If your passion for plants has outgrown the pots on your balcony or you see a local need for fresh veggies, a community garden could be the solution. Sound daunting? Follow these tips and help your neighborhood grow together.
1. Get people together. Make sure enough potential participants are interested. Decide on your garden’s purpose and whom it will serve.
2. Select a site. It will need six hours of sun daily and water. Make sure the soil isn’t contaminated. Contact local authorities about vacant lots or inquire about land owned by institutions such as churches. Get permission to use land for several years.
3. Obtain funding. Neighborhood gardeners can pay fees, or you can seek a sponsor, grants or donations.
4. Be creative. Gardens can be tucked into unusual spots. One group set up a prolific rooftop garden with plants in wading pools.
5. Agree on the rules. Will you allocate plots or will everyone work together on one big garden? When must gardeners have beds planted? Who will weed the paths? Because pesticides drift, consider banning them. Draft an agreement for gardeners to sign.
6. Get ready to garden. Clean up the site, install irrigation, lay out beds and assign plots.
7. Troubleshoot and tweak. Are participants maintaining their plots? Are the neighbors happy? Has there been vandalism?
8. Enjoy. As the patchwork of garden plots fills with life, take pleasure not only in the beauty and the bounty, but also in the community you’ve created.