Gardener Guidelines

As a gardener at Bandi Schaum, below are several guidelines and rules we ask you to adhere to as a member.


1. Bandi Schaum plots are rented “as is” (current condition) from the City of Pittsburgh. The City does not perform annual tilling.

2. Plots are not transferable. Plots that are given up or are revoked for cause will be designated for re-assignment, and fees will not be refunded or pro-rated.

3. Gardeners must maintain a current email address (preferred) or phone number on file with Bandi Schaum Steering Committee (BSSC).

Contact changes should be sent to:

4. To receive important information and updates, gardeners are encouraged to follow new posts on the Bandi Schaum website (News and Events page) at: Other updates can be seen at the Bandi Schaum Community Garden facebook page.

Garden Rules and Regulations

In addition to paying the rental fees for an individual plot, gardeners are joining a community of gardeners. As part of that community, gardeners are expected to observe the rules governing the garden and be active participants in the community.

1. All gardeners (new and returning) are required to attend the annual Spring Garden Meeting and will introduce the BSSC and provide an opportunity for new and returning gardeners to meet one another.  The garden liaisons will review the garden rules and procedures, discuss water availability, lock operation, communication issues, etc. and answer questions.

2. Garden plots should be cared for at least once a week. Failure to abide by the garden rules and regulations will result in the forfeiture of your plot.  If a garden plot is not in compliance with the regulations, notification will be sent by email. A follow-up inspection will be performed two weeks after the email notice. If the plot is still not in compliance, it will be revoked and re-assigned to the next household on the waiting list. All fees and produce will be forfeited.

3. Gardeners are asked to volunteer one hour per month for the seven active gardening months during the year. The active months are April through October. Gardeners can contact the Steering Committee for more guidance.

4. Compost and mulch are provided by the City Department of Public Works (DPW) when it is available and is not a regular service.

5. Gardeners are responsible for weeding, cultivating, and watering, and must arrange for someone to maintain the garden plot if they are away. Gardeners who forfeit their plots must notify the BSSC; they are not free to re-assign them privately.

6. On March 15th, gardeners may begin to work on their plots, if the soil is ready to be worked. By May 1st, gardeners must begin work on their plots. By June 1st, gardeners must have planted seeds, seedlings, or transplants in their plots. By December 7th, gardeners must remove dead plants, weeds, and summer garden debris from plots.

7. To reduce weeds and pests, improve the soil, and maintain the garden’s appearance, mulch is strongly recommended. Gardeners are encouraged to use materials such as aged compost, composted manure, leaves, straw, burlap, weed cloth, or layers of newspaper to protect the soil and reduce weeds. Carpet, stone, and sod mulch are not allowed.

8. Gardeners must weed their plots to prevent them from going to seed. Do not place weeds in the compost piles! Place them in the jersey barriers in the designated area.

9. Gardeners are encouraged to plant fall and winter crops, if they wish. If not, they should take  steps to protect the soil by planting cover crops or covering their plots with barriers to reduce winter weeds. Acceptable barriers include: newspaper (non-shiny parts) covered with mulch/ compost, burlap bags, weed cloth, plastic covering or tarps.

10. Trees, woody, invasive, toxic or illegal plants are prohibited. Please consult the list of invasive plants: Aggressive plants like mint, lemon balm, and similar plants must be grown in containers and must not be allowed to establish themselves beyond the plot.

11. Tall plants such as corn and sunflowers should only be planted in areas of your plot that will not shade neighboring plots.  The same applies to any structure built for climbing plants.

12. Water conservation must be practiced at all times. Do not use the spigots unless the rain barrels and water buffaloes are empty. Concentrate on watering roots rather than other parts of the plants.

Watering by the use of drip irrigation and hoses connected to the water tanks is prohibited. Shut off the spigot as soon as you are done using it. Open containers of water are not allowed, because they are breeding grounds for mosquitoes. If you wish to store water in your plot, containers must be kept covered.

13. Gardeners may not pick produce from other plots unless given permission by the plot’s gardeners.

14. Gardeners must harvest their produce as it matures. Do not leave produce to dry or rot in the garden, as it attracts rodents and insects.

15. Only organic fertilizers and insecticides are permitted. Please see the list of permitted organic products/materials at

16. Do not plant any genetically modified (GMO) seeds or plants in the garden. Remove all corn/soy seed from plots at the end of the season, as there is danger of cross-pollination from GMO crops in the area.

17. In the interest of sustainability and for the benefit of all of the gardeners, compost all non-weed garden materials. Check the chart in the shed for a list of what can and can’t be composted. Do not deposit any materials larger than a baseball in the compost pile without cutting them up first.

Fencing, Stakes, Grounds and Structures

1. Plot markers must be upright and visible at all times. Gardeners shall not relocate any plot markers. Plot markers are not to be used as fencing material, plant structures, or watering can holders. Please remember all plot sizes are approximate and variation in size and shape from plot to plot is normal. Plot sizes are not guaranteed. Encroachment into paths or other garden plots is not permitted. Paths between plots must be kept mulched.

2. Return any common use garden tools to the shed clean and ready for use.

3. Keep the shed locked and the gates closed at all times.

4. LEASHED pets are permitted in the garden. Any pet that is off leash will be asked to leave.

5. All trash must be removed from the site and disposed of by the members of the garden.

6. Gardeners are not permitted to borrow or move tools, wheelbarrows, etc. without permission of the owner.

7. Children are very welcome in the garden, but must be supervised by a responsible adult at all times.

8. The community gardens are located in a City Park. All Park rules and regulations apply (Pittsburgh City Code, Chapter 473, Use Regulations). The park is a smoke-free area, and loud radios and/or music are not allowed.

9. Drive slowly and carefully in the park.

10. The garden closes at sunset.

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