Jennifer Carlson ©2007
Looking for a place to share your interests, connect with like-minded people and grow your own food?
Try participating in a community garden. It’s a great way to grow organic vegetables, fruits, flowers, and also share your love of nature with other plot holders.
Each community garden works differently, but here are some common threads:
1) Most community gardens offer organic gardening exclusively, meaning that insecticides and herbicides are prohibited.
2) Garden plots can be as small as 10 feet x 10 feet, depending on the size of the entire garden and the gardener’s needs. Participants usually pay a nominal rental fee per year to rent a garden plot.
For instance, in Seattle, Washington, the yearly fee for a 10’ x 10’ plot is $34.00 from May1st, to October 31st. However, long-term gardeners are encouraged to plant winter cover crops during the winter season or vegetables that can thrive over-winter.
3) The garden plot is assigned to the same person every year, unless other arrangements are made. In some cities, there is a long waiting list for these plots because more and more people want to grow their own food.
4) Most community gardens are managed by a property owner, which may be an individual, a non-profit group, a school, a church, a specially assigned property-management committee or the city or county.
5) The property’ owner’s management duties include: managing site water usage, ongoing annual or seasonal plot rental fees and keeping up the community gardening tools, tool shed, signage, trails, fencing, garbage pick up, composting, and the general appearance of the entire garden.
6) The plot holders are often required to maintain the garden, in addition to their plot. This may include remove weeds, mulching common paths, composting and repairing tools.
A quick way to find community gardens is to visit gardening stores in your area. You may also find nearby community gardens on the Internet, or by visiting the American Community Gardening web site.
Of course, you can always start a community garden. It may be a great gift for your children and friends.
*Jennifer Carlson lives in Seattle,Washington and has an organic garden at her home as well as a plot in a nearby community garden in order to grow food for her family and to share with her fellow gardeners.