Community Gardens | How to grow one in your front yard

PinExt Community Gardens | How to grow one in your front yard

Community Gardens | Can you grow one in your front yard?

by: Carol Giambri

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                               Welcome - Community Garden

Are your neighbors or community feeling "welcome" to the community garden growing organics in your front yard?

Can churches create community garden plots? 

Did you know some weeds are edible and may look like "uninvited guests" to your yard? Purslane and dandelions are two that most hate and hoe or dig out of the ground. They can be eaten raw and are healthy.

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Yummy pretty yellow dandelion

Organic blackberries….

Organic berries are very expensive, but growing your own is fun. Why not consider growing your own and eating them fresh? With leftovers you can freeze or dehydrate them for later. The right growing conditions are important to enjoy a harvest with a "neighborhood" picking party. Save money and be frugal works this way for kids gardens too. Have you considered letting the kids have their own garden? 

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Love those Blackberries

In Boulder, Colorado some people turn their front yards into edible gardens. Some work together with their neighbors and community. One local church is renting out plots. It's a great way for kids, family and communities to come together.

Locally one yard was transformed in the winter with compost, bags of leaves (from the neighbors) and wood chips from an arborist friend. It sat there until spring arrived. In spring it was "tilled", beds were built and planting began. It started off with a cover crop, plowed, and then the veggies were planted. It is now a beautiful productive garden. Seeing neighbors come together as a way to build and "know thy neighbor" and "help thy neighbor" is a great way to become neighborly.

Boulder, CO…

I first moved to Boulder from New York over 30 years ago. The town has grown, is home to a large college, and is made up of educated people.

In this community there is one church making a difference renting out garden plots to the community people. It is now into its fifth year. When harvested there are large amounts of foods. Anyone in the community can have a garden plot for an annual $25 fee. Ten percent (10%) of the produce goes to one local non profit.

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                 Youth Church Group Gardens help Non Profit

Why aren't other churches involved seeing this success model? Boulder is about about 30 miles from Denver and is making a difference in the community. Not only in gardening but in many areas. Today with people laid off, depressed, low on money, I believe this is a great way to help each other.

Grow what…
Here are some things to start off your edible front yard community garden.

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Yummy cucumbers easy to grow

How about carrots, lettuce, radishes, kale?

Usually easy to grow are the above vegetables. However, the growing season, water, light and soil conditions can affect what to grow and where to plant it.

Edible flowers…

Violets and rose petals are great to introduce you to edible flowers.

Warning…

Check with your city to see if you can grow a front yard garden. Get help from garden clubs or county extension services.

Reflecting and Acting…
Sometimes we think some tasks may be hard.
Invite neighbors and friends to help out. Eating fresh is best. Grow only organic foods and use chemical free bug control. Forget chemicals.

What Did You Think? Please share.

Post Your Comments Below

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Carol Giambri is a gardening expert. She is obsessed with the garden, eating healthy as a frugal shopper and photography.  At a 12 step program she would probably stand up admitting: "I am addicted and obsessed with the garden and its foods."  She even shops for unique shapes of fruits and veggies.  From worm composting, which is a new desire, to homemade cleaning products, eating edible weeds, coaching programs, speaking, copy writing content for blogs, green/recycle talk, dogs and helping her hubby, she loves encouraging people.  Carol plans to write several books on healthy living as well as a pet book where her heart still remains having seen so many go to heaven.

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle September 21, 2011 at 5:01 pm

We love our garden with organic blueberries and raspberries as well as the standard  garden fare.  Unfortunately we are so rural that our sharing is confined to family, friends and delivering extras in a box to the church each week for anyone to take.

Hughie Bagnell September 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Excellent unique idea for communities, churches or service organizations! Thank you for sharing….Hughie

Carol Giambri September 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Michelle, how sweet of you to share with your church family. Rare. Oh my gosh, would love those organics myself. Sounds awesome and thanks for sharing here your awesome garden.

Carol Giambri September 21, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Thank you Hughie for sharing. It would be great if communities and eating healthy would come together at churches too. Hard to find that combo but did find one that does offer vendors to put a farmer’s market on church property. Will be writing more about that in a post. Appreciate your comments.

Linda Yarbrough@Media Marketing Strategy September 21, 2011 at 5:21 pm

I love the idea of community gardens.  I have just finished planting a test lasagna garden with onions, garlic and potatoes to see how it goes and if they can survive the winter.  If not, no harm done and the beds will be perfect for spring.

