The Plant A Seed Foundation stands by our mandate to support such initiatives throughout the nation and thus this week’s blog post will walk you through the process so that your dream of stepping outside of your front door to join your neighbors in the rich soil fast becomes a reality.There will be some red tape involved before you hammer the wooden stakes into the dirt surrounding your community garden so be sure to get it out of the way as soon as your committee has been formed.For example, in Greater Vancouver BC the City & Park Board supports urban agriculture projects and asks that you complete an Expression of Interest form to begin the process.Together with your committee and reference material from governing bodies and supportive organizations you will be well prepared to select a site in your community for the garden.You’ll need to consider adequate exposure to sunlight, convenient access to water and drainage, automobile and pedestrian traffic, and everything else that you can anticipate will impact the success of a community garden.You will of course need to have permission from landowners (the city or on private residential property management) and obtain the necessary lease agreements (where applicable) and insurance policies.Contact local businesses and organizations to see if they are willing to provide support in ways that can include financial endowments, materials used to build the agricultural site, and seeds for planting.Sponsors can be local credit unions, retailers, churches, schools, home & garden suppliers, grocery stores or any other that comes to mind.In addition to the essentials a good sponsor can serve to add special touches to your community garden such as ornate benches to relax in contemplation after a hard day of working in the soil.However the purpose of this first edition is to get those of you excited about the prospect of a new neighborhood garden started down the path to a greener thumb for your entire community. .
The Best Vegetables to Grow in a Community Garden Plot
If you’re not careful, these challenges can make community garden plots feel more like a burden than a joy.I learned a lot about what vegetables work best in a community garden setting, and which ones to leave off the list each season.For example, a kale seedling gets planted in early spring and basically hangs out in the garden producing food until winter when it gets killed by heavy frosts if you live in a cold climate.If you don’t, you’ll end up with a harvest basket full of beans that are too big and too tough to be delicious.These low maintenance plants are great for growing in your community garden because the ripe fruit (or vegetable!).While you don’t want to let your cabbage languish alone in your garden for weeks, if you’re out of town for a few days when it’s ready to harvest this patient plant will wait for you to return.My favorite thing to do with my cabbage harvest is to ferment it into sauerkraut and curtido, which is very easy once you understand the process.But, unlike pretty much every other vegetable, you need to make sure you’re planting it in the fall and then you’ll harvest it the next summer.You can plant it early in spring and it will produce plenty of kale leaves for the entire season.Leeks are a long season vegetable, which means they will take about 110 days from planting until harvest.When choosing which vegetables are “worth it” to grow in your garden you need to understand how long it takes to get a harvest.This might not be allowed in a community garden setting, so annual herbs like parsley are a smart choice.My suggestion is to buy a parsley plant from your local garden store in spring instead of trying to start seeds.Sweet peppers can be expensive to buy at the grocery store, so they’re definitely one of the vegetables that give you the most bang for your buck.And, you can grow fun colors you can’t find in the grocery store, like purple, blue, and pink.You simply cut some off with a knife when you’re ready to cook with it and the plant will get back to the work of growing new leaves to replace them.Rainbow chard adds some pretty pops of color to complement the various shades of green in your garden. .
Gardens can include physical infrastructure, ranging from a simple shed for tools to raised beds, hoop houses, greenhouses, and cold frames.More involved infrastructure might include community gathering places, produce stands, and food preparation areas.Factor in the influence of adjacent buildings and trees, as well as low-lying areas prone to flooding.If the appearance of the garden is important (for example, it’s on a busy street corner or located on public property), consider building raised beds.Importing soil from elsewhere can be a way to speed up the time to a productive vegetable garden.Importing soil from elsewhere can be a way to speed up the time to a productive vegetable garden.Water dynamics - Raised beds can dry out faster than native soil.This leads to poor water infiltration, and issues with drainage and air flow–which impedes plant growth.Paving bricks allow for good mobility and are permeable to allow rain and snowmelt to reach the soil underneath.Mulch paths with woodchips (often free from local arborists) to prevent weed growth and keep down dust, especially if the soil is contaminated.The right garden design can make watering easier, whether that means beds that are all the same size so they all take the same length of drip tape, beds that a sprinkler can easily cover, or a nice wide path for pulling the hose.Fences can help you control when people have access to your garden and may provide some safety.Still, other experience shows that beautiful tomatoes and heads of broccoli might disappear regardless of the presence of fences.Controlling access of animals, whether deer, rabbits, gophers, turkeys, or geese, requires specialized fencing and possibly netting.In particular, fencing in poultry and duck areas to prevent predation from raccoons, hawks, and possums can be a bit of an art.Check local regulations carefully to make sure you meet food safety and vending requirements.Community gathering and education spaces at urban farms can be anything from meeting areas to amphitheaters to outdoor classrooms.This can be a simple picnic table for garden meetings and sharing food or a more developed area for community events.Restrooms and handwashing stations are a good idea and required by the city as you add in food preparation areas and community gathering spaces.If your city is not “up to speed,” consider getting involved in helping to write local legislation that works in favor of urban farmers and gardeners.Learn more about keeping your raised beds healthy, and watch a video about soil compaction! .
