Community Gardening: Getting Started

Community GardeningCommunity gardening is all about turning outdoor spaces, be they private or public, into cultivated gardens where food can be grown. Community gardens help urban citizens to grow their own food and help to build relationships and community bonds. There are, however, some issues specific to tending a communal plot that newcomers may not be aware of. One of the first things you may need when getting started with community gardening is your own tools, says Beth from “The Thrifty Mama”.

Community Gardening: Tools of the Trade

They do not sell many garden tools at the dollar store.  Garden tools are expensive and a huge portion of the upfront cost of starting ANY garden.  Community gardens might have community tools and they might not.  We purchased our own digging spade, loop hoe, spray nozzle, work gloves, and hand tools.  Our initial purchase of medium-quality tools came to around $75.  Other tools that you might have to supply are hoses,  tillers, wheelbarrows and rakes.  Make sure to check with the coordinator so you can plan for any purchases.  Check your neighbors to see if you can borrow tools that they might not be using anymore.

Plan your buying and storing of organic and heirloom seeds.  The stores in my area seem to quickly sell out of the seeds I want to plant next.  And these seeds aren’t cheap.  The non-conventional seeds I get can cost twice as much as “regular” seeds for less volume per packet.  I try to buy seeds out of season if I can so I can get a clearance price.  Ordering online is a good option if you can get decent shipping rates to your location.

Another issue that many deal with at a community garden is water. While some gardens may have a ready supply of water on hand, others may not. Depending on the rules governing your community plot, you may have to purchase water from a metered source, collect rain water in barrels, or even bring in water to keep your garden growing. You should confirm where the water will be coming from and how, before you sign up for a plot.

Community gardening brings people from all walks of life together to share their passion for gardening. It also provides those who would otherwise be unable to garden a chance to do so, and is a means used by individuals and community groups to grow food for themselves and for others in need.

Read more about Beth’s initiation into community gardening, here. And, share with us your own experiences, tips and tricks below.

Photo by Jeff Schuler

Update: We are sad to say that the website hosting this story, the thrifty mama, appears to no longer be online.



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