Some Matters Concerning Community Gardening

If you’re able to read this page, you, as am I, are very lucky. We have access to food from shops, education and healthcare. If we had been born many years ago, that may not have been the case. Unless you belonged to a moneyed family, having somewhere to grow your own food was not easy to come by.

a place to grow your own food

In Britain, following various movements and reforms to return some of the land to the laborers and other poverty stricken people, in order to try and reduce the taxes paid by the rich to subsidize the poor in the first efforts at a welfare system; the allotment system (in Britain, it is known as allotment garden or just allotment) was devised.

The first go occurred in 1793 didn’t quite go to plan as conditions improved and social unrest receded somewhat, however in 1830, it all fired up again with many farm workers on the edge of starvation.

The allotment movement then took off in earnest and during the next 40 years, over 58,966 acres were turned over to provide 242,542 allotment sites.

Your Own Community Garden

If you do decide to embark on community gardening, unless you’re very lucky with the plot you take on, the chances are you have a good deal of work to do in order to make your community garden fit for growing vegetables.

Many, many people take on a community garden with fantastic intentions of growing all sorts of organic vegetables, but either run out of ideas, momentum or enthusiasm.

The end result being that you may be left with a shed load of back-breaking work to do before you can get started on the actual vegetable growing!

Where to Start with Community Gardening

It’s important to know what kind of soil you’re going to be growing your fruit and vegetable in and on. You can ask your fellow community gardeners, but equally, and all in the name of teaching yourself and learning new things, have a look at the weeds that are growing there.

Many different plants prefer different types of soil and growing conditions, and weeds are no different.

For example:

Creeping Buttercups prefer wet, poorly drained acidic soil.

Ox Eye Daisy like a poorly drained or waterlogged land that is acidic with low fertility.

Dandelions like a heavy clay that is low in lime, or acidic soil.

Field Horsetail likes a light sandy soil that is low in lime or acidic.

If you’re unable to identify the weeds growing, you could always take a photograph of them and post them on a gardening forum. Someone will usually have come across it before and can help you identify it.

a well managed community garden

All is not lost if you do have a community garden full of lush, healthy weeds, it generally means that the soil has a good fertility, and that’s what you need for vegetable gardening!

Where Not To Start In Your Community Garden

Do not, and I repeat do not, when faced with a sea of weeds, go and hire yourself a rotavator and go over your whole plot.

Some of those weeds will be perennial varieties and when you chop them up into little pieces, each root fragment is just asking to come back and generate a new plant.

Within a few weeks, you will have even more weeds. How many people give up at this point I wonder?

Tackling the Weeds in Community Gardening

When it comes to growing vegetables, fruit, or flowers, most of us fall into either the chemical or non-chemical group. There’s no right answer here, the choice is yours.

If you don’t mind using chemicals on your community garden, then you need to get yourself some Roundup or similar weed killer and go over the whole plot, being careful to avoid overspray onto other people’s community gardens.

some weeds messing up a community garden

After the recommended time on the back of the bottle, and the weeds are well and truly dead, you can now go and hire your rotavator and go over the whole plot.

If you want to grow organic vegetables, or at least not use the chemical options, then good luck, because some hard work is coming right your way, but then you knew that already!

You’re going to need to pace yourself. If you try to tackle it all in one go, the lasting message that your back and your brain will be left with is, OMG this community gardening thing is torture; and whenever it’s time to go to your community garden, your brain will send a pain full message and try to stop you.

The best option is to section your community garden into manageable squares of, say, 6ft x 6ft, or 2M ish square?

Cover the rest with carpets, or tarpaulins etc. Hopefully, you’re in this community gardening thing as a long term project right?

So it won’t really matter if you don’t get round to clearing the whole lot in one go. If you leave the covers down for a year, most of the weeds will die off anyway.

Once you have your working area marked out, find your spade. You need to start by slicing off the top layer of ‘turf’. This will remove the surface grasses and short rooted weeds.

Stack these turfs upside down on top of each other. When they’ve broken down, they can provide a nice loam to add back in.

In this case, a loam is a lovely soil that is rich in organic matter, which drains well after watering and is resistant to compacting—fabulous for community gardens!

Any deep rooted weeds will need digging out individually. Docks are one of the deep rooted weeds and are a bit of a nightmare. Once dug up, either burn them or tie them in a polythene bag for several months.

