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Bloom Where You’re Planted: Inspiration for Growing a Community Garden

A little dirt under your fingernails will do you good. And getting to know your neighbors over a freshly grown dinner salad will do you one better. Community gardens can be a collection of individual garden plots or one shared plot. You can grow flowers or vegetables. Gardens can be planted in an urban setting, or in your neighborhood. However you decide to approach a community garden project, we’re certain it’s worth the work.

Planting a community garden will benefit you and your neighborhood in a number of ways. Keep reading to learn more about starting and maintaining a community garden.

Getting Started
The initial phase of creating a community garden is simpler than it sounds. It won’t take much to get the ball rolling or the dirt tilled. All you need is a group of interested co-gardeners and a plot of land. Some community gardens are tended by a group of interested neighbors, or students learning about good nutrition and plant science. Ask around for interested co-gardeners. Put up a sign in your yard. Post a notice in your neighborhood newspaper if you have one. Ask the local library or parks department to help you spread the word.

As for the plot, your garden can be on school, park or hospital grounds. If you can’t use public land, perhaps another participant is willing to part with a patch of their backyard.

What to Plant
Especially if you choose to make your garden a shared plot, let the plants be chosen collectively. To facilitate the decision-making process, consider the inspiration for your project. Was it to grow more affordable food? Then focus on potatoes, lettuce, peppers and tomatoes. Perhaps the purpose of your garden was to spruce up a concrete-ridden urban area. If so, fill your plot with hardy flowers such as asters, black-eyed susans and blazing stars.

Use garden labels to identify every plant in your group’s plot. Visitors will enjoy your gardening all the more when they know what they’re looking at. And be sure to give your group credit, too. Adding a sign with all of your gardeners’ names is a generous way to recognize and thank fellow planters.

Keeping Up with Upkeep
If you want your bond with fellow gardeners to be as deep as your potatoes are planted, schedule time to tend your garden together. Take turns watering the flowers or veggies on different days of the week, but consider meeting on Saturday mornings to weed and enjoy the fruits (literal or not) of your labor.

Creating a community garden is a fulfilling hobby that can strengthen relationships with neighbors and teach children in your community about healthy eating. You can even donate some of your fresh garden veggies to a local food bank.

The positive effects of starting a community garden make it a worthwhile endeavor that your whole community will benefit from. Ask around for help, grab a shovel and go play in the dirt.