6 steps to starting a community garden

Starting a community garden is a great way to eat fresh produce, socialize with new friends and exercise outdoors. Through its benefits a garden can even help you better manage your diabetes. Here are some tips to get you started.

6 steps to starting a community garden

1. Recruit help

Enlist a few friends to join you. This will take some of the workload of starting up the garden off your shoulders.

  • You can also connect with people through neighbourhood associations, gardening clubs, your church or a civic association.
  • Most people will not travel far to garden, so put your recruiting efforts into a three-kilometre (just under two-mile) radius of the possible garden location.
  • Another idea is to get involved with a school district. Many encourage gardens as part of an educational program, and they are always looking for volunteers who'd like to get involved.

2. Find a plot

The biggest issue is finding the land to use. You'll need a site that gets at least six hours of sunlight daily and has access to water. See what resources exist in your neighbourhood.

  • If you have an area in mind, such as an empty lot near your house, ask at the neighbouring houses or businesses about who owns the property, contact them and see if they'd be interested in sponsoring a neighbourhood garden. Note that you may need to buy liability insurance.
  • Check with your parks and recreation department; it's possible you might be able to use park land.
  • Before you commit to any land, do a soil check. You can find a soil test lab by searching online or by asking a local agriculture college.
  • Finally, be sure to check with your city hall or police station about required permits.

3. Get to know your region

If you're an experienced gardener, you probably already know what you want to plant and when to plant it. But if you are new to gardening, you'll want to do some homework.

  • Beginning gardening books can tell you what typically grows in each season, how often you'll need to water and fertilize, how to prepare the soil, how to sketch a garden plot with what is to be planted where and what tools you'll need.

4. Create a garden committee

The size and experience level of the group you'll need will depend on the size of land you have to plant and how complex you'd like the garden to be.

  • Maybe you will need only a few friends, or maybe you're looking to have a large neighbourhood resource.
  • Decide on a meeting place and time, then post flyers at the local gardening club, school district, library, community centre, coffee shops, post office and the local college's agriculture department, if there is one.

5. Have a kickoff meeting

At the first meeting, decide on issues such whether you want to have individual plots or one cooperatively managed garden and how you'll get funds to start gardening.

  • Maybe each person can bring their own gardening tools each time you meet, but you'll still need to decide on how to get seeds or small plants.
  • Do you want to seek funding and donations to work on the property, or would the group prefer to pay membership dues that would cover the costs for all items?

Also decide how you'll rotate your weekly maintenance and meeting schedules.

6. Prepare your plot

Most of your first work day will be spent preparing the soil.

  • You'll need to clean the site of any weeds, turn or plow the soil and fertilize.
  • You can also use the first day to formalize your garden plan and decide on plot sizes and responsibilities for various sections.
  • Be sure to include a compost area so you can create your own garden fertilizer from plant leftovers.

After the soil is ready, meet for your first planting day.

Starting a community garden takes some work, but the benefits should make it well worth your time!

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
Close menu