Starting a community garden
There is a good amount of planning involved in creating a successful community garden. To help people and organizations build and maintain productive community gardens, the University of Illinois Extension has created the community garden webinar series. This series takes users through a variety of modules discussing the different steps that can be taken to develop a successful community garden.
According to University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator Ken Johnson, “Community gardens are started for a variety of reasons and provide numerous benefits to a community. They provide food to locations suffering from food insecurity, allow citizens to grow their food, beautify an abandoned lot and much more.” Additionally, research has shown that people who participate in community gardens eat more fruits and vegetables.
While most gardens are beginning to wind down during the fall, it’s an ideal time to begin planning a community garden. “By starting your planning in the fall, that will give you ample time to get a plan in place, as well as recruit any help you may need,” Johnson says.
The Community Garden webinar series covers topics such as steps needed to create a successful community garden, such as defining the vision of a community garden, developing rules and guidelines, identifying resources, and more. The modules covered are:
• How to lay out a garden and different techniques used to prepare and plant gardens.
• Different types of vegetables that are commonly grown in gardens, and the basics on how to grow them.
• How to successfully start plants indoors from seeds for use later in the garden.
• Basic community garden care, including watering, fertilizing, pest control considerations, and more.
• Gardening safety and some of the considerations needed to make sure community gardens are safe and enjoyable for all.
The webinar series is available for viewing online at go.illinois.edu/communitygarden.
Ken Johnson is a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.