Tips on starting a community garden
This fact sheet is designed to give many different groups the basic information they need to get their gardening project off the ground.Who will the garden serve--kids, seniors, special populations,people who just want an alternative to trash?Form committees to accomplish tasks: Funding & Resource Development; Youth Activities; Construction; Communication.Contributions of land, tools, seeds, fencing, soil improvements or money are all vital to a successful community garden.Churches, schools, citizens groups, private businesses, local parks and recreation departments are all potential supporters.Have a rainproof bulletin board for announcing garden events and messages.Arrange for land preparation--plowing, etc--or let gardeners do their own prep.Lay out garden to place flower or shrub beds around the visible perimeter.This helps to promote good will with non-gardening neighbors, passersby, and municipal authorities.Will the group do certain things cooperatively (such as turning in soil in the spring, planting cover crops, or composting)?It is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain leases from landowners without public liability insurance.Leaders "rise to the occasion" to propose ideas and carry out tasks.However, as the work load expands, many groups choose a more formal structure for their organization.It is a conscious, planned effort to create a system so that each person can participate fully and the group can perform effectively.Try out suggestions raised at these meetings and after a few months of operation, you'll be in a better position to develop bylaws or organizational guidelines.Many battles are won simply because one side has more pieces of paper to wave than the other.Guidelines and Rules (see TROUBLESHOOTING for examples) are less formal than Bylaws, and are often adequate enough for a garden group that has no intention of incorporating.State what officers are necessary, how they are chosen, length of term, their duties and how vacancies are filled.Establish a system so that bylaws can be rescinded or amended, maybe by a simple majority."We the undersigned members of the (name) garden group hereby agree to hold harmless (name owner) from and against any damage, loss, liability, claim, demand, suit, cost and expense directly or indirectly resulting from, arising out of or in connection with the use of the (name) garden by the garden group, its successors, assigns, employees, agents and invites.".In order to offer a high quality community garden program, good management techniques are essential.Included in this fact sheet are the main ideas to consider in management, along with many different ways to carry them out.I understand that neither the garden group nor owners of the land are responsible for my actions.They serve as much to mark possession of a property as to prevent entry, since nothing short of razor-wire and landmines will keep a determined vandal from getting in.Short picket fences or turkeywire will keep out dogs and honest people.Create a shady meeting area in the garden and spend time there.Plant potatoes, other root crops or a less popular vegetable such as kohlrabi along the sidewalk or fence.Plant the purple varieties of cauliflower and beans or the white eggplant to confuse a vandal.The "children's garden" can help market your idea to local scout troops, day cares, foster grandparent programs, church groups, etc.Neighbors complain to municipal governments about messy, unkempt gardens or rowdy behavior; most gardens can ill afford poor relations with neighbors, local politicians or potential sponsors.Therefore, choose bylaws carefully so you have procedures to follow when members fail to keep their plots clean and up to code.A well-organized garden with strong leadership and committed members can overcome almost any obstacle.Cooperative Extension Service in your county Women's Garden Club.Fact Sheets and articles on the following are available free of charge to ACGA members:. .
GROW! Manitowish Waters Community Garden
Community Garden is located in Manitowish Waters, in the heart of the northwoods of Northern Wisconsin. .
