Gardening with others
Gardening is a wonderful way to turn strangers into neighbours; to make friends and develop a sense of community.
Community gardens vary in size, I have been part of a community garden with ten plots and one with 100 plots, and both were unique experiences with a few commonalities.
In the city where I am now living, I am sharing a garden space with one other person. We do not call it a community garden but a cooperative one as we look after the plants together and will split the harvest equally.
Next year this garden may grow as there are two people who live very nearby and may join us. How we operate may change.
For example, we could decide to build raised beds rather than staying with the container style garden we chose for this year’s gardening. I enjoy growing in containers and we did it this year because we had the containers and do like working more with soil and teaching others how to build and care for the soil, plus this is a large yard and we could grow much more than we are currently doing.
One garden arrangement is that we could each have our personal raised beds so that we can grow whatever interests us, organically, naturally. Then, we could create a larger raised bed where the squash would grow and we would share the harvest,
Each of us would be responsible for tending our own plots but would set up a schedule for looking after the communal one. The decisions will be made next spring when we gather to make our plans and to decide what to grow, how.
For several years I was the volunteer garden coordinator at a small, new community garden. There were 12 plots, all ten by 12 feet in size. The gardeners had to sign a contract which set out the basic terms; agreeing to grow organically and to keep their ploys tended for example.
We held a garden launch and I gave a workshop on organic gardening; at the end of the season we got together to clean the garden and prepare the beds for the following season and a picnic lunch.
This garden was in a beautiful setting and the sense of serenity that swept over me every day I went there was enhanced by the fact that people who had once been strangers had in just a few short weeks, become friends.