You might live in a townhouse with a postage stamp-sized yard. Perhaps you live in an apartment building without a balcony or access to green space. Perhaps you have a large yard, but it is completely shaded by large trees, or the soil in your yard is not hospitable to growing edible plants such as tomatoes, herbs and peppers. If this is the case, a community garden plot may be just the solution.
Advantages of Community Gardening
Good Soil and Sun Exposure
Community gardening allows individuals and families to cultivate plants and grow food when otherwise they may not be able to due to conditions at their own home. Many community gardens are located in areas with mostly sunny exposure, perfect for growing vegetables and many varieties of perennial and annual flowers.
Tools and Storage are Shared
Many community gardens are equipped with garden tools such as shovels, rakes, wheelbarrows, buckets and watering cans, all of which are available for members of the garden to use. Member gardeners usually share the responsibility of upkeep and maintenance of the tools. Some community gardens have a shed on the property for storing this equipment. A well-organized community garden could even keep a supply of sun screen and spare gardening gloves on hand.
Sharing Plants and Seeds
Some community gardens organize an annual seed swap where gardeners can bring extra seeds from their collection for trading with other gardeners. Cuttings of annual plants and extra seedlings are also often traded at swaps.
Compost is easy to generate and maintain when many gardeners are contributing to the pile. Green and brown garden scraps and weeds that have not gone to seed can be tossed onto the pile. As this plant matter is broken down naturally, it can be added to the existing soil to add nutrients to it. Because there are many gardeners at a community garden, the labor required to keep the pile turned and aerated is divided, while the rewards can be reaped by all who participate.
Make sure you know how to build the perfect compost pile, share with your fellows community gardeners.
Connecting with Other Gardeners
While many gardeners enjoy the peace, solitude and tranquility of gardening, others long to find like-minded folks to talk with about growing plants. Becoming a member of a community garden ensures that there will be other gardeners around to connect with. Community gardeners can share tips, tricks and lessons learned with one another.
More and more community gardens are taking up the policy of growing without chemical pesticides or fertilizers. When communities begin to take notice of how productive an organic garden can be, the message is spread that growing organically is a successful and worthwhile endeavor. While fraught with its own set of challenges, banding together with the other garden members will make it easier to fight pests and weeds without the use of chemicals.