Am I Allowed to Start a Garden?
If you're thinking of starting a home garden, you're likely doing a lot of research. Gardeners often begin by looking into crops, soils, and planting dates.
But before you make your plans there is one more important thing to investigate. Check for local laws and policies that regulate home gardening. It is important to know the rules that apply to you and your garden.
Many communities have a Homeowners' Association (HOA). Residents can check the HOA bylaws for policies that apply to gardening. For example, some neighborhood policies limit what changes you can make to your landscape. These often apply to front yards and areas visible from the road. If you do not know your community's regulations, contact the HOA Board.
In 2019, Florida adopted Statute 604.71. This statute states that no county, municipality, or other political subdivision in Florida can regulate vegetable gardens on residential properties.
This statute only protects your right to grow food for you and your family to eat. Check local regulations before selling any produce you grow or processing it for a cottage business. And while this statute defends gardens, there are other regulations to consider. State and local fertilizer, irrigation, and invasive species restrictions still apply to you.
To find out if your local government regulates garden activities, check the Florida Municode Library. On the website, select your city or county. You can then search for terms like "garden" or "home garden." This will help you find regulations that may affect your garden plans.
Not all municipalities in Florida list their regulations on Municode. You can also find local regulations by visiting your local government's website. Once there, search for their Land Development Code or Comprehensive Plan. You can often find these under the department page for planning or zoning.
It may be difficult to find your local regulations online. In this case, contact your local government directly. Begin by checking with the Department of Planning, Zoning, or Code Enforcement. Ask if there are any regulations governing gardening at your home address.
With renewed interest in growing produce at home, we've developed a series of articles, "Sustainable Home Food Production," to get you started.