Article Index

2020 Twin Oaks Gardens' Rules

    New registration form for each garden season (calendar year). Dues/fee for your garden plot must be paid at the time of registration and the leasee/gardener will not be permitted to begin gardening in the Spring if the fee has not been paid. Each gardener/leasee will be required to provide four hours of service** per plot per calendar year towards the maintenance or management of the garden site. The service team options are on the registration form and your 3 choices must be indicated (in order of preference) to secure a garden plot. This practice will create an environment where all members have a vested interest in the function as well as the beauty of our garden. All leasees/gardeners are responsible for being in full compliance with the Twin Oaks Gardens Rules .
    *** depending on numbers of gardeners wanting the same choice, you may be assigned to one of your #2, or #3 choices.
    **or # of hours determined seasonally by Advisory Board.
    The gardener/leasee must be 18 years or older or 16 years old with supervision of parent/adult.
    All plots will be assigned by the Advisory Committee and they have final discretionary authority over the assignments. Gardeners/leasees may retain the same garden plot that they have managed from year to year if they remain in good standing as a member of the garden. The leasee/gardener receives the plot in an ‘as is' condition and every leasee/gardener goes through the process of getting the plot in shape and weed free. Gardeners may not give their plot away or reassign it to another individual for the gardening season. If there are health issues and you are unable to attend to your garden, contact the advisory committee. The advisory committee will work with gardens during times of hardship.(see Rule #13)
    Due to the limited number of plots available at Twin Oaks Gardens, the organization will keep a waitlist of names of the people who are interested in securing a plot. The priority for their distribution will be given to the individual(s) who has (have) been on the list for the longest period of time. 1st time individual gardeners will be given priority, then persons wanting a 2nd plot will receive garden assignments as plots open and there are no new gardeners on waitlist.
    There is a limit of two garden plots per leasee/gardener/household; however, new leasees/gardeners may only secure one plot during their first season. If they are a member in good standing after their first year they may secure a second plot for the next gardening season, if one is available. The named leasee/gardener/household must be ACTIVELY WORKING in gardening of their assigned plot(s). (E.G. One person may not acquire additional garden plots, exceeding their two plot limit, to provide garden space to their extended family members or friends).
    Garden plots which do not exhibit active planting or management by June 1 will be considered abandoned. The abandoned plots will be reassigned to individuals on the waitlist. The original gardener/leasee then forfeits the plot, their dues/fee, and claim to any of the items in the plot (e.g., plants, produce, tools, structures, equipment).
    Parking is allowed on the street only --- do not park in the lot at the police station. Vehicles or those vehicles with attached trailers may not be driven or parked in the garden without prior permission from advisory committee or service committee chairperson.
    Children are welcome in the gardens but must be supervised. Please do not allow them to climb on water tanks, the platforms, beneath the platforms, on the compost bins, on the gazebo, on the tool shed, or in the horse bedding, leaves, or wood chip piles because it is a safety hazard. Children are not allowed to use the garden tools as play things/toys.
  9. PETS.
    No pets are allowed in the garden area.
    Water tanks provide water for the gardens but is UNSAFE for drinking and washing of produce. Do not attach hoses to the spigots on the tanks to water your garden. Watering cans or buckets are to be used to transport water from the tank to your garden plot. Do not hang buckets or watering cans on the spigots as the weight can damage the plumbing joints and cause a leak. Do not over tighten the spigot handle as this too can cause damage and leakage. Please use great care when working with tools to avoid puncturing the hoses used to deliver water to the tanks. If a hose is accidentally cut, please contact a member of the Advisory Board Committee as soon as possible.
  11. TOOLS.
    Garden-owned tools (orange or painted handles) are not to be stored in garden plots --- they are to be returned to the storage corral when you depart the garden so that others can use them. Please scrape off the soil clinging to the tool before storing it. Tools owned by a garden tenant may be kept in their plots but must be stored safely and securely so they do not become a hazard to other gardeners. Please be mindful of tools and the hazards presented by them while you are using or storing them. Do not place narrow diameter metal stakes in an upright position along the walkways and paths. If someone would trip or fall they could impale themselves on the stake(s).

    1. MARKERS.
      Do not remove or move the gray stakes or the plot number markers located in the corners of the garden plot(s).
      The grass walkways are used for the major transport of people and wheelbarrows through in the garden. Do not kill or remove the grass in the center of the walkway. During heavy rains the excess water collects in the walkways where it is allowed to percolate in to the ground. Do not grow plants or potted plants in the grass walkways. Do not leave tools or equipment in the grass walkways as this creates tripping hazards.
