A community garden can help reduce food costs, foster a friendly neighborhood, and add to environmentally safe practices in your local area. By growing your own fruits, vegetables, trees, and flowers, you will not only be helping your neighborhood, you will be providing yourself with a banquet of fresh flowers and produce to enjoy all year long. For several decades, communities in towns and cities have banded together to create gardens that serve the local population. If you are interested in founding your own community garden, here are some tips to get you started.
Set up a leadership structure for the garden and determine rules in a co-operative manner. Consider whether you will have a membership fee, how big each plot will be, and whether children or pets will be welcome in the garden. Make a fair schedule that allows people to volunteer hours in the garden based on their busy schedules. Determining these small details at the beginning can help you avoid strife later on, and ensure that the garden begins smoothly.
When you have decided on your location, be certain to obtain all proper rights from the owner and consider looking into gardening insurance for the plot. You may wish to have the soil and available water tested; this can not only determine what kind of plants will grow best, but can also expose any harmful chemicals in your working area. Be certain to divide plots accurately, and try to keep space between each member’s plot to avoid conflict.
Some community garden experts recommend setting aside a portion of the garden for a supervised children’s plot where neighborhood kids can grow their own plants. Teaching children about gardening gives you a chance to discuss environmental issues in a hands-on manner. Moreover, if the local children are allowed to participate in the garden, they will be less likely to damage or destroy plants out of ignorance or spite.
Visit locally-owned nurseries and garden supply centers and tell them about your community garden. If they understand that your project will help benefit the community, they may be willing to donate materials, such as planting soil, seeds and gardening tools. Be sure to thank them with a basket of produce from your first crop.
Consider publishing a small newsletter for members of the community that do not have a handle on their green thumb. You can include information on what plants can be planted when and how to get started growing vegetables for the first time. This will help educate your neighbors and may make them more comfortable stepping into the garden for the first time. Moreover, in a community garden, it is best to have everyone’s crop succeed; if the seasoned gardeners help the novices, everyone can enjoy the bounty.
If you are having trouble attracting more than a few people at first, consider throwing a neighborhood barbecue featuring the first crop from the community garden. This will give you a chance to talk to neighbors about your crops, how much you save on produce, and your plans for the garden. If nothing else, the taste of delicious fruits and veggies fresh from the garden may convince hungry crowds to join in.