The hope of the garden is great, but when the summer gets busy and plans creep in, garden chores can feel overwhelming. Find out how to organize sharing a garden space to ease the summer garden chores.
Our staff here is full of growers, gardeners, and farmers, juggling a full time job with growing food in some capacity. When I looked around to see just how we all do it, I realized that half the staff here is sharing a garden space this year, and was inspired to share how to be successful tending a collective garden. Some of out staff have larger gardens that we invite other gardeners into, and other staff share growing space on land that belongs to others.
Here are 5 things to keep in mind before you get started, and throughout the season as you work together to grow great food:
1. Make sure the site is accessible. If are considering sharing a space with a friend, make sure it fits into your regular routine to go there. On the flip side, if you have a space that you are looking for a garden partner to tend, be mindful of their travel time, and how that can effect their responsibilities.
2. Get together...and plan. Once you have decided to share a garden space, it probably feels like the first thing to do is get together and start digging. But before you begin the actual gardening part, get all the parties involved together and sketch out a plan. A garden plan is important, but even more so how responsibilities are cover. Here are top considerations that are much easier to figure out before the work has really begun:
- How to share expenses, including supplies, utilities, and soil improvements
- Access to the space, is it open to all parties at all times, or should there be "hours"
- Splitting up space, is it all shared, or will you have your own plots
- Splitting up harvests
3. Assign roles. Making decisions with a group can be exciting and fun, but sometimes it doesn't take 3-5 people to do everything. It's good to have a "point person" for key tasks like watering, weeding, and harvesting to help coordinate the work and streamline decision making.
4. Plan for out of town trips. This is one of the best reasons sharing a garden is awesome! However, its still a good idea to coordinate major trips so either party can cover the garden maintenance tasks.
5. Keep it clean and tidy. We are all guilty of leaving tools out and tasks half done, but when you are working collectively, its really important to keep things tidy and in their place so when the next person comes everything is where it should be. This prevents phone calls and text messages back and forth trying to figure out where the garden rake is!