      Gardeners are responsible for weeding the wood chip aisles adjacent to their garden plots. It is recommended that you coordinate this effort with the leasee/gardener located across the aisle from your plot. Place mulch wood chips on them annually to minimize weeds. Do not use carpet remnants, stone mulch, landscape fabric, or plastic sheeting in the aisles. Plants,potted plants and personal tools are not permitted to be grown in or stored on the wood chip aisles.
      Create a 1 foot wide mowing strip outside the perimeter of your plot markers. (the perimeter edge adjacent to grass walkways). This strip makes it easier for the lawn mowing team to get close to your plot without accidentally cutting your plants; and it minimizes weeds growing adjacent to the plot. Lay cardboard on the ground and place 3” deep layer of wood chips on top to build the mowing strip. Wood chips may last for the entire gardening season. Do not use carpet remnants, stone mulch, landscape fabric, plastic sheeting, horse bedding, or leaves in the mowing strip because they cause problems during tilling operations or they decompose too quickly. Edging may be used along the mowing strip but the top surface of the edging and any stakes used to hold it in place may not be higher than the soil line. If it is placed too high it could be damaged by the lawn mower; or the edging could possibly damage the grass cutting equipment. If this were to occur you will be liable and you must replace the damaged equipment or parts of the mowing equipment. You are not permitted to grow plants or potted plants in the mowing strips. Do not place or store rocks, tools, equipment, storage bins, or decorative items in the mowing strips.
      Place at least a 4” deep layer of dry leaves or wood chips on the paths in your garden plot (you may place a layer of cardboard down first to serve as another barrier before laying the leaves or wood chips). Do not use carpet remnants, stone mulch, landscape fabric, tarp material or plastic sheeting in the paths as they cause problems for future tilling operations in the plot and they also provide refuge for rodents. The mulch serves several purposes:
      1. The paths will not be muddy after a heavy rain;
      2. It helps conserve moisture and you will not have to water your plants as frequently;
      3. The shade provided by the materials minimizes weed seed germination which means you’ll have fewer weeds; and
      4. As these materials break down they add nutrients to the soil.
      Maintain plant growth within your own plot markers. Don’t let your plant(s) ramble in to your neighbor’s garden plot. If the plant is not removed, your neighbors have the right to either cut the plant back; or they can harvest the fruit/vegetables that matures outside your plot. Allowing plants to ramble in the grass walkways and wood chips aisles is also prohibited. Do not use tarps, plastic, carpet remnants, landscape fabric, or garden fabrics of any kind within growing areas as these materials provide refuge to rodents. The use of leaf mulch/organic materials provide nutrients to your soil as well as deterring weed growth.
      All gardeners are responsible for picking or clearing the weeds in their own plot before they go to seed so they do not spread to other gardeners’ plots. Plants listed on the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources invasive and watch lists and by the Twin Oaks Gardens Advisory Committee, through 10 yrs. of experience in the garden, are not permitted to be grown. Please refer to the University of Wisconsin's Weed Guide for information on what plants may not be grown in the garden; what plants can be grown but require specific planting and management techniques; and identification of common weeds found in the garden. All garden plots will be inspected throughout the growing season (March – November) and any gardens that are neglected (weeds allowed to get out of control) and those gardens with invasive or aggressive species will be contacted by email or phone to take corrective action within 14 days by the plot monitoring team. If no action is taken by the gardener to correct the weed/invasive & aggressive plant problem during this period of time the plot will be considered neglected and/or abandoned. A note of garden forfeiture will be sent to the gardener and the neglected and/or abandoned plot will be given to the next person on the waitlist. All garden fees for plots declared in this state are non-refundable and the gardener forfeits all items that are left in the plot (e.g., produce, tools, structures, equipment). If there is no waitlist, the advisory committee may use tarps as a temporary means to control weed growth until another gardener accepts responsibility for the plot.
      All gardeners must remove their own garbage and garden waste. Do not put your garden waste in the Twin Oaks Gardens Commercial Compost Bins. Do not place weeds, grasses, or rocks in the aisles, walkways, or mowing strips because this interferes with the landscape maintenance and traffic flow through the garden. Rocks placed in the grass can become projectiles if they are thrown out by the lawn mower; this is a safety hazard and they can damage the lawn mowing equipment.