I think before it's over we are all going to growing survival gardens.  I have to make Tomato Basil soup every week for my Heart Regime and am constantly having sticker shock when I walk into Produce Section of grocery.
I look forward to your gardening expertise.
As for SEO, you might want to try adding Community Garden of Organics (search engines won't read the word of)

Wil September 21, 2011 at 6:10 pm

A community garden would be fun – got to remember that for the next growing season! Thanks for the super suggestion, Carol.

onovan grant September 21, 2011 at 6:12 pm

nice article Carol, it made my mouth water just reading it. We also grow our own blueberries and blackberries so we save a ton of money not having to buy them. Both berries are the perfect blend in my morning smoothie!

Pauline September 21, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Love this!  I find myself thinking that churches would be an amazing community in which to promote stewardship involving growing food and/or food preservation.  There are church communities that do so (i.e., Latter Day Saints), but I've wondered why more Christian churches haven't done the same, knowing that wise stewardship of one's own goods also allows one to be more generous with those truly in need. 

There's also such a wonderful sense of kinship that comes over a shared pursuit like a garden, that it would seem to have great practical benefits to the members of a church in ways wholly unrelated to the growing of food. 

What a treasure!
Pauline

Susan Preston September 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm

I love this article, Carol. My Nonie {my Italian grandmother} use to make a dish with flowers in it. It was delicious, of course everything she made was. Thanks for such great ideas :)

Allison September 21, 2011 at 6:31 pm

Loving the idea of a community garden. My neighbors and I were just talking about it this past spring. We need to get out there and get it started. Thanks for the motivation, Carol!

Alexandra McAllister September 21, 2011 at 6:49 pm

WOW! Another great article Carol! I love your blog so much.  It is right up my alley! Healthy and delicious stuff! I love blackberries although I've not tried the organic ones yet…but is is on my list.  Thanks so much for your wonderful hints and photos! You rock!!

Norma Doiron@Health, Wellness & Weight Loss September 21, 2011 at 8:12 pm

More & more people are doing the same thing where I live!  If they're going to weed, they want to be able to eat the fruit of their labour!  As always, great post, Carol. Always appreciate your healthy tips.  x0x
Norma Doiron @ The LEARNED Preneur!╰☆╮

Olga Hermans September 21, 2011 at 9:59 pm

Carol, this is very inventive; such a great idea. I remember where we lived people did a lot together in the community. I think it is time to go back to things like this…people love to do things together.

Robert Seth September 22, 2011 at 12:05 am

Carol, these are some great ideas for places to grow gardens and things to grow in them.  Thanks for all the suggestions!  I will be planning a new garden next year and will definitely be visiting your site for ideas.

Carl Mason-Liebenberg September 22, 2011 at 12:13 am

There is an empty lot next to our home here in Cape Town. It is just an open space that is undeveloped for now as they continue to build the subdivision. But, from the beginning I have envisioned a community garden in that space. Unfortunately, I get resistance because of the issue of crime. It would have to be completely under lock and key, behind walls, gates and electric fencing to keep the thieves out. Still, should they be willing to devlop it with the needed security, I'd lead the way. Meanwhile I have a side yard spring garden with cabbage, chard, fennel, kale, carrots, sweet peas, broad beans, bell peppers, tomatoes, spinach, onions, cilantro, basil, beets, radish, eggplant, patty pan squash, bush beans and chili peppers all well under way! Had our first harvest this week…a bit of rocket!

Anastasiya Day September 22, 2011 at 3:41 am

I agree great idea for communities and great article! Thanks for sharing.

denny hagel September 22, 2011 at 6:32 am

Community gardens are a wonderful way to "pay it forward"…love that churches are sponsoring them! Thanks Carol! Great article!

AJ September 22, 2011 at 6:44 am

This is a great idea Carol!
Thanks,
AJ

Anne (Annie) Berryhill September 22, 2011 at 7:51 am

There is something so inherently wonderful about eating food that you grew with your own efforts (I mean aside from the sun, water and nutrients that God provides!)
It always makes me want to plant something when I read your blog. Nicely done!

Carol Giambri September 22, 2011 at 9:21 am

Thanks Annie. Go plant something perhaps indoors or with your weather–jealous here–maybe all year round outside. No reason to become a slave over the garden, over the stove or meal prep. I love this lifestyle now living it for decades. Nothing like growing it with your own efforts rocks.

