This is the conclusion of a series. Click here to read Community Gardening: What We’ve Learned Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.
These things we have learned are shared with the hope that you might consider participating in a community garden.
Collaborative effort is hard work. While many hands make light work, the scheduling of such light work may be downright inconvenient.
If I were to build my own compost bin at home, I would do it on my own time, but I would have to do it all by myself. Working to build compost bins for an entire garden might be less manual labor for one person but we all have to be there at the same time to benefit from the community aspect of the project. When’s the last time you tried to coordinate a good meeting time for twenty different people?
And let’s not forget that getting any group of people to respectfully exchange ideas is a challenge at best. Some people want to use a tiller while others want to double dig to disturb the soil as little as possible. Still others don’t want to dig at all but plan to put down cardboard and build a lasagna garden. Some people want to allow pets in the garden while others are completely opposed to this idea. These are actual issues that can be difficult to work out.
When embarking on this communal journey, consider the flexibility of your schedule and your interest in exchanging ideas with people who will have very different opinions.
Many people let their lack of experience rob them of a learning opportunity. One of the main responses I have heard from people invited to garden with us is that they would love to grow their own food but they don’t have a clue how to and don’t want people to look down on them for being beginners. My response is that a heart to learn and a willingness to make mistakes is what will make you a successful gardener. Most gardeners learn from trial and error. Honest.
While you may not be a master gardener, you might have other skills to contribute to the future success of your community garden. Gardening isn’t all compost and raised beds. Fund raising, donating the harvest, and keeping the group communicating are all jobs that take time and talent. Take time to find out each person’s strengths so they can be utilized for the good of the entire organization.
Find a community garden where your talents can be best utilized and where your deficiencies are covered by the community.
These are some of the things we’ve learned through making mistakes. I hope they help you to be willing to make your own.
What tips for successful community gardening can you share? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Beth is a wife to Mike and mother to their five children who range in age from toddler to teen. She spends her days doing school and her nights doing laundry. Saving money in the meantime helps. Beth is learning how to live organically now in the hopes of one day being a successful homesteader.