      Twin Oaks Gardens has been well stocked with donated materials (e.g., horse bedding, wood chips, leaves) to use in your garden plots. It is your responsibility to transport the materials to your plot by wheelbarrow, cart, or tarps. When doing this please do not toss, spill, or spread these materials throughout the walkways, wood chip aisles, or the grassy areas near the material piles. If you find large sticks in the pile break them into smaller pieces; or if you don’t want to use the branch, please place it in the cast off pile with similar sized pieces that is probably sitting adjacent to the wood chip pile that you’re digging in. Do not toss the branch in to the grass. The horse bedding often has gravel in it - do not toss the gravel into the open areas or the grass. Either carry them out with your yard waste or leave them in the pile from which you just got the material. Chances are the materials delivery businesses will be placing one of their future loads in this same place. Rocks, gravel, and large sticks laying in the grassy areas of the garden create more work for the landscape team and they are mowing hazards. DO NOT TAKE any of the compost located in the Twin Oaks Commercial Compost Bins (wood cedar bins towards Byrd Street and near the gazebo). The compost in these bins is the personal property of the members participating in the Commercial Composting operations.
      Tall structures and crops must be positioned so not to shade neighboring plots. And they must be secure so that they cannot fall over and hurt people or damage neighboring gardener’s crops. Each gardener is permitted to place a compost bin in their plot, for their own use, but it must be well maintained and cannot become a health hazard. Any wood materials used in structures or as edging along the mowing strips/aisles must not contain hazardous chemicals (e.g., creosote, arsenic, and pressure treated lumber).
      1. BIRDHOUSES. Birdhouses may be set up in the garden plot but they must have a hinge and pin/latch system so that the interior of the birdhouse can be easily accessed. The Bird House Monitoring Team checks them on a regular basis to make sure that non-native, invasive species birds (e.g., House Sparrows) are not nesting in the cavity. Birdhouses that do not have this access feature may be taken down by that Team or they may stuff a solid material in the opening to keep invasive birds from building nests. Several bird houses have been placed in the garden and they are the property of Twin Oaks Gardens. These houses are also regularly monitored throughout the nesting season. Please do not touch or open the bird houses. If the team sees an invasive species bird trying to nest in the garden; occasionally they will set up a trap to catch them. Do not touch or attempt to open the trap. Birds in the trap are provided water and food so they can remain there for many hours; and when the team is doing this operation they will check the trap several times a day. Any native birds that find their way into the trap will be released back into the natural environment.
      2. USE OF TRAPS IN THE GARDEN. The Twin Oaks Gardens Wildlife Service Team will maintain small traps to control small rodents (e.g.,mice, voles, rats) only in the public areas of the garden. These traps will be hidden and placed in secured areas so that gardeners or children will not come in contact with them. The team members will not be responsible for placing or maintaining traps individual garden plots. Garden plot members are prohibited from placing any mid to large sized snap or live traps (rat size or larger animal) in their plots or the public areas of the gardens because of potential injury and liability. If there is a specific issue with continual rodent damage of crops please advise the Advisory Committee or team leader of the Wildlife Service Team about the problem. Try to figure out what the animal is and then through research determine what techniques that can be used to scare it away. Often simple solutions are successful (scented material [dog or human hair, fragrant soap bars, blood meal], sparkly objects [CD Rom discs], or sound producing objects [whirling pinwheels].
      We strongly encourage the use of organic herbicides, pesticides, insecticides, fungicides, and fertilizers in the garden. Please discuss with your neighboring gardeners your intentions before using any chemicals. There may be a condition in which a non-organic chemical may be required to deal with a specific task. Gardeners may not use non-organic chemicals in areas outside of their plot markers (i.e. Round Up and similar toxic chemicals).
      1. Please note that non-organic fertilizers can increase plant size and yield for a short period of time; however over the long term they form chemical compounds or salts in the soil which is detrimental and these will eventually destroy the life system of the soil. Additional guidance on this topic can also be found in the Twin Oaks Gardens Invasive Plants, Aggressive Plants, and Common Weeds List.
      Many gardeners at Twin Oaks Gardens have had great success with no-till (lasagna) gardening; but each gardener is allowed to select the gardening technique of their choice following current garden guidelines. Training opportunities on no-till gardening are offered periodically or feel free to ask gardeners using this method about their experiences.
      Tilling of garden plots is the responsibility of the individual leasee/gardener.
