I’ve been getting a lot of questions recently from people looking to start a community garden in their neighborhood. What I’ve included below is by no means a definitive guide, since there are lots of publications on community gardening out there now. However, these are the publications I have read and can wholeheartedly recommend. Feel free to add your own recommendations in the comments.
- “How Does Our Garden Grow: A Guide to Community Garden Success” – Get this guidebook written by Laura Berman and published by FoodShare. It covers everything including: finding a site, approaching the landowner, dealing with bureaucratic red tape, creating rules and expectations, growing the community in a positive way, handling potential social problems within the community garden group, when to start, safety issues, as well as the growing how-to information.
- Community Gardening 101: Online workshop – FoodShare also has an archived online workshop that can guide you through getting a group together to fundraising.
- Brooklyn Botanic Garden Guide: Community Gardening – This book contains success stories and models, talks about how to build community through horticulture, and provides practical growing tips. On the cover: that’s my hand holding sage grown in my own community garden plot!
- The American Community Garden Association online guide to community gardening – Lots of helpful information covering how to get started, growing guides, and sample forms i.e. rules, plot registration forms, etc.
- City Farmer – News, stories and tips about urban agriculture.
The title is a quote from this video. No truer words have been spoken.
Spring must be in the air because I bought two cactus plants this week. The first is some kind of barrel cactus with beautiful burgundy spines (photos are forthcoming). The second is the plant seen in the photo above. I just bought it not an hour ago on an outing to the post office. It’s a Rhipsalis capilliformis, and the forth pencil cactus I have grown. I kind of like them, a lot. You can see another in my collection over here.
This week’s purchasing frenzy stems from a sudden impulse to fill my workspace with cheery cut flowers. And I’m not the only one. Over the course of the week, I passed several people on the street carrying bouquets. However, I generally don’t buy cut flowers due to the many problems with the floral industry and because I am inherently cheap. Frankly, I can get a living plant that will offer years of joy for the same price as a bunch of flowers that will be in the compost bin next week. The choice seems obvious.
Besides, the other cactus (not pictured) is blooming! Real blooms, not one of those stuck-on with super glue messes.
This stuff is used as a ground cover everywhere in Austin, Texas. I’m sure southerners are completely sick of it, but it was a treat for this northern gardener who is only used to seeing it growing indoors in a pot. Mind you, I’d never waste precious window space on it myself, but can absolutely appreciate the look when it is left outdoors to wander and spread.
I could not have missed this plant if I tried. The smell (which is wonderful, by-the-way, but very heady) was everywhere.
Here’s a photo I took last year.
I have searched high and low in Canada for a place that sells ‘Meyer’ lemon trees. No such luck. Whenever I visit the U.S I am taunted by all of the trees I find for sale in various garden stores. It doesn’t matter whether I am in a warm southern state, a temperate state, or a cold, Northern state. ‘Meyer’ lemon trees are sold in every city.
It’s like America is sticking its tongue out at me and laughing.
If you have have occasion to smell a ‘Meyer’ lemon blossom or taste a fruit, do it. You will not be disappointed. It is the happiest smell in the world.