

Note: Private FIRE HYDRANT is not approved for domestic water usage.

OPITION FOUR: EXISTING WATER SERVICE AT PROPERTY (No water meter installed) - $35 water meter reset and $2,000 plumbing work

  • Determine location and size of pipe on property
  • Written approval from property owner to request a water meter reset in an existing water meter box where the lateral is in good working condition
  • Request a 5/8" water meter reset in applicant's name from DPU Development Office located in Room 115 of City Hall (900 E. Broad St, 646-3000).
  • Obtain a Plumbing Permit from Planning and Development Review, 900 E. Broad St., Rm 110 (646-6310), to tap the main on property, install a RPZ backflow preventer, pipe and faucet(s).
  • Install the facilities on property
  • The Cross Connection Specialist will inspect the backflow device and approve the meter reset.

OPTION FIVE: NEW WATER SERVICE - Water Service Permit (currently $4,450 (5/8" water service), plus Plumber Cost - $2,000 and above (would include cost of plumbing permit. A plumbing drawing from the applicant is required)

  • Apply for a Water Service Permit - new water service installation from an existing water main parallel to the property. If there is not an existing water main running parallel to the property, the applicant is responsible for paying for water main extension to the property.
    • Apply and pay for a Water Service Permit through DPU Development Office located in Room 115 of City Hall (900 E. Broad St).
    • DPU would install the water service from the water main in the street to the property line.
    • Applicant to hire a plumber
      • to draw a plan for the plumbing work needed on site (extend a pipe from the water meter to a spigot and install a backflow preventer within 25-feet of the water meter on property),
      • apply for a Plumbing Permit, and
      • install the plumbing work on property.
    • DPU would inspect the backflow preventer that protects the public drinking water system and approve setting the water meter for water service.

IN ACCORDANCE WITH CITY CODE, THE CITY WILL NOT WAIVE ANY PERMIT FEE OR INSTALLATION COST FOR GARDEN GROUP OR COMMERCIAL GARDEN APPLICANTS.

Contact Information:

Community Gardens
City of Richmond
900 E. Broad St., Suite 600
Richmond, VA
23219 USA
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Hours: Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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