      Every gardener is responsible for cleaning out their plot in the fall. The close out date for summer crop clean out is November 1st. Do not leave dead plants standing in the soil over the winter (e.g., corn stalks, tomato plants) as they can harbor insect eggs and diseases. Cold season crops (e.g., spinach, brussel sprouts) and perennial plants (e.g, oregano) can continue to grow and remain in the soil past November 1st. If you will be returning to the garden for the next season you may cut up the larger sized pieces of the plant material and leave the waste in the growing beds within your plot to decompose. If you will not be returning for the next year; all plant materials and garden structures must be removed by November 1st. Open flame/burning to kill weeds or breakdown yard waste is not permitted. Do not put your plant waste in the Twin Oaks Gardens Commercial Compost Bins. Each leasee/gardener will have their garden plot(s) inspected throughout the growing season and shortly after November 1st to assure that the plot is not weedy or has invasive species growing in it. The leasee must be in good standing with this requirement in order to be eligible to register for their plot(s) for the next garden season.

    If a lessee/garden tenant is experiencing extenuating circumstances (e.g., health issues, change in their work schedule, family needs) and this is affecting the lessee/gardener’s ability to manage their garden; they are required to notify the Advisory Committee and inform them about the situation. The goal is keep all lessee’s in good standing within the garden community. The gardeners at Twin Oaks Gardens do not want to see the plot become infested with weeds in the lessee’s absence. With proper notification perhaps there might be ways in which the other garden members could offer some assistance to help keep the lessee/gardener in good standing (e.g., put a tarp on the plot to prevent weeds from going to seed; or harvest and donate the produce to food pantry).
    Please show respect for other gardeners by not entering other plots without permission. (Members of the Plot Monitoring Team do have permission to enter the plots during their inspections) . Tobacco products may not be used or consumed in the garden. Kimberly-Clark, our land-owner, and the Neenah-Menasha YMCA, our sponsor, have policies requiring that their facilities be tobacco free. Harassment, theft, criminal behavior or repeated use of banned substances will be grounds for expulsion from the garden. Numerous complaints for compliance or behavioral issues regarding a specific lessee/gardener from their peer members or from our land owner Kimberly-Clark may lead to the expulsion of the lessee/gardener. All members of the garden community have the right to confidentially register a complaint if they find that another lessee/gardener is not meeting the requirements of the Twin Oaks Gardens Rules or if that lessee’s behavior, or that of their family and friends, is disruptive or presents a danger to others.
    You agree by signing the registration form to hold any Twin Oaks Gardens members (lessees/gardeners), staff, and volunteers harmless from any and all liability for bodily harm, damage, or loss of any kind arising from, or in any manner, connected with your participation in Twin Oaks Gardens. Twin Oaks Gardens/and its entities have no responsibility for lost, stolen, or damaged personal property or crops.
    The land on which Twin Oaks Gardens is located is owned by Kimberly-Clark Corporation and they have granted us use of the property as long as we are good stewards of the land. The non-profit organization with general oversight of the Twin Oaks Gardens is the Neenah-Menasha YMCA. Annual dues for plot rental will be paid to the Neenah-Menasha YMCA. The Twin Oaks Gardens Advisory Committee is responsible for the general management of garden. Members of the Twin Oaks Gardens Advisory Committee are volunteers and are not paid for their service. The various Twin Oaks Gardens Committees/service teams report directly to the Twin Oaks Advisory Committee. Each of these service teams/committees will have a Team Leader/Chairman assigned (no term limit to the length of their service) to oversee the operations of their committee’s activities. The Team Leader/Chairman of the service team/committee may elect to be a member of the Advisory Committee if they wish.
    Lessees/gardeners who follow and comply with the Twin Oaks Gardens Rules will be classified as being ‘in good standing.’ Members in good standing are eligible to return to the garden for the following season; and if they voluntarily choose to depart for an interim period of time they can return as a member at future points in time (but they must go through the waitlist process to secure another plot) . Gardeners that are not in compliance with the Twin Oaks Gardens Rules and their responsibilities will lose their privilege to be a member of the garden and may not rejoin it in the future.
    Any lessee/gardener is permitted to seek an appeal to the Advisory Committee. The appeal must be submitted in writing and any visual documentation/evidence to support their position is to be sent to the Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee will review the evidence and will be allowed a reasonable amount of time to review the case. Once the Advisory Committee makes their ruling the lessee/gardener will be informed of their decision within 14 days. The Advisory Committee’s decision is final and there will be no opportunity for a second appeal.

Garden Rules are changed by the Advisory Committee Members on an as needed basis and can be found at the TOG website: