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Garden for a community pantry

Posted by Marie_TX z8 N Houston (My Page) on
Sun, Oct 14, 01 at 20:08

I have offered my yard for the use of a group of gardeners (master gardeners working on community service hours, plus other volunteers like me, doing it for fun). The space is fairly large and I have never really used all that could be devoted to growing veggies, so I thought I would invite these others to come in and see what we could come up with. My question is, "Has anyone ever done this type of community garden before?"

We will be meeting to plan, then sharing chores like tilling, planting, weeding, and such. The produce will be divided part among us, but the bulk (assuming we will be productive) of it will go to "Society of Good Samaritans," a local church-related pantry, and perhaps other faith-based pantries.

I am just wondering if others have had this particular set-up, and what should I be concerned about with people coming into my yard. I live out in the country near the end of a dead-end road, so I don't think it's a problem for theivery. I have a fence, but not a gate. We do have deer and rabbits, so we are going to build a temporary fence around the rows themselves. I guess it will have to be removeable, since we will have to till twice a year. We want a fall/winter garden and a spring/summer garden.

Water is available nearby and we have a well.

Oh, yeah, I compost like a maniac. Leaves, shredded paper, coffee grounds from the local coffee shop, etc. Our soil is poor, so we do this for a healthy amendment.

What else do I need to be concerned about?

Thanks for any help you more experienced community gardeners can offer.

-- Marie

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Garden for a community pantry

You might want to add a good straw mulch, I use a bale once in the spring and once in the fall. I turn it under by hand. As I have a huge population of earth worms and like to keep them, they hate mechanical tilling. I add organic amendments and have a border of garlic chives to keep the slugs and snails out. The straw is wonderful. Since using it, any weeds that set are 90 percent easier to pull because the soil underneath has softened so much.
You might want to ask people if they want to split up areas and work on a specific area and to plant what they want from beginning to end.
You might want to check out a book called Square Foot gardening, you can usually find it in a used book store for a couple of dollars. You will get a higher yield, rotate your crops every year. Have your volunteers and workers keep a log of what is where and growing information, there is nothing like seeing what you have done on paper, and as a reminder for next year.

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