Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Community Garden

We have one community garden which is being expanded this summer and the possibility of a second one.

A community garden is a plot of land that is usually divided into subplots with each gardener having their own plot. You can grow herbs flowers or vegetables or a mix of all three.

There may be a communal plot where you grown corn or squash which is then shared.
Each gardener tends their own plot according to whatever rules the groups ahs set.
For example, you may want to grow organically and in order to do this then all the gardeners would need to agree.

Terms such as whether the garden is organic or not are best set out in a contract which each gardener agrees to and signs before the season gets underway.

There may be communal work days. Especially at the beginning and the ending of the season to take care of site preparation and clean up as well as putting the plots to bed for the season.

There may be chores that all share. When I was in Saint John, New Brunswick, for example, I belonged to a large community garden and there were chores such as cutting the lawn in the common areas and doing a bit of weeding and composting. Each gardener signed up for a shift.

In Thunder Bay I was a founding member and for three years the coordinator of the Regent Street Community Garden. The garden began when a small group of us who lived within a few blocks of each other decided that we wanted a community garden. We contacted the City which leased land to citizens for gardening and asked them if there was a space that we could use.

There was. so we took a tour and did a site inspection. Once we decided to proceed we set up a neighbourhood meeting to inform the neighbours of what we planned and to encourage members to join and to ask any questions that might arise and that way deal with any potential problems.
There were a few questions but the meeting went well and 6 weeks later we met at the site and began to prepare the beds.

The best aspect of this community garden was meeting the people who lived near me but who I did not know. In the garden we became neighbours and when I was out walking I’d often see one of the gardeners and we would chat.

The garden was a friendly place to spend time and talk with others about a common interest.
We held gardening classes on site in order to share our knowledge and exchange experience. The community garden is a great way to grow you won food, flowers and friends. 

So if you want to garden, but do not have a place, or simply want to garden with others find out if there is a community garden in your community, and if not start one if you can.

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