This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he always thought the garden was his. Even though I do all the work, he always stood by me. I'm located near Boston (in USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot and a backyard vegetable garden. I use sustainable organic methods and try to grow all of my family's vegetables.

Monday, September 24, 2012

community garden meeting

We have an "Input Meeting" scheduled for our Community Garden tomorrow evening. We'll discuss what's most important for a community garden to provide, how do we give all gardeners a voice, and how do get things done. Our Garden management gets plenty of input about what gardeners want the Gardens to provide, but fewer ideas on HOW to get it done.

I don't know if these are common issues for community gardens. I'm curious about the experience of other community gardeners.

Our Community Garden is unique for our area as we're large (148 plots covering 2 acres) with a diverse mix of gardeners (since we have no residency requirement). We have a wonderful multicultural mix of all sorts of gardening styles and gardener personalities.

How is your Community Garden managed? Do all gardeners have a voice? What services does the garden management provide to gardeners?

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8 Comments:

Blogger anne dinan said...

i am gardening for my 7th year at the amesbury community gardens(mass). we have around 150 or so plots that are a nice big 20'x20'.
our town conservation commission usually heads up everything with the help of many gardeners to stake of the plots every spring.
i have one wish that we dont plow the field every spring but cant seem to get that to happen. how to you deal with at your garden?

September 25, 2012 4:15 PM

 
Blogger kathy said...

We all have our own fences. They stay up year round and we all til our own soil - or not.

What happens in your garden if a plot is not tended?

September 25, 2012 4:54 PM

 
Blogger anne dinan said...

well there are always a few abandoned plots and they just turn to weeds if no one takes them over.

September 25, 2012 4:58 PM

 
Blogger Green Tamarind said...

At our community garden in Manitoba, most of the plots are in open rows that get tilled every spring and fall with a farm-size tiller. We also have a few raised beds that have to be worked over by the gardeners, and we added a new area with a square foot layout that doesn't get tilled, so people can plant a perennial or fall crop. We don't have any fences, we mark out the plots with stakes and string, then people can leave the string or remove it as they choose.

We have a process for notifying gardeners if their plot is too weedy - we ask them to clean it up, or to ask for help if they need it. After a few warnings the garden committee has the right to reclaim the garden, till it and reassign it. That has very seldom happened as most people have come back and weeded when asked.
We also have occasional work parties to clean up the common areas, and will clean up weedy plots if there are enough helpers.
Last year it was cold and rainy, several of the newly dug plots did very poorly and some were abandoned partway through the year. This year it was warm and dry, and the plots all did pretty well, I don't think any were abandoned.
There is a coordinator that looks after administration, and a garden committee of gardeners that look after the day to day running of things such as the clean-up, tilling, maintaining the water taps etc. The committee are volunteers and there have been a few consistent ones over the years, and others have turned over.

September 26, 2012 9:41 AM

 
Blogger kathy said...

thanks!!! It sounds like it runs very smoothly

September 26, 2012 10:43 AM

 
Anonymous Joe said...

Our garden is made up of about 100 plots that are a mix of 20'x20' and 10'x10'. We too have a diverse mix of gardening styles, such that it is very interesting to walk around the garden and take a look at how the different people do different things. The plots are not tilled for us, which allows people to overwinter certain crops and build semi-permanent improvements (fences, raised beds, etc). The garden board is made up of volunteers, and I've found them to be quite receptive to suggestions. They are responsible for organizing the garden work parties and other events at the garden. As far as what happens to untended gardens, if you haven't touched your plot by a certain date (I think it's May 15), you have forfeited your plot and it's given to the next person on the waiting list. If during the course of the growing season your plot is having too many weeds go to seed, you'll get reminded to tend your plot and risk losing your plot for the next year (I assume this is at the discretion of the garden board).

September 26, 2012 2:04 PM

 
Blogger Mal's Allotment said...

Enjoying reading these comments about how things are managed with you. Our "allotments" are our Community Gardens here in Edinburgh. 1,300 plots each 10 yards by 20 yards. They date back to before the First World War although their boom was during the 2nd World War. The number of plots has reduced considerably since then - either because they went out of fashion or because of the property boom. Whatever the cause there has been a long waiting list for many years now. Currently 2 people are on the waiting list for every one person with a plot. One result of this is that rents have been increased dramatically from £30 to £100 in 9 years. Although there is an eviction procedure in practice people have seldom been evicted from their plots, instead being issued with warning letters inviting them to improve or relinquish the plot. This is all changing and the new policy is third strike (third warning letter) and you are out. We all have to cultivate our own plots - and keep the adjoining paths up to an acceptable standard.

We have a show of produce once a year at which prizes are awarded for the best vegetables, flowers and kitchen produce. Very few people participate (about 60 out of 1,500)


September 30, 2012 4:56 PM

 
Blogger kathy said...

Thanks!!! I just love to read about other community gardens. I would love to see the Edinburgh gardens. They must cover 10's of acres! 100 pounds is over 4 times our fee. That alone must select who really wants to put the time into the land.

Is seems a theme that waiting lists are long and fees are increasing.

To try to reduce the number of untended gardens, we are starting a volunteer group to help sick or busy gardeners weed. Nearly everyone loves their garden plots, but many have unexpected things that come up and take time away from plot tending. We are also considering a 3 strike policy. And I think fees will probably go up.

September 30, 2012 5:55 PM

 

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