How To Start a Community Garden
In many cities and towns across the country, community gardens are just what the doctor ordered. These small plots of land are cultivated and managed by members of the community
who share an interest in producing fresh fruits and vegetables and even flowers for their home use or for sale. Community gardens have many benefits to both the young and old alike
and have credited with increasing self esteem, reducing obesity, bolstering confidence, increasing civic participation and reducing stress. If you are interested in finding out
more about community gardens, read the steps below and contact your local cooperative extension agent for help.
Gather a group of interest people to brainstorm about the ideal. Check with your county agents for suggestions on how to begin.
Pick a spot for your garden:
Name the garden.
- Minimum of 6 hours of sunlight;
- Adequate water and drainage;
- Prepared land for garden site.
Gather the basic materials that you will need:
- Take all suggestions and either use a lottery or take a vote to ensure fairness in naming.
Decide what to plant.
- planting, growing and harvesting tools;
- seeds, seedlings and fertilizers;
- garden tools;
- scissors, knives and containers.
Design the site:
Test the soil. A basic soil test shows four things:
- Draw a picture of the garden;
- Plan what plants in which row or beds. Figure out how far apart plants should
- Be and remember that taller plants will shade out short plants;
Get the tools.
- Lead level of the soil;
- Ph of the soil;
- Nutrient level of the soil;
- Organic matter content.
Prepare the soil:
- Long-handled shovels, gardening spades, spading forks, hoes and rakes are a bare minimum.
Get ready to plant:
- Till soil then form up rows or beds;
- If needed, add lime, sulfur or fertilizers.
Plant seeds and / or seedlings;
- Buy seeds or seedlings; Check with local county agent for recommended varieties;
- Write names of plants on stakes with a waterproof marker and place at the end of each row;
Work you garden:
- If planting seeds, water the soil immediately after the seeds are planted;
- If planting seedlings, feed with a mixture of fertilizer and water once, let soak in and water a second time.
- Visit garden daily and monitor progress. Conduct needed chores.
- Check with local county agent for pesticide recommendations.
- Gather harvest tools: scissors or knives, baskets, bowls or boxes;
- As produce are picked, place carefully into container. Put heavier ones on bottom so that they do not damage lighter produce;
- Store vegetables under recommended conditions until use, delivery or sale.
Community Gardens are plots of land in a community managed by a group of people who live in close proximity and share an interest in producing fresh fruits, vegetables,
herbs or flowers for their personal use or for sale.
Community gardens provide benefits for all those involved. Children especially benefit from participating in community gardening.
Some of the documented benefits include:
- Cultivating community leaders
- Increasing self esteem
- Bolstering confidence
- Increasing civic participation
- Reducing stress
- Encouraging learning
- Increased academic performance
- Helping feed people and saving money
- Improving nutrition
- Promoting healthier communities
- Reducing crime
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON STARTING A COMMUNITY GARDEN CONTACT:
- Promote healthier communities
- Safe meeting place
- Source of pride for all involved
- Improved the appearance of community
|East Baton Rouge Parish
805 St. Louis Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Owusu Bandele, Ph.D.or Mila Berhane
Baton Rouge, LA 70813
502 First Street
|St. Martin and Iberia Parishes
114 Courthouse Street
Breaux Bridge, LA 70517
300 Grady Britt Drive.
Alexandria, LA 71302
9609 Martlett Street
Bastrop, LA 71221
|St. Landry Parish
Mr. Gerald Roberts
Mr. Ron Nicholas
1065 Hwy 749, Suite A
Opelousas, LA 70570
6640 Riverside Drive Ste. 200
Metarie, LA 70003
Read about Community Gardens started by Southern University Ag Center agents, researchers, and specialists: Soil Survivors
For more information, contact Dawn Mellion-Patin, Ph.D., agriculture specialist at (225) 771-2242 ext. 210 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adapted from: University of Maine Cooperative Extension Bulleting #4300. Food for Me: A Citizen Action Fact Sheet for Community Food Recovery.
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