What’s the first image that comes to mind when you hear the words ‘vegetable garden’? perhaps a typical suburban house in a picturesque backdrop with plenty of space to grow things?
As quintessential as that image may be, the reality is usually different. Many passionate gardeners have the desire to grow their own food but don’t have a sizable garden or access to their own plot of land. More and more people are living in apartments or shared houses in crowded areas.
For this reason, many are choosing the option of garden sharing. In such arrangements, landowners give gardeners access to their land (often a front or back yard) in order to grow food.
This benefits landowners as well as gardeners. Landowners who are frequently away from home can’t commit to the regular maintenance of a garden. Similarly, the elderly or those with disabilities may wish for their gardens to be used but are not able to tend to the gardens themselves. It makes sense, therefore, to allow other gardeners to use their land and tend to it on a regular basis.
If the concept of garden sharing appeals to you, here’s how to get started:
1. Consider your needs
Ask yourself what you hope to achieve with sharing a garden. Consider potential challenges as well as benefits. Think about the commitment you’d like to make to gardening and what tools are worth investing in. When thinking about how to grow a garden, there’s so much wisdom to be found from professionals and enthusiasts alike.
2. Find fellow gardeners & garden locations
Head over to sharedearth.com and enter your address. This allows you to search for other gardeners or plots of land in your area. We recommend completing a profile as that should help with the matchmaking process. The app allows you to send private messages to someone you’d like to connect with. You’ll be notified when new users join who could potentially be a good fit.
3. Develop a partnership
Arrange to meet up with your gardening match in a coffee shop. Discuss your goals and come to an understanding of what you both bring to the partnership. It’s important to establish trust in the first instance.
Some great discussion points include:
- What do you plan to grow?
- Who gets to eat the vegetables?
- During what hours may you work on the garden?
- Will the garden be organic?
If you’re sure about the partnership, arrange for a second meeting so you can view the garden you’ll be sharing.
4. Create a plan
A garden share plan describes how your arrangement will work and how you’ll split things such as costs, labor and yield. One of the benefits of a written plan is that you’ll have a tangible document you can both refer to at any stage.
It’s also important to take into account any risk and liability issues as well as potential legal barriers. Read more about these points in this very informative post.
5. Start gardening
Once the plan is established, it’s time to start working in the garden. If this is the first time you’ve shared a garden, it’s worth revisiting the agreement at the end of the season to reflect on how it went and whether any adjustments need to be made. Hopefully, your garden share partnership will blossom and lead to positive experiences for both you and the landowner.
Looking at the wider picture, could garden sharing be a key component in the future of urban farming and the future of organic farming? Quite possibly, although studies are needed before we can make bold suggestions. What’s certain, however, is that garden sharing is a highly logical way for landowners and aspiring gardeners to benefit from each other’s talents and resources.
To learn more about what we do and what we believe in, head over to www.clickandgrow.com. Discover how our Smart Gardens make growing greens indoors simple and enjoyable for all.