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Re: New community garden for hobbyists

  • Subject: Re: [cg] New community garden for hobbyists
  • From: Alliums <garlicgrower@earthlink.net>
  • Date: Thu, 25 Mar 2004 12:49:29 -0500

Catherine Fenner wrote:
I'm working with a parks org. to develop a garden for hobbyists in a middle
to upper-middle neighborhood. Organic.

What do you mean by "hobbyists"? If you're planning to have a garden in a higher income area, you need something to convince them to garden at your spot, rather than at home. If it's for a specific purpose, like feeding the hungry or educational programs for kids (make sure you have folks lined up to actually teach something) or outreach for the assisted living home, you've got a fighting chance of having the garden work. Otherwise, if these are people who have the income and like to garden, they are *probably* doing it on their own land because that's why they bought a place with land in the first place. If this area is mostly rentals or condos with little land available, then you might have a chance, although, once again, higher income person

The first question you must ask when setting up this garden is "Why would people come to a community garden over staying at home?" What is your "hook," to use the marketing term?

For instance, our community garden provides garden plots for those who want to grow plants (mostly food plants), but don't have the land at home (nearly all of our gardeners come from the Historic District of Phoenixville or from apartments) and provides a perennial space both for pollinators and to provide a gardening experience for those who want the stress relief during the workweek that comes with being outdoors, but don't want the day-to-day responsibility of a plot.

I've been following the discussion
about plot sizes and think the smaller 4X10 is about right for a hobbyist.

Again, this *really* depends on your definition of "hobbyist." This is great for those who want flowers for dried flower crafts (a steady source of gardeners at our community garden that I personally never expected), but if you are going after folks that want to grow tomatoes and pumpkins for the kids, this is rather small. It all goes back to your "hook" or to be more theologically correct (in our case) your "mission."

No footprint for the garden yet. At first they wanted such a small size I
didn't think it was worth it. But, they want a demo place, space for
compost, shed and seating space for artists, students and people in nearby
assisted living. Can anyone suggest sources for information about minimum

Once again, that depends on your "mission." There are lots of tiny gardens in Philly that are about community space, education and art -- they simply use the garden as a setting to implement for their greater mission. It's what works in their space, but it would drive my gardeners nuts because for us, catering to plants and the ecosystem is the end-all and be-all of our garden. So, before you can make the decision about how to divide up the space, you need to know what the "mission" is and what the people that will be using the space actually want. . .

Just my comments -- everyone else should feel free to chime in and tell me where I'm wrong! :-)


Dorene Pasekoff, Coordinator St. John's United Church of Christ Organic Community Garden

A mission of
St. John's United Church of Christ, 315 Gay Street, Phoenixville, PA  19460

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