Community gardens bring people of diverse backgrounds together to share their love of gardening. Gardening is a labor of love and includes equal parts of both. With all of the time and care that you put into your garden, you want it to lead to a successful harvest. Unfortunately, that is not always the case, and things don’t go as planned.
Thankfully, there are some things that you can do to save yourself from such hardship. Preparing your garden bed properly, picking the right plants, and maintaining your garden plot will lead to a successful community gardening endeavor with higher yields. Follow these tips on how to make your community garden plots thrive!
How to Prepare Your Community Garden Plot
- Clear the garden plot of weeds. When you are introduced to your new garden plot, you are likely to be presented by weedy overgrowth and expired plants from the year prior. Try not to get overwhelmed, but be diligent clear away all plant foliage and clear the garden plot thoroughly. You don’t want diseased foliage in your garden bed.
- Amend the soil with well-decomposed compost and other organic material at least two weeks before planting.
- Spend time with your garden plot and watch the path of the sun and determine the layout of your garden bed based on sunlight and shading patterns.
- Select low maintenance plants and start planting.
Selecting Plants for your Community Garden Plot
There are so many plant varieties out there that it can be hard to choose. Ask veteran gardeners in the community garden what has worked for them and what hasn’t. Start simple. It’s best to grow a few things well to gain some confidence, which will encourage you to stick with it. Here are some things to consider when selecting your plants, as well as some suggestions for easy growing vegetables to help get you started.
Follow Community Guidelines
Become familiar with the rules and guidelines associated with restrictions on plants in the community garden. Some plants like mint varieties can tunnel in the ground and spread so quickly that they become a menace to the entire community of plots.
Practice the Art of Companion Planting
Select plants that work well together-companion planting. They will feed each other and protect your plants from garden pests. Companion plants will attract pollinators to your garden and deter unwanted pests from munching on your leaves and decimating your garden.
Choose Low Maintenance Plants
Here are some suggestions for easy to grow plants to try as you get started with your community garden plot. They will all grow pretty well without the need for constant care. Keep things simple and celebrate successes. You can always try out some new additions next year once you get a sense of how your first year garden of low maintenance plants grows.
- Tomatoes, particularly cherry
Community garden plots restrict gardeners with certain boundaries for their garden beds. To get more out of your garden plot’s real estate, consider growing some plants vertically on obelisks, cages, teepees, and trellises.
Practice Regular Weeding Habits
You likely won’t be visiting your garden plot every day, so it is essential to weed it when you are there. Weeds can compete with plants for nutrients, water, and sunlight and propagate very quickly once allowed to take root. Pesky weeds can take over your garden, and they can also release weed seeds that will spread to other garden plots, making them menacing neighbors in the community.
Weed whenever you visit your community garden plot. Concoct a bottle of organic weed killer made from 2 parts distilled white vinegar, 1 part water, and a couple of teaspoons of dish soap in a spray bottle and bring along with you on garden visits. Spritz the leaves of unwanted weeds and let the hot sun assist in withering nuisance weeds away.
Use mulch around the plants in your community garden plot. Not only does mulch help to deter weeds, but it also can help keep your garden soil moist and protected while you are not there to tend it.
Seek Advice from other Community Gardeners
Part of the fun of being a part of a community garden is that it brings people together. Fellow gardeners who have had their plots longer than you may have already done some troubleshooting of their own at the location and can be a wealth of information on how to help your parcel thrive. Make connections, ask questions, and be open to learning some tips and tricks from other gardeners.