A community garden is an excellent way for groups of people to benefit from fresh vegetables and fruit when there is limited garden space. Community gardening is often challenging, yet the rewards of fresh produce, new friendships, and learning new gardening methods make it well worth it.
The first step to creating a community garden is determining a suitable space. Potentially, there aren't a lot of options. However, if there are, choose a space large enough for everyone who wants a plot in the garden and make sure it is in a location that gets full sun.
The more convenient the garden is to those who want to use it, the more likely it will be utilized to its fullest potential. People are less likely to use a garden if it is difficult or inconvenient to access. Other factors to consider include the accessibility of water and the quality of the soil. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for the largest number of people so that they want to participate fully in the gardening experience.
One of the keys to success in community gardening is choosing suitable vegetables and fruits to plant. Low-maintenance vegetables are best, so you don't have to go out to the garden daily. Life gets busy, and we can't always control the time we will have available to tend a garden.
In a community garden, this gets accentuated because a messy or unkempt plot will stand out among well-tended ones. It is essential to regularly take care of your small garden space, so no weeds or problems expand onto a neighbor's space.
It is best to plant crops that can go a few days or longer without tending to avoid a situation where a plot doesn't get enough care. Many vegetables will grow mostly on their own and just need to be watered and checked on a few times a week.
Good low-maintenance vegetables include kale, cabbage, beets, basil, garlic, eggplant, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, and swiss chard. Avoid vegetables like bush beans and peas, which need a lot of daily care once they start producing.
Plan planting parties and weeding days with the other gardeners to make gardening chores fun. Work is a lot more enjoyable when it is done as a group. Consider sharing resources like shovels, hoes, and spades to reduce expenses. A community garden is a beautiful space to learn new skills, create community, and appreciate nature's abundance.
Keys to Success in Choosing a Community Garden Space:
- Location receives full sun
- Location is accessible to all who want to use it
- Water is easily sourced
- High Quality soil (the soil can be amended, so this isn't totally necessary)