Community gardens are a great way of bringing the neighborhood together, as well as promoting an active adult lifestyle. However, to ensure that your community garden project is a success, you’ll need to take the time to plan things out carefully. There are several different factors you need to consider before planting, and this article will take you through the main things you need to consider when planning your community garden.
First off, you’ll want to take a soil sample and test it. There are certain nutrients which are vital for proper plant growth, so you’ll want to be sure that your soil contains a healthy amount. If there aren’t enough nutrients, then the plants won’t be able to grow effectively, but on the other hand, over-fertilization can also hurt both the plants and the surrounding environment. Your soil report will tell you just how much fertilizer you should use in your community garden, as well as outlining the soil acidity.
To take a soil sample, you’ll need to collect at least 12 “cores” of soil around 6 inches deep from around the area, and then combine them in a bucket to make up a single composite sample. You’ll want to take a sample from each different area of your community garden. So, if you’ll be planting flowers in a zone and vegetables in another, make sure you make a separate soil sample for each. With the sample in hand, head to your nearest soil lab to get a full analysis, which you can then use to plan out your fertilizing.
As well as understanding the soil you’re working with, you should also think about just what you’re going to be planting. Most community garden projects focus on growing vegetables- not only does this encourage an active adult lifestyle in the community, but it also allows you all to enjoy the fruits (or should that be vegetables?) of your labors. Vegetables are divided into two main categories: cool season vegetables, and warm season vegetables. The first of these categories includes plants like lettuce, broccoli, carrots, radishes, and so on. Since they originate in countries with a cold climate, they grow better in the spring and can survive light frosts.
On the other hand, warm season veggies need a little more heat and a little less moisture to thrive. These crops include corn, beans, melons, pumpkins, peppers, and tomatoes. When summer comes around, you should, therefore, switch your focus to these plants, so that you’re getting the very best results from your community garden. Whatever you’re planting, though, make sure your plants are getting plenty of sunlight, and that there are reasonably spaced so that they aren’t battling each other for nutrients.
Check out the plans for a community garden at The Tapestry, an age-targeted community in Garner, NC. Call 954-815-2530 for information.