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Creating a Community Garden

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Creating a Community Garden

So you want to create a community garden? Before you lift a hoe, here are a few things you may want to consider:

Gardening Activities

  • What is the purpose of the garden?
  • Is it going to be a quiet, contemplative place, reserved just for garden plots or will it be a more active, celebratory space as well?
  • How will the activities in the garden impact the surrounding property owners?
  • Will there be domestic animals kept in the garden? Will well-behaved, leashed dogs be allowed in the garden?
  • Will the community garden be used just during daylight hours or also at night?
  • Will the site be used year-round or only on a seasonal basis?
  • Will the community garden serve an educational purpose?

Location of the property

  • Is the community garden site perceived as a safe area?
  • Is the proposed garden easy to find?
  • Is there bus access to the site?
  • Can people easily walk to the site?
  • Is the site accessible for wheel chair, strollers, and walkers?

Resources currently on the site

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  • Is there a minimum of 6 hours of full sun on the site, per day, year-round?
  • Is there access to water on the property?
  • Is there adequate parking space on the property?

Property ownership and Management

  • Who currently owns the property where the community garden is proposed?

Property amenities

  • Is there garbage disposal on the site?
  • Are there restroom facilities on the site?
  • Will there be tool storage on the site?

The challenges of community gardens…

  • Unless there is a neighbor nearby, some isolated gardens can get vandalized.
  • Sometimes a less-than-honest neighbor or visitor may steal your ripe vegetables and fruit.
  • Occasional differences occur between gardeners regarding overgrown paths, shading your neighbors’ plot with your glorious dahlias or vines, or loud music.

Whom to Contact for More Information:

  • Your county extension offices.
  • Your city community garden offices, if there is one.
  • U-pick farmers — ask them how they got started.
  • Farmers who have seasonal fruit stands and harvest days
  • Your small business administration office — (The SBA can help you create a business plan, a budget for ongoing maintenance, and sometimes provide information about insurance and liability issues).
  • Web sites, including the American Community Gardening Association.

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If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1919, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.

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