Does Your Church Have a Community Garden or Plan to Start One? Read This!

7/11/2014

In her work with UGA's Center for Urban Agriculture, Sixes UMC member Becky Griffin has seen many church-sponsored community gardens get started with good intentions, but eventually fail. If your church has a community garden or is thinking of starting one, she recommends a blog that shares resources on all things related to community gardening: http://blog.extension.uga.edu/communitygardening. Read more below.
 

Community Garden Blog is Excellent Resource

The Center for Urban Agriculture and UGA Extension have created a resource specifically aimed at community gardeners: a community gardening blog. Often community gardeners are beginners joining a garden to learn from more experienced growers. Also, there are issues specific to gardening in a community setting. The blog, http://blog.extension.uga.edu/communitygardening, addresses those issues and more using university, researched based information.
 
Beginning gardeners need basic information on soil science, the needs of individual vegetables and basic plant care. All gardeners need information about current pest and disease control options, sustainable gardening practices, and plant selection.
 
Community gardening usually means intensive gardening, many plants in a small area. Information on crop rotation and succession planting is imperative here.  Also, choosing the appropriate cultivar of vegetable can be important to a successful harvest.
 
Gardening in a community setting also means establishing etiquette. Guidelines should be agreed upon before any planting begins.  How much does it cost to be a member of the garden?  How is water provided? What about children? Are dogs allowed? What type of pesticides can be used? What if someone does not care for their plot or doesn’t harvest their food? All these should be addressed before problems occur.
 
Gardeners learn from other gardens. The Community Gardening blog occasionally highlights a specific garden showing photos of the layout and interviewing member. Gardens are as unique as their gardeners and it is interesting to see how other people have organized their space. Also, it is important to enjoy the camaraderie and fellowship of other growers. How does each garden do that? Some gardens provide seating.  Some have occasional classes.  Some have ice cream socials or watermelon cuttings. It is always possible to get ideas from others.
 
Blog posts are published weekly and a free subscription service is available. Posts frequently link to an Extension publication and experienced community gardeners write the blog posts. Occasional guest bloggers include chefs giving recipes for an overabundance of produce as well as experts in specific aspects of gardening.
 
A page listing upcoming classes or trainings available is attached to the blog and is updated weekly. Recent post titles include Composting in the Garden, Growing Popcorn, and How to Correctly Plant a Tomato. The subject matter is varied and far-reaching. For more information on the blog contact Becky Griffin at beckygri@uga.edu. Better yet, visit the blog at http://blog.extension.uga.edu/communitygardening


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