Sign up early for space in a community garden

Bob Dluzen
The Detroit News

By all accounts, the number of people gardening has increased dramatically during the past few years. Seed sellers and other gardening businesses are reporting record sales.

The increase is due to the large number of first time gardeners, former gardeners returning to the hobby and existing gardeners expanding their plantings. 

The pandemic lockdown is given as a major reason for the marked increase. People were home  working flexible hours and consequently were able to find time to plant and tend a garden. Others were out of work completely and wanted to do something productive with their free time.

George Ball, chairman of Burpee Seeds, in a recent essay noted the marked increase in his company’s business and referred to the phenomenon as the “dawn of the Gardening Age.''

There are many more who would like to join in the fun but don’t have space for a garden. Maybe they live in an apartment or condo and don’t have access to a gardening space; their yard at home may be too shady; their soil won’t support a garden; or any number of other reasons. 

That’s where community gardens come in. Community gardens are the solution for those who want to plant a garden but don’t have the proper place to do it.

Grow your own fresh ingredients in your own community garden plot.

There are two basic types of community gardens. One type is where a single large garden is planted and tended by a group of people. They all pitch in with the work and share the harvest of the garden. Not everyone is suited for that kind of arrangement.

The most popular type is one where land is divided up into a number of individual garden plots. A  person then rents a plot for the season and is responsible for his or her own planting, tending and harvesting. This kind of setup is somewhat similar to the “allotments” in the UK that can be traced back more than a thousand years ago to when the original Saxons lived there. 

Community gardens are often sponsored by city parks and recreation departments, churches, civic groups, schools and colleges or other groups. Even private individuals or businesses sometimes organize community gardens on their property.

The gardens can range from the most rudimentary piece of ground where the gardener must do all of the work including tilling and hauling their own water. 

Other organizations may provide gardeners with initial spring tilling and a source of irrigation water. Still others may lend out gardening tools or provide other amenities to their member gardeners.

Garden plot rental fees can range from zero up to hundreds of dollars per season depending on the amenities provided. 

I did an online search for “community gardens near me”  and a number of larger community gardens programs turned up.

There are still a number of weeks before planting time takes off in mid-May, but now is the time to start thinking about where you’re going to plant your new garden. 

March is when most community gardens begin accepting applications for plots. So if you are interested, now is the time to line up a spot before the tidal wave of gardeners takes up all of the spaces.

Don’t miss out on the new experience of growing your very own vegetables.