How to Start a Community Garden

No yard to plant a vegetable or flower garden? No problem! Band together with neighbors to turn an unused tract of land into a shared garden of Eden.


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    Find participants. Organize a meeting of friends and neighbors who are interested in starting a community garden. If you think there are enough people interested, make a joint decision to go ahead with creating a community garden.
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    Choose the type of garden. There are a number of things that should be worked out in advance. Things to decide on together include:
    • Whether you want a vegetable garden, a flower garden, or a combination of both.
    • Whether or not it will be organic.
    • Will each member will have their own plot or will you all work the land together?
    • Discuss whether to approach local businesses to sponsor or donate seeds, gardening tools, and so on. Alternatively, do the rounds of family members who do have gardens, to see if they can donate items.
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    Scout sites. Find a site with a water source and, if you’re growing vegetables, at least six full hours of sunlight daily. Approach the owner about using or leasing the property.
    • Many landowners require that you pay for liability insurance.
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    Set some ground rules. Set ground rules, like maintenance of common areas and what happens if a member neglects or abandons their plot.
    • It's a good idea to restrict members from planting tall crops that will block a neighboring plot’s shade.
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    Prepare the land. Test the soil to see what nutrients it might need; kits are available at gardening centers. Then get everyone together to clean, fertilize, and till the site.
    • Mark plots clearly with each gardener’s name.
    • Include a common compost area.
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    Plant flower beds around the perimeter of vegetable gardens to promote goodwill with neighbors. Check out wikiHow's article on companion planting for ideas of which plants live in harmony, and which don't!
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    Share your bounty. Enjoy your bounty! Have a bumper crop of vegetables? Share your harvest with a local food bank or sell them at a farmer’s market. That way, even more people can enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden space
  • Garden tools
  • Old clothing
  • Ground rules
  • Soil testing kit
  • Plot markers
  • Liability insurance
  • Dog holding zone for people who bring their pets

Sources and Citations

Article Info

Categories: Theme and Feature Gardens