Nothing is more rewarding than growing fresh vegetables and flowers in your own home garden. After all the hard work you put into it, it is satisfying to note that you have easy access to far superior lettuce and tomatoes than those you find in the supermarket.
Unfortunately, however, many city dwellers do not have the privilege of owning a yard to plant a garden in or even a balcony where one could grow a container garden. On the other hand, most cities are dotted with perfectly good vacant lots that are unused.
Rather than leaving these lands just filling up with rubbish, communities in the cities can turn them into urban gardening spaces. It is a sure win-win for every resident and the society as a whole.
In recent years, cities worldwide are turning dilapidated, unused spaces into beautiful community gardens giving everyone the chance to enjoy the pleasures of gardening.
Sharing economy is the essence of community gardens. Through community gardens, individuals who otherwise cannot afford land to turn into a garden are given a chance to enjoy the resources.
The Benefits of Community Gardens
Healthier & Cleaner Environment
Gardening in urban areas gives city dwellers a chance to enjoy the fresh air while being engaged in a healthy outdoor exercise. With the multitude of plants in the community garden, more oxygen is added to the environment, and air pollution is reduced.
Urban gardens provide a peaceful retreat from all the hustle and bustle and noise of city living. Families who otherwise could not afford fresh and nutritious produce can enjoy these for free, significantly improving their diet and overall health.
A lot of community gardens are found on one empty lot filled with ugly debris. The once urban eyesores are turned into beautiful lush greenery that improves the quality of life living in the neighborhood and increases the property value of the surrounding areas.
Building a community garden offers a chance for everyone in the neighborhood to connect. With all the efforts given in creating the garden, people feel more invested in the place, giving them a sense of ownership and strengthening community spirit.
Since more people spend time outside tending the community garden, crime rates in the neighborhood are likely to reduce.
How to Create Your Own Community Garden
1. Find a Site
The most crucial step in building a community garden is to figure out where to build it. Search in your neighborhood for any lot with the following characteristics:
- It is not utilized by anyone for anything.
- It gets plenty of sunshine, at least 6 hours a day.
- It has a good water source.
- It does not have any large and heavy pieces of debris that are hard to remove.
- It is close to people in the neighborhood.
Have at least the different site options, just in case your initial choice does not work out. Reach out to the property owner and ask your neighborhood to lease the land for your community garden.
If the owner consents, consider having the soil at the site tested for any heavy metals. Having the soil tested allows you to know its fertility and pH, allowing you to know if the site is good for building a garden.
2. Think of Your Plant Options
The next step would be to decide what you want the community garden to include.
Knowing the dimension of the site makes planning out the location of different elements easier. Community gardens usually have the following components:
- Garden plots
- Pathways between beds
- Compost bin
- Shed for storing tools
- Benches and picnic table
- Source of shade
- A fence surrounding the area.
Flower beds, fruit trees, and a community bulletin board are also nice additions to your community garden. If the community garden is small, you might want to consider using shipping container farms for vertical gardening.
3. Create a Budget
Once you have figured out what you want to include in your garden, the next step would be to create a budget of what it will cost. Labor is provided for free by volunteers, but you still need money to pay for the land lease, buy seeds, fertilizers, composts, tools, and other gardening needs.
Fundraisers, sponsorships, and membership dues are just some ways for you to fund your garden. But if you cannot raise enough cash to fund your dream community garden, you can always consider scaling back your plan. Start with just the basics, and after getting enough funds, you add your other ideas.
Now that you have everything planned out, you are ready to start your community garden!