Get Planting: Building Your Own Community Garden

A basket of community garden vegetables: onions, beets, and carrots

It’s almost dinnertime, the kids are fighting over the iPad, the dog is barking wildly — the whole house is stirring. You come out of the kitchen and set down a colorful salad with greens grown in your community garden. Suddenly, everything stops — dinner is ready.  

Okay, so maybe there’s no community garden just yet and the kids are surreptitiously feeding salad bits to the dog.

You can alter your supermarket salad reality and start your own community garden. Whether it’s for bragging rights or just to have pride in your own green thumb, get started right now to have a bountiful harvest before the year is up.  


It takes a village to raise a garden

To build a garden, you’ll have to recruit. You can invite your friends, neighbors, community organizations, and even the man who jogs down your street with that hip fanny pack that holds little water bottles. Everyone is going to want a piece of this garden.


Choosing a site

The ideal site is accessible by the members of your community garden, receives a healthy dose of daily sunshine, and has a water source. If you already have a location in mind, contact the owner of the site and get permission to use the land. You’ll want to do a soil test to make sure the site is clean and the plants will flourish. Once the location is settled, the rest is carrot cake.


Identify talents and resources

During the first meeting, ask people to think about how they can contribute to the cause. There will be a need for both creatives and realists. The garden will thrive with people who can:

  • Design attractive flyers
  • Write captivating newsletters
  • Layout an informative bulletin board
  • Make fun garden signs
  • Design a unique garden layout
  • Organize and disseminate information to the group
  • Pass on gardening knowledge to the group

Everyone can contribute in any way they can.


The rules

For a garden that will be the green envy of the county, you’ll need rules. People are more likely to follow rules if they help put them in place, so make sure to involve everyone! Create a list of questions that will need answers as the project progresses: How will people get to choose their plots? Will there be membership dues? Will there be fines for bad behavior?

Keep the rules focused on how someone can help maintain their plot in the most respectful way possible. If everyone is doing their part, it’ll help keep diseases and weeds at bay. If you’re at a loss, check out some sample rules from the American Community Gardening Association.


The community garden

The mild Atlanta weather will help nurture your classic fall vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, beets, onions, mustard, collards, spinach and turnips. Use your in-laws’ annual Thanksgiving dinner for gardening inspiration.


A community garden is an exciting prospect and maybe a touch daunting. But for someone who takes as much pride in this community garden as you do in your lawn, building a garden will be rewarding. Gardens contribute to a communal identity, a sustainable microenvironment, closer family ties, and a list of benefits that’s longer than the variety of seeds you can plant.

Let take care of your lawn so you’ll have time to turn your dinner daydreams into a reality for everyone in your community.

Topics: Gardening, Lawn, Lawn Tips