What is a community garden? A community garden is a space where community members are able to grow anything from fruits and vegetables to flowers on a plot of shared land. A church, school, business, or private landowner can donate a piece of land – but the space continues to thrive as a community garden by a variety of share holders.
What can I expect? Typically, you’ll find designated garden plots, usually measuring about 3′ x 20′ that are made available to individuals and families in the neighborhood. The gardener is responsible for supplying the plants, seeds, and soil amendments. However, you don’t have to worry about manually watering your plants each week, as drip irrigation systems are normally installed to supply water to the plants.
What is the cost? Expect the cost to be based on the bed size, as well as a reimbursement water fee to the property owner – usually around $15.00 per month for each plot. This money also pays for the irrigation equipment, a monthly newsletter in some cases, as well as a set of tools made available.
How can I create a garden for my community?
Step 1: The first step is initiating a planning committee. As a group, determine if there is a real need for a community garden, and whom the garden will serve. As you move forward, you will also need to make a list of what needs to be done, and designate roles to each member.
Step 2: The planning committee or sponsor will need to choose a site. The land should get at least 6 full hours of sunlight, pass soil tests, and be clear of contamination. You may also need to consider if irrigation is available.
Step 3: The next step is developing the site. The community garden site should be cleaned up and organized. This includes selecting work crews, choosing plot sizes, creating a storage area, and deciding whether organic gardening practices will be used.
Step 4: Organize the garden details. The planning committee should decide the large and tiny details behind the community garden. At the very least, these questions should be answered:
* What are the conditions of membership?
* How will plots be assigned?
* How will the money be used?
* How large should each plot be? Should there be various sizes to choose from?
* Will there be a plot for children?
* What happens if the plot becomes vandalized?
* What will the community vs. committee members be responsible for?
* Will there be garden meetings? How often?
* Will the garden members share tools or supply their own?
* What kind of maintenance will the garden need daily, weekly, monthly and seasonally?
Step 5: Choose some general rules and bylaws for the garden. Bad gardeners and angry neighbors are the two most common reasons community gardens lead to frustration. Choose each rule and bylaw carefully so that there are understood procedures, and consequences to actions within the garden. To get some ideas, read these sample community garden rules.
**Friends, have you considered utilizing or starting your own community garden within your neighborhood?