Sunday, December 20, 2009

Community gardening

Community gardens are a great resource for people who want to exercise their green thumbs. A few years ago, I did some reserach and found a publically-owned site just a short distance from our home. Although my plot is small, just 5 feet by 10 feet, I have been able to grow three seasons worth of fresh vegetables for my family. We also share the bounty of several fruit trees and a large red raspberry patch. Of course, as with most folks, the horticultural advice and support from other gardeners is the best part of the experience.

Yesterday, I finally put my little plot to bed for the winter. I searched for any remaining brussel sprouts (none), weeded out any extraneous vegetation and put a cover of chopped up leaves on top of the soil. As in most community gardens, we only use organic products and make sure to not compost with invasive species. Those of us using leaves for plot cover are also careful not to use anything swept from streets or driveways. This is because car exhaust can emit heavy metals and other toxins that can get mixed in with nearby organic material. Thankfully, the small yard we share with our condo association had just enough leaf litter to cover my plot - so I assisted our property management efforts as well.

For those looking for a community garden in their area, the American Community Gardening Association is a good place to start. Their website can direct interested gardeners to local land trusts or horticultural organizations with available locations.

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