Carol Giambri September 22, 2011 at 9:21 am

Thank you AJ and fun too! Love the garden!

Carol Giambri September 22, 2011 at 9:22 am

Thanks Denny for comments. Amazing churches are sponsoring it. Why aren’t more catching on to help their “family” eat better and get more money into the church offering and not into the “doctors” pockets? Maybe most churches are scared?

Carol Giambri September 22, 2011 at 9:23 am

Thank you Anastasiya. Love how communities can come together — it just takes one to start anything.

Carol Giambri September 22, 2011 at 9:24 am

Carl, I’m impressed with your garden harvest. Way to go. Yes, keeping the thieves out is always a challenge unless a fence can be donated for the benefit of the community and opened certain hours only. I bet you feel great eating this way. Isn’t harvesting fun even if a small crop? Love it and thanks tons.

Carol Giambri September 22, 2011 at 9:26 am

Thanks Robert. I truly love gardening so it makes it fun to see a seed or plant grow up. I have had some “deaths” however sadly but I care for those living and eat from their blessings. Surely come back and by next year I hope to see pictures of your garden and how my site expands.

Carol Giambri September 22, 2011 at 9:28 am

Olga, what a great concept and way to combine others talents within a community. It’s like “help each other” works. It is time to return to the “old fashioned” way perhaps of bringing home the “family of community.” I know my neighbor next door hates putting his shy head up and talking to me over a decade, he’s like an ice cube and shows that, but his flower garden rocks and I get out there and take pictures of it. He wouldn’t be ideal for a community effort, but still this flowers bring beauty to my smile and eyes.

Carol Giambri September 22, 2011 at 9:30 am

Norma, thanks for sharing. Glad people in your area have caught on to this wave. I have so much fun gardening but also preparing foods. If people are space “bound” there are many ways to still make it happen including indoors. More to come on that later. I appreciate you coming by.

Carol Giambri September 22, 2011 at 9:32 am

Thanks Alexandra. When it comes to berries I am very careful to buy only organic. You will LOVE blackberries. Add to smoothies. I don’t think to your coffee world however unless you find a blackberry tincture to add a drop to it? Thanks for appreciating my blog. It is fun and learning for each other rocks. You rock in your healthy world too and also coffee wisdom.

Carol Giambri September 22, 2011 at 9:33 am

Allison, wow your neighbors want to have a community garden. How awesome. It is really fun. Take pictures of your efforts: labor and harvesting. It is fun and glad you are motivated to get the “ball” rolling. Thanks for sharing.

Carol Giambri September 22, 2011 at 9:35 am

Susan, lucky you seeing your Nonie use flowers. I grew up seeing all processed foods and very little salad ingredients–never the sign of a flower. Today I have broken the “chains” to expanding my salads and flower world. It is so much fun too. Thanks for sharing here and loving my article.

Elise Adams September 22, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Love your practical 'take action' steps at the end–checking with your community and getting moving on a group project.  What a lovely idea!

Lori September 23, 2011 at 10:00 pm

I love the idea of a community garden. There is nothing like growing your own food!

Carol Giambri September 26, 2011 at 9:51 am

Lori, I totally agree with you on the community garden. What a great way to not only eat better, but also “build” a local community. I have so much fun growing food even if it is not fruitful. It is the “fun” that really draws me in closer. Thanks for coming by and your comment.

Carol Giambri September 26, 2011 at 9:56 am

Thanks Elise for your comment. I love to make things simple and easy to do without the overwhelm. I have know the overwhelm feeling and it comes easy to me and hope I can impact lives and take the chaos out of it.

Jennifer September 29, 2011 at 10:20 am

Oh you make me want to move.  I have a good garden in my backyard but my neighbors would NEVER go for a front yard community garden — it would mess up their golf course-like lawns!
We do have a community garden at my kids' school however, and it is wonderful.  The kids love that they can help take care of it and they learn so much from it.  This year we turned it into a CSA, which was a bonus because we were able to use it to provide financial support for the school. 
Thanks for your great suggestions, this is a topic I love!

Carol Giambri September 30, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Jennifer, I LOVED reading your comment. This is awesome about the school turning CSA. I know here in COlorado kids are also creating school gardens. What a great experience for the kids. Awesome you have a good backyard garden. Fun to grow and harvest–even if not a bumper crop. Well, sounds like your neighbors keep up their front yards beautifully and not want to invite golf balls on their front yards even though pretty enough to play on it. Thanks for sharing.

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