Get down and dirty in the garden
Now that the weather in southwestern Pennsylvania has finally turned the corner and is more like spring, gardening has been on the forefront of my mind. Today I hope to inspire you with some herbal thoughts about community gardens while the weather here (and in other places around the country) warms up. Read on for more garden inspiration.
Benefits of Community Gardens
Community gardens do so much good. They are sponsored by public entities and private organizations. If you are an apartment or condo dweller, or have a house in the city, community gardens give you your own space to garden in. If you have a parent or another loved one that needs help gardening, you could share a plot with them to enhance their lives and give the both of you good food to eat. You see, I think gardening is good for your body, mind and soul, and if it means gardening in a smaller space, a community garden plot may be just the right size for you.
I am going to introduce you to three of my favorite community gardens I have visited in my herbal travels. And if you are even more interested in community gardening, the American Community Garden Association website will help you find a community garden in your area. Just submit your zip code and/or location. This is a great starting point.
The Cascade P-Patch Community Garden - Downtown Seattle
When I was out west several years ago, I got to see the Cascade P-Patch Community Garden in downtown Seattle. The P-Patch association is a group of community gardens all over the Seattle area. There are various sizes and prices for plots. The Cascade Community Gardens is a very popular community garden and you may have to be on a waiting list to get in.
A colorful sign welcomes you to the beautiful Cascade P-Patch Community Garden located in downtown Seattle.
It was in September and the gardens were lush and full of veggies, herbs and flowers.
September brings an abundant harvest to the garden.
I am always impressed by the size of the herbs in these gardens and this particular rosemary is no exception. It was very happy to be surrounded by the concrete of the sidewalks. I need to put some pavers around mine in my herb garden this season. The reflective heat of the concrete is what helps the rosemary to flourish.
A happy rosemary plant is surrounded by concrete.
Pine Street Community Gardens - Vancouver, British Columbia
Another region that has a great growing climate is the Vancouver area in British Columbia. To find a community garden in the area, the City of Vancouver's website lists all of the community gardens in the Vancouver area.
A couple of years ago, The Herbal Husband and I went up to Vancouver. While we were there, we visited a couple of community gardens in the area. One was called the Pine Street Community Gardens and is located along the abandoned railroad tracks on west 6th Street between Fir and Burrard. It is only a couple of blocks in length, but it has made a positive impact on the community. It also has an urban orchard as part of the garden. They were having colder than normal May weather when we were there in 2011.
Poppies decorated this gardener’s plot in the Pine Street Community Garden.
A big blooming rosemary makes a fragrant addition.
A small herb garden in a bigger plot.
An espaliered fruit tree.
It is so important to mix your vegetables, fruit and herbs to get the best use of your space and planting time. Jim Long came up with a lovely plan for a kitchen garden in five years called "Step by Step Your Garden Grows: Design an Easy Kitchen Garden." You could use just part of his design for your community garden space.
Cypress Community Garden - Vancouver, British Columbia
We visited a second community garden while in Vancouver called the Cypress Community Garden. It is located in the Kitsilano neighborhood and is easily accessible from the bicycle routes or the buses so you don’t necessarily have to have a car to garden in the community garden setting. It had a good mix of ornamental gardens with seating and traditional raised beds for vegetable gardening space.
This beautiful garden is a peaceful sanctuary for quiet reflection.
Organized raised beds are perfect for growing vegetables and herbs.
What a glorious hedge of rosemary!
All Photos By Nancy Heraud
I know I don’t have to say much more about the benefits of community gardens. As long as you are able to do the work in the garden, it will be a wonderful benefit to both you and your neighborhood. There are lots of good ideas for starting a community garden in your area on the American Community Garden Association website. I hope I have inspired you to start your own community garden, or at the very least you can't wait to start gardening on the plot you are waiting for or already have (share your experience with Mother Earth Living).
As always, if you have a comment or question about any of my posts, please write to me here with a comment or my e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and put in the subject line “Herb Comment or Question.” Talk to you soon.
You can check out the Lemon Verbena Lady at her blog Lemon Verbena Lady's Herb Garden.