Program is conducted on city property and administered by the Events & Marketing Specialist.10 by 10 feet garden plots sell for $17.50 for the season to Fife residents and business owners, $35 for non-residents.Please note that in following the current social distancing guidelines, plots are very limited and spaced further apart.I also really like the starts which are grown by Bonnie and are available at most big box stores (Fred Meyer, Wal-Mart, etc.).as many of them come in a peat pot that you can plant straight in the ground, and a lot of the varieties seem to do well in Fife’s climate.For the intermediate to experienced gardener, starting all of your plants from seed is definitely feasible and can be cost saving over time, once you purchase the equipment.Pepper and tomato plants should be started around February or March, as they need a long growing season in order to product fruit.Typically, shorter season varieties grow well in Fife - check your seed packets to see how long each crop needs as you may be surprised to find that two different varieties of the same crop can have a significant variance in the days until harvest.Although it sounds counter-intuitive based on the information just provided, if you are ordering onion sets online, you will want to select long day varieties.I also really like Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds which is available online, as they have some really cool varieties that you can’t find locally, such as pink celery!Baker Creek also has horticulturists on staff, which you can call for help on recommendations for the best seeds based on Fife’s climate and/or your growing experience.One trick that I’ve found when growing small seeds such as carrots is to cover them with peat moss instead of soil.Another important lesson that I’ve learned over the years is to amend your soil (I mix compost in my garden) and use a quality fertilizer as it will have a significant impact between getting a few tomatoes, or a bushel!In addition to the weed blocking effects, these can also help keep moisture in the soil for longer during hot weather, and the black weed paper creates heat which can be beneficial for peppers and tomatoes, which really like the heat!If you have problems with critters eating your plants (namely rabbits), a short chicken wire fence is generally inexpensive and will do the trick at keeping them out. .
New Yorkers can find out more information about the community gardens that we've built in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, or Staten Island. .
How to Start Your Own Community Garden in Six Simple Steps
Research has shown community gardens also raise property values, reduce food insecurity, encourage children to eat a wider variety of healthy foods, and create community connections that lead to positive social change.This program was so successful that San Francisco, Boston, and Philadelphia founded their own community garden programs while reformers like Fannie Griscom Parsons sparked the school garden movement to give the children in economically depressed areas a chance to spend time in fresh air while helping to feed their families.And they help families spread out the cost and share the work of growing good, delicious, healthy food.Our growing season may be short up north but spending the long summer days in the garden together makes it all the sweeter.Volunteer plants, like strawberries or tomatoes, know without being told that they have found fertile ground.Every community garden needs a core group of people willing to work together to organize and inspire others.It takes a certain investment of time and energy in the beginning but once the materials and rules are in place, most community gardens can practically run themselves.Get on Facebook or Nextdoor or put up a few flyers in the supermarket, local school, or corner coffee shop.Your goal is to see how many other people in your neighborhood or organization share your interest in forming a community garden.Get on Facebook or Nextdoor or put up a few flyers in the supermarket, local school, or corner coffee shop.Your goal is to see how many other people in your neighborhood or organization share your interest in forming a community garden.Create a steering committee.When you get everyone together, you will find people with the can-do spirit, gardening expertise, and enthusiasm to take the project to the next level.Your steering committee should be able to work out the basic materials required to get the garden up and going: a location, some lumber, a shed for tool and supply storage, garden soil, hoses and watering cans, a wheelbarrow, perhaps a picnic table, and compost and trash bins.Raised beds are wonderful ways to separate plots but they can also be expensive to install.Create pathways between plots, so gardeners can kneel or set down tools without damaging another family’s plantings.Kids love to dig in the dirt—give them a separate, playful space to explore the wonders of gardening.Form a Facebook group, an email list, or a private chat to be sure that everyone can be kept in the loop.You’ve spent a long, wonderful summer and fall growing good things and getting to know your neighbors better.Don’t forget to close out each season with a picnic, potluck, or other informal gathering to savor the results of your hard work (and swap recipes!). .
Community Gardens – Growing Gardens
CANCELLATION POLICY: Plots that are voluntarily turned into Growing Gardens before April 1 will be refunded half of the plot fee, and the full water fee. .