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Garden layout, rules and democracy questions

  • Subject: [cg] Garden layout, rules and democracy questions
  • From: Don Boekelheide dboekelheide@yahoo.com
  • Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2006 10:46:10 -0700 (PDT)

Hi, all,

Congrats, Libby and Philly, on that wonderful garden
story. Likewise, the post from NYC, Adam.

Now, two questions - of course, you all know me, I
have my own strong opinions on the following
questions. But I'm always very interested in what
other folks think, especially based on their
experience, and thought I'd ask the list before I
start writing and drawing. Besides, after that
excellent rat discussion, who knows what you all will
come up with?

First, on community garden layout. Though there are
zillions of variations, I think I've seen 3 styles of
plot layouts, basically - 1. a jumble of differently
sized plots; 2. grouping like-sized beds together (all
the 10x10s (3mx3m) here; all the 20x20s there, etc),
and 3. "nested" plots, where a standard sized square
(I've seen 50x50 (Hilton Head SC) and 25x25, that can
be subdivided - for instance, one 25x25 module can be
4 'small plots' each 10x10 plus path space, the next
one family 'large plot' 25x25, etc). Which approach
does your garden use?

Also, about paths between plots...Is there a 'minimum'
size? 2 ft? 3'? 4'? (or metric equivalent, 60 cm, 1m,
1.2 m)? And how about a 10ft/3m wide access path for
emergency vehicles for the entire garden, I know some
places insist on it (Austin?)? 

The meta-question in all this is, does plot layout
really matter all that much? Paths?

Second, on garden rules. Our Park and Rec Dept has
created a guidebook for community gardens, but it is
very much oriented toward staff not gardeners. I know
Adam has a good example of rules, etc, from Clinton
St, and there are many other good examples - my
question isn't so much about good models as it is
about how to set down the rules:

First, do cg organizations, public or private, tend to
have two guidebooks, one for gardeners, one for garden

And what is the best process for coming up with rules
and a guidebook? Especially, how do you get citizen
(and gardener) input into 'garden rule books' that an
agency insists on doing strictly 'in house' (even when
staff know little about community gardens and, in
fact, are pretty lukewarm about having them at all).
Have any communities formed a 'stakeholders group' to
plan for community gardens?


Don Boekelheide
Urban Ministry Center
Charlotte, NC

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