A Newbie’s Guide to Community Garden Etiquette
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of growing one’s own. However, not everyone has the luxury of spacious lands and backyards. That’s why community gardens are a gem to urban dwellers.
A community garden is a shared space where people within an area have the opportunity to grow vegetables, fruits, herbs and at times, even livestock. Its size, set up and rules vary from one to the next.
The Beauty of Community Gardening
These community gardens are a treasure to city folks for many reasons. One, it provides them a larger space to develop their green thumb, as often, one only has his or her balcony to grow. Second, it provides them with a sense of belongingness. In the fast-paced life of big city living, being surrounded by people with shared interest can amplify one’s mental, physical and emotional health. Lastly, community gardens teach us to be more mindful, caring and disciplined.
Rules of Community Gardens
Practicing community garden etiquette keeps everyone on their toes, and their plants undisturbedly growing. If it’s your first time joining one, here are some key things to remember.
Watch where you walk
Community gardens always have paths for one reason: To keep everyone from stepping on someone else’s spots. Sure, some areas may appear as plain soil but more often than not, there are delicate seedlings underneath the ground. Keep to the paths and stay out of plots. Walk in between them. Be on high alert when you’re walking around.
Clean up after yourself
Once you finish weeding, trimming and putting fertilizer in, clean up after yourself. Ensure you’re not dirtying your neighbors’ areas. Leave the space clean and attractive so it always uplifts spirits. Each time you visit the gardens, be sure to have a bag to collect your trash with you.
Keep a pattern for other plants
Keeping a pattern is vital to community garden etiquette. When you’re growing, following a planting location allows everyone else’s plants to enjoy the sun. If you’re not mindful of this, your plants will be casting a shadow on others’. So make sure to keep a pattern, and have the shadows cast on the walking paths instead.
Only water your garden
Unless someone asks for a favor, only ever water your garden. Don’t allow it to leak towards other plots. Even if it can get tempting to drizzle a little bit on to others’ patches, don’t. It’s most likely that your neighboring gardeners keep to a schedule. The best thing to do is to respect the boundaries.
Skip the chemicals
Many are working hard towards organic, 100% greener gardening. You should too. Not only does it hurt Mother Earth, it also may affect your neighbor’s plants. Skip the chemicals altogether. There are DIY repellant sprays you can do at home. There are plenty of natural pesticides that are being sold to the market as well.
Share your excess
If your produce has been bountiful and you can’t consume it all, share it with your fellow gardeners. There’s no point in letting your hard work go to waste. Plus, you might just be able to enjoy a share of their bounty too.
It’s a community garden where people have a chance to connect with each other. There will be a few gatherings and small events here and there. Take the time to participate in them. You’ll never know what you’ll learn.