Don’t have a back yard, or not enough sun in the yard you have? Live in a condo or an apartment? Consider setting up a community garden in your area. Great for schools, churches, sub-divisions, senior centers. We do all the work and you get to do all the gardening!
Check out our slide show of photos of the Instant Organic Garden at Holy Angels in Belmont, NC.
This also means that “space hog” crops like corn, watermelon, pumpkins, etc. will be inappropriate for the raised beds. If you feel this is important then larger plots might be laid out in a different area, but they wouldn’t be raised beds, weedless, or organic.
These beds will work well for you for several reasons…
In my travels meeting with thousands of health conscious wanna-be gardeners the first question I hear about vegetables they want to buy is “are they organic?” When they ask about a garden they say “Is it organic?” If there is a solution for a pest problem they ask “Is it organic?” These gardens can be labeled organic because the rails are made from Western Red Cedar instead of pressure-treated wood or plain wood that will rot and attract termites. The smaller beds can be filled with weedless, organic soil mix, which is a major consideration.
Because the soil is weedless the amount of work spent weeding a garden is decreased by 95-99%. (Yes, weed seeds will blow in from outside, but you’ll have 1-2 weeds per square foot, not 100.) The gardeners can spend less time weeding and focus their efforts on planting, tending crops and harvesting. The reduced time means that more people will be able to try gardening for the first time.
The beds will last for twenty plus years and mature to a beautiful silver-gray color.
They Conserve Water
Because these beds are smaller they require less water. Beds can be watered by hand with a water wand in just a few minutes. The soil mix includes a good amount of compost, which retains water nicely. With other community garden designs you are watering pathways as well as garden area. But since the soil in the rasied beds is much richer you can grow crops much closer together and experience a greater yield per square foot. The intensive planting means that the plants shade the soil and keep it cool and moist.
They’re Less Work, Good for Kids
The mix includes slow-release organic fertilizers along with other ingredients to bring the soil to life. This means no tilling. Before planting you scratch in more organic fertilizer and every summer add a layer of compost which also serves as a mulch. Since the workload is much lighter, it is easier to get children involved in these gardens. Tending the gardens would involve planting, watering and harvesting, which is well within the attention span of most kids.
They’re Better Looking
A community garden full of perfectly laid out raised beds will look good for years and years. Because of the lack of weeds, every bed will be in perfect condition and will inspire others to keep their beds neat and well-tended.
Greater Garden Efficiency
In order to make the best use of these smaller gardens, it is important to coach the gardeners to grow crops that mix limited space with ongoing, high yields. I cover this subject on my “What to Grow – FRESNO” page.
They Allow for a Longer Growing Season
Since raised beds heat up faster in the spring and they stay warmer through the fall, the growing season is extended. Since no tilling is needed, gardeners can plant their spring crops earlier. In many areas of the country you can grow crops all four seasons, which makes these beds that much more productive.
Education is Needed
Since intensive gardening is new to many people, an effort should be made to educate the users on how to plan and plant these gardens. You can contract our services to do regular talks throughout the growing season. Prior to the start of each season a seminar can be conducted. Mid-season seminars could also be held if needed. A nominal fee could be charged if you want.
I feel that offering a time-saving, weedless, organic raised bed option for community gardens will attract a lot of new gardeners. If a rent is charged, I believe strongly that gardeners will pay a premium price for this design – $50 to $75 a year instead of $10 to $20. It’s quite likely that the extra fees would cover all of the extra costs of the materials.
We’d be happy to discuss installing a community garden for your organization, church or school. Discounted rates available.
Just use our contact us form.