How to Start a Community Garden
Community gardens have been popping up in urban areas. In some more populated areas or even in food deserts, community gardens have saved those who live in the community. They provide an opportunity for fresh and healthy food.
Additionally, the gardens bring together those in the community who otherwise wouldn’t have met, strengthening the community. Having a garden in a neighbourhood can help you save money too, making your region more self-sustainable!
If this sounds like something you would be interested in, then here’s how to start a community garden.
1. Gather Others and Form a Committee
First, you’ll need to form a committee. Find local gardeners, your friends, neighbours, and family members and ask if they want to be part of the project. Make sure these are all people who have a similar mindset.
It would be great if you added people who had different skills when gardening. Is there someone who knows how to use power tools to build garden boxes? Does someone keep things well-organised? Can you find someone who is a good public speaker?
Try to resemble your neighbourhood with the committee you form. Additionally, make sure the local government or zoning committee approves!
2. Establish Where You’ll Grow
Once you’ve gathered a solid committee, you’ll need to scout out a place to establish your community garden. If there’s an area that looks like it would be great for a community garden, you’ll have to identify the landowner and ask for permission to use the property.
Here are some other things to consider for a site:
- Ensure the land gets six full hours of sun each day if you’re planting vegetables.
- Test the soil so you know it can support plants with proper nutrients and pH.
- Search for a nearby water source.
- Inquire about getting insurance for the land.
Having a large enough plot of suitable land will be a big step in your community garden project.
3. Get Your Supplies
Next, you can gather supplies. Gardens need more than just a rake and a watering can, especially if it’s large enough to support the community. It would be challenging to get them all by yourself, so you can raise funds for supplies or ask the community to donate used gardening tools.
In addition to your typical gardening tools, you should source a composting bin or have someone build one. That way, you can make your own compost, which aligns with the sustainability of a community garden. This is where you can gather seeds, as well.
4. Prep the Land and Plan a Layout
The land you choose likely isn’t suitable for a garden, so this is where the hands-on work comes into play. You and others in the community will have to clear the site. Make sure you pick up all of the trash and get rid of any weeds or invasive plants. Plow the land and let gardeners work together to add fertilisers, compost, and mulch.
Once you clear the land, you can begin planning a layout for the garden. Decide with your committee on plot sizes, where the tool storage area will go, and where you’ll set up your compost bin. Ensure there are pathways to access plots and for casual strolling.
5. Begin Planting and Set a Schedule
You can begin planting once your plots are ready! Decide whether you’re going to grow vegetables, fruits, flowers, or a combination. It should serve the community’s needs. Throughout the season, you’ll need to establish a schedule with volunteers from the community to maintain the garden.
Anyone in the community can share in the community garden work. Source volunteers and teach them what they need to do, whether it’s watering the plants, adding compost, harvesting the crops, or pulling weeds. Rotate the schedule so all participants can get their hands involved.
6. Share Your Harvest With the Community
Throughout the season, you can enjoy working in the garden with others in the community. This will strengthen bonds between neighbours and others that live in the region. Participate in regular community projects and outreach to teach others in the area about the community garden.
When harvest time comes, ensure that people who need fresh food come to the garden. You can share meals with others and celebrate all of the hard work everyone has put into making the garden a success!
Enjoy the Community Garden
Community gardens serve as a great way to get to know others within your neighbourhood. It provides others with fresh produce and offers new skills. Most communities that have community gardens thrive. The surrounding environment benefits from an increase in biodiversity, reduction in food waste, and an improvement in soil and air quality.
Plus, the community benefits from improved food security and an increase in healthy food intake. If you haven’t yet made plans to start a community garden, now is a perfect time!