Once you’ve cleared the area, you can then dig it over with a fork; this is to help with breaking up the soil so you can remove any weed roots left behind.

Get Out Your Gardening Book

Once you begin to make progress with clearing your community garden, it’s time to get out your gardening book and consult your plans for how you want your community gardening to progress.

read some gardening books

You may well find that as you work your way along your plot, weeding as you go, that the weeds are coming up behind you quicker than you’re moving forwards.

Please don’t get disheartened. These weeds are probably annuals and are the results of being exposed to light and air, when you’ve been digging and they won’t be deep rooted. You can easily hoe them off before they take hold.

Take advantage of your local community garden association for gardening advice and tips on how to get the most from your plot, and make the time and effort to be friendly with your community garden neighbors.

Don’t forget that a lot of community gardeners do have restrictions on their time, as I’m sure you do, so don’t assume they’ve got all day to chat.

But being friendly and polite costs nothing, and can only help build good friendships where all the gardeners on their plots can benefit.

The 6 No-Fail Ways to Dry Herbs

Are you into the joys of successful herb gardening? Do you love using your homegrown herbs to add zest and aroma to your everyday dishes? Do you want the convenience of having ready-to-use herbs in your kitchen cupboard?

If you answer yes to these questions, then it’s best if you learn how to properly dry your fresh herbs.

dry herbs neatly hanged

One of the simplest and easiest ways of preserving herbs is by drying them. In fact, drying herbs can be pretty exciting! Think of how you will enjoy having a (more…)

Caring For Your Precious Houseplants

Foliage and flowering house plants are now so well known, that they need little introduction. Their popularity has increased enormously over the years since they were introduced about sixty years ago.

Flowering pot plants, of course, have been with us for a far longer period, but foliage house plants with their many varieties, still seem modern and new mainly due to the wide range of choice.

a few well grown calamondin oranges
Citrus mitis, the calamondin orange.

New introductions keep coming out, and many old plants are being revived that have almost been lost to commercial cultivation. In Victorian times, there were (more…)

Blabbing A Bit about Greenhouse Fruit Growing

At one time, it was customary in large gardens to maintain an orchard house. This was usually a structure in which, fruit trees were grown either with or without heat.

The trees were planted out in borders or grown in pots. In fact, they were often grown by both methods, since then every part of the orchard house could be fully occupied in the production of fruit.

Today things are different and apart from grape vines, it is doubtful whether any gardener would (more…)

The Essentials of Planning a Successful Veggie Garden

There are many good reasons for growing vegetables. It is usually cheaper than buying them and the crop may be gathered fresh.

The exercise is not only rewarding but, in these days of stress and strain, there is release of tension in working on the land and great satisfaction in watching crops develop.

Few of us are able to choose a perfect site for our garden: we have to use the ground adjoining our home. Even with a community garden*WF70, the position may not be ideal.

That being so, we need to select with (more…)

Why You May Want to Grow Black Eyed Susan in the U.S.

During the height of summer is when one is able to discover a plethora of Black Eyed Susan flowers blooming healthily in fields as well as on roadsides all over North America.

lots of black eyed susan flowers blooming healthily

Its golden yellow daisy flowers are almost universally loved but the Black Eyed Susan (rudbeckia hirta) is often thought of as a weed rather than a garden plant.

However, if you’re looking to add more wildflowers and native plants to your landscape, Black Eyed Susan should be at the top of your list of candidates

Whether your idea of the perfect garden is a meadow of wildflowers and grasses, or an old fashioned formal flower border, Black Eyed Susan flowers will be right at home in your landscape.

Wild types of Rudbeckia are perfect for natural gardens and are easy to grow from seed. Newer varieties with larger flowers in a wide variety of warm colors will perform beautifully alongside the perennials and annuals in your existing sunny flower garden.

You can even find (more…)

How to Make Your Poinsettia Bloom Mega Beautifully

The poinsettia is best known for its beauty at Christmas time. Most people throw them away after Christmas, when they start dropping leaves and appearing ill thinking there is no chance of blooming again.

With a little know-how, your poinsettia can bloom year after year. The traditional poinsettia was red, white poinsettias later became available.

Currently, there are over 100 varieties of poinsettias with special designs and colors ranging in shades of red, white, pink, light green, variegated, dotted, and marbled.

incredibly striking poinsettia plants

Have you ever received a unique poinsettia and wished that (more…)