Sunday, May 31, 2009

Don't know when to shut up

Community garden. A shared space where a group of people decide to grow plants together. As a group, they decide what to grow and how to grow it and then everybody works toward making it happen. There are no individual plots in this scenario. I've have seen this work, season after season, successfully in a community garden here in Wichita.

Garden Club: For lack of a better description, I call this a garden club. This is a large(ish) piece of land, owned or leased by an organization whereas a person can rent a plot to grow whatever his/her heart desires. Generally there are some rules about what to grow (no marijuana, for example) but mostly, the renter of the plot can do as he/she pleases.

In recent discussions in the blogosphere, these two seem to have gotten mixed up. Someone in another blog suggested that in the good ol' US of A we don't know what a Community Garden really is. The problem is that in the US we call Garden Clubs Community Gardens. Because of this confusion, folks were all up in arms about the idea that someone would tell them what to grow.
In a true Community Garden, there are no individual plots.
Now in England, and maybe Australia, people get Allotments. I don't know that we use that term here but we should.
This would eliminate the confusion.
Like I said. Here in Wichita, I know of one Community Garden that is truly a community garden worked by people in the neighborhood. I drive by it and it seems to work fine.
Then, we have at least one Garden Club where one can rent a plot. It's not really a Community Garden but rather people who gather together to do what they love which is to grow stuff.
I would love to belong to a Garden Club and have my own plot and in fact I may do just that soon, if there are any plots open. I have a big yard but the plot in the Garden Club would be away from curious dogs and children and unencumbered by tall mature trees that shade everything.
I would also LOVE to belong to a Community Garden where I could work shoulder to shoulder with other like-minded people to bring in a harvest that we could all share.
When it comes to these two gardening options, I see them as offering different benefits. In one, I can grow my stuff in my lot and not ever have to interact with another human being (after I pay my dues that is) in the other, I am forced to talk and cooperate with other people.

Over and out.


  1. That's a good idea... a community garden is good for those who do not have a space to do gardening. I don't think we have both of these here :-(

  2. There are several great community gardens around Wichita and even in Andover & Augusta. I don't think they are so much cooperative and just a gathering of folks tending their own plots. We have one plot in the south Wichita Garden of Eatin. $20 for a year. Plot is 20'x10'.

    If you can get a hold of Saturday's Eagle, there was a great article on the front page about having a backyard flock. Or go to and read about it there. You can have up to 12 chickens in the city, with a proper permit. No roosters of course ~ they don't just crow once in the morning! I think if you have a small flock, you don't need the permit. There's also rules about the coop and cleaning it and how far it has to be from a structure etc. A lot of new rules in place and I think there were less than 30 permits purchased so far. I have my opinion on this, but won't post it here. :D

  3. Thanks for sharing this bit of info. I just thought community gardens went by two different models, some you pay, some you don't...pretty pathetic considering I'm helping to create one now...