Community Gardens

community gardens

Growing your own food comes with a multitude of benefits – including being able to personally ensure food safety and security, saving money, the health benefits of eating the freshest food possible, the satisfaction and enjoyment of raising your own food from seed to harvest, and fostering a connection with the natural world.

The popular Community Garden program at the Horn Farm Center for Agricultural Education offers soil lovers and aspiring farmers the opportunity to grow fresh, chemical-free food on prime farmland in the company of other enthusiastic and dedicated gardeners. Each plot measures 20 x 20 feet. Seasonal garden plots are open from mid-April, weather permitting, until the end of October. Seasonal plot registration can be found here. Horn Farm offers a limited number of year-round plots for more serious gardeners who wish to manage and tend their plot through all four seasons. (Contact us for details on year-round plots).

Horn Farm Center Community Gardener Responsibilities

Chemical Free Gardening:

  • Community gardens must be managed “Chemical Free”.
  • The use of chemical herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and fertilizers is not permitted.
  • The use of organically approved herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and fertilizer products are allowed. If you are not sure if something is allowed, please check with the Education Director before use.  ( 717.332.8710.)
  • Use of unauthorized chemical products may be grounds for immediate termination from community gardens.


  • Gardeners are responsible to weed and properly manage their gardens and keep outside plot borders weeded.
  • Weeds are a valuable source of nutrients and mulch when dropped in place in your plot. If you choose to remove them, they may be placed in the composting area and are not to be thrown on the outside edges of your plots or in any other common area around the Horn Farm Center grounds.

Crop Planting:

  • Tall crops should be planted only where they will not shade neighboring plots.
  • Vining plants should be contained within the plot borders.

Storage on garden sites:

  • Lockers smaller than 2 feet high, 2 feet wide, and 6 feet long are permitted.
  • Shanties and lean-to shelters or shade stands of any kind are not permitted.

Water Usage:

  • Water is available from the faucets at the north end of the gardens and from the farm house rain barrels.
  • Only hand watering (cans or buckets) is permitted.
  • Hoses are NOT permitted.
  • Watering containers must be covered or turned upside down after use; no standing water is permitted in the garden area.
  • In the event of drought conditions, the Center reserves the right to turn off the water.

Border Fencing:

  • Temporary fencing of plots is encouraged but must fall inside the outer 6” border of the plot.
  • Wood (not metal) should be used to support border fencing and to stake plants.
  • Weeding must be done on outside edge of fencing.

Trash pick-up:

  • Trash and litter are to be cleaned from plots, adjacent pathways, and fences.
  • Take trash and litter with you and dispose of them appropriately.


  • Dogs must be leashed and in owner’s control at all times.
  • Pick up after your pet.


  • Loud music is prohibited in the garden plot area.
  • Smoking cigarettes is prohibited in the gardens area.

End of Season Clean-up:

  • On or before October 31, gardeners must remove any intact straw bales, all non-biodegradable material (i.e., stakes, fence, wire, lumber, ground covers), and any perennials from the garden.
  • Do not remove the original stakes placed by the Center.
  • Failure to comply may result in loss of future garden plot rental opportunity.

Early Rental Leave:

  • If for any reason a plot must be abandoned the gardener shall notify the Community Garden Coordinator asap.
  • If a plot becomes unkempt, the gardener will be given one week’s notice to clean it up, after which it may be reassigned or tilled in.
  • Refunds are not given for early departure or termination.


  • New gardeners must attend an orientation meeting prior to plot assignment.

Year-Round Gardener Criteria:

  • To obtain a year-round plot at the Horn Farm, you must have been a Community Gardener at the Horn Farm Center for at least one season and have demonstrated strict adherence to the standard Responsibilities listed above.

community gardens with farm house