Not enough space or hours of sunshine to grow what you love at home? Try community gardening! Counties throughout Maryland and Virginia have set aside areas where gardeners can rent plots to plant their favorite flowers, fruits and veggies. These gardens provide fabulous opportunities using public space to enhance environmental benefits, aesthetic value, and economic impacts in our local neighborhoods. And community gardens are a great place to meet people, a place that transforms strangers into garden buddies.
Master Gardener and Stadler employee, Regina, has a plot for her veggies in the Ballenger Creek community garden. When asked why she chose community gardening, she had this to say:
"Community gardens are great for people like me; my back yard does not get enough sunlight for what I want to grow. My community garden plot is open and exposed to good sunshine all day."
"Also," she added with a smile, "It's a great way to get away from the house... at least for a little bit! Plus you learn so much from other gardeners. You can see what other people plant and how they tend to their gardens; I really learn a lot from it!"
"I grow all kinds of vegetables - you'd be surprised what can fit in those plots - and it is so rewarding to be able to grow your own vegetables. The freshness is just unbeatable. It's a very inexpensive way to garden and grow your own food."
Most community plots are fenced in to protect against deer, rabbit and other animals with the garden munchies. And most areas also have water on site. All you have to do is show up and garden! The University of Maryland's Extension service has a wealth of information on community gardens: where they are located, how much they cost, registration information and much more. Check it out: http://extension.umd.edu/growit/community-gardens. In Virginia, many counties participate in community gardening. Prince William County has a great reference website for more information: http://novaoutdoors.com/nova/tag/community-garden-plots/
If you need an extra space for your flowers, fruits or veggies, consider taking advantage of community gardens. Because four hands in the dirt are better than two!