There may still be a chill in the air (for some of us at least), but it is not too early to begin planning a community garden.  This is a great way to make new friends, enhance a community and engage people of all ages.

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Here’s how to get started:  

1.  Form a Planning Committee and find resources

Compile a group of interested people, as this is not a one person project.  You will all want to decide what kind of garden, who the garden will serve and what to call it.  Research, read and take notes!  Some great resources are USDA’s The People’s Garden and the Community Garden Resource Guide.

2.  Locate a site

The type of garden will narrow the search for a site. If growing food for instance, you need at least six hours of direct sunlight per day with easy access to water. Also, check that the land has proper drainage. Once you identify an ideal site, find out who owns the land. Contact the landowner and discuss next steps which may include obtaining permission through written agreement or lease and getting liability insurance.  Most important, consider past use of the site.  Is contamination an issue?

3.  Design and prepare your garden

Clean the site and develop your design.  Make sure your garden fits needs of the community it serves. Consider factors such as accessibility, protection from animals or vandalism, storage of tools, and space to gather. Incorporate sustainable gardening techniques such as: using native plants, composting, mulching, creating butterfly and bee gardens, or installing a rain barrel. The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map will help you to determine which plants will do best in your area.

4.  Get growing!

5.  REFLECT

Share your story with others at www.GiveGab.com.  We want to know how you feel about your volunteering experience.  Your stories will become part of a knowledge base that can help others better their communities.

If you have questions about how to implement a community garden in your area, please contact Tonyehn@GiveGab.com

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