Community gardens are sprouting up (pun intended) across communities worldwide. In towns and cities of all sizes, it’s becoming more and more common to come across groups of wooden boxes teeming with fresh produce and flowers. These gardens, which can be on public or private (with permission) land, are shared between several community members who use their designated sections to grow their own fare. Here are eight reasons why you should sign up for your own plot right now.
There’s a reason that gardening is a beloved hobby for many: it’s fun. In a world of screens, beeps and clicks, there’s nothing more relaxing and enjoyable than playing around in the dirt. Planting the seeds and tending to your garden plot gives you another reason to spend some time outside, and the smells and textures will bring you right back to your sandbox days.
Get to Know Your Neighbors
You can’t have a community garden without a community, right? Despite living so close to one another, it’s easy to feel disconnected from your neighbors in an urban area. Since plots require ongoing care and attention, you’re bound to see the same people from time to time. Ask them about a peculiar plant in their plot or swap growing tips, and you’ll make making friends in no time!
Learn Something New
Growing your own goods will require you to do a little homework on what plants work well with your climate. You’ll need to do some research into harvesting time, growing requirements, and sun and shade needs that work with your plot’s exposure. There’s no doubt that you’ll learn a few new trick.
Give Something Back
If you find yourself inundated with spinach (who knew so few seeds could produce so many plants!), you can donate it to people who would certainly appreciate some fresh produce. Organizations like Ample Harvest connect community gardeners with local food banks to ensure that excess produce isn’t put to waste.
You Are What You Eat
The source of food has become a hot topic in recent years. Growing your own fare in a community garden means that you know where your food is coming from and how it is being grown. Scout out reputable seed sources and decide what fertilizers and pesticides you are comfortable with, if any. It’s refreshing to be in control of your food.
Save Your Money
Plot fees are usually pretty minimal, and the cost of seeds is ridiculously low, considering how many seeds you’re getting. When it’s all said and done, the cost of what you harvest will be far less that what you would have spent buying the equivalent in a grocery store. Even better, it’ll feel like a bottomless resource during harvesting time. Some vegetables, like lettuces, grow even faster the more you pick them. So pick away!
A Lot of the Work is Done For You
Community gardens require much less maintenance than if you had your own backyard garden. It’s a good idea to pitch in with maintenance throughout the entire garden, but most of the time, you’ll only need to tend to your relatively small and very manageable box of dirt. Your ongoing maintenance will consist of a little watering and pruning– you can be in and out in a few minutes.
It’s Ridiculously Rewarding
When that first green bean is ready to be picked and eaten, you will feel a sense of elation like no other. You’ll have seen that little bean through so much, from its early days as a seed in the ground to its daily progress as it became even greener and brighter. It will be the most delicious bean you have ever tasted in your life. The entire experience is much, much more rewarding than simply grabbing a handful and tossing it into a plastic bag at the grocery store.
Interested in finding a local garden or starting one up in your community? The American Community Gardening Association (ACGA) is a great resource to provide you with everything you’ll need to get started.