Make a community garden!


*Gardens are possible anywhere. According to Boston Urban Gardeners, "Carrie Sargent, resident of a drug- and crime-torn section of Boston, had a vision to create a community garden. She worked to have one of the many empty lots on her street, a site for illegal dumping, crime, and abandoned and stolen cars, purchased by a local nonprofit organization to turn into a garden... Today it's a flourishing community garden, a safe, beautiful place for neighbours to meet and grow food together."

START A COMMUNITY GARDEN

*Get people involved. According to one expert, you need a core of 3-5 people to start a community garden and see it through. Find out which of your friends or neighbours are interested.

Choose a Spot.

*Make it accessible to everyone. It could be in a backyard, an empty lot, even on church grounds or a  vacant spot.

*If you see a vacant lot you like, find out how to contact the owner and ask permission to use it. He or she may prefer a well-maintained garden to a weed-covered lot.

*If it's city property, there may be a program that encourages the use of vacant lots for community purposes. Ask the BDA!.

*If you think the soil may have been contaminated by chemicals or pollution, get it tested. Call a nursery for details.

*Decide what to plant: flowers, vegetables, native plants...or some of each? Consider including native plants. Try the aloe, marigolds, garlic, lemon grass etc.

*Decide if the garden could be a food source for garden members or the community. For example, you could donate vegetables to a food pantry.

*Short on space? If you don't have enough room for a full garden, use planter boxes. They fit almost anywhere, and they're movable.

RESOURCES

*The City Gardener's Handbook, by Linda Yang (Random House, Inc.) (800)733-3000 Concentrates on the design of small city gardens, an aspect most beginning gardeners ignore.

*A Hand book of Community Gardening, Boston Urban Gardeners.

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