The Community Garden – Part 1

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The resurgence in popularity of the Urban Gardener over the past few years has made a green mark on the city. Due to both economic realities and a rise in concern over sustainable food systems the young have joined the ranks of the middle-aged and elderly in the age old pursuit of tilling the soil. This trend has been particularly strong in the ever activist center of Washington dC. The city has seen a spike in both number of community gardens and vegetable variety. While some gardens such as the Victory Garden in Glover Park, NW DC have been around since WWII, others such as my own Pomegranate Community Garden are newcomers to the scene.
The Gardens themselves are very welcoming, both visually and socially. Aside from fellow gardeners, many passer-by often stop to enjoy the scenery, take pictures, or strike up conversations. Amateur gardeners are welcomed, but still asked to be just as vigilant with weeds and other pests that might threaten a neighbors plot. The gardens are truly ‘community’ by nature. Many of the managers of the garden try to include locals as the primary gardeners as the day to day of gardening requires proximity and frequent attention, especially during the summer months.
Get Involved!
If you would like to get started with your own plot, look no further than your local community. Small community gardens can be found throughout the DC area and can be found through the Farm To Fork Network’s Great Map of locations and contacts. Keep in mind that the demand for plots is greater than the supply, so be prepared for a wait-list. I would recommend adding your name to several lists to speed up the process.
Never Gardened Before?
Not to worry, there are many resources for getting started. Aside from picking up books at a local library on gardening, and kitchen gardening in particular, you can always surf the web for some great blogs and informational sites to get started in your area.
Trying to Decide what to plant?
There are both local stores and online suppliers depending on what you are looking for. Within DC, I love Ginko Gardens and Fragers for their helpfulness and variety. I also love ordering seeds from the Seed Savers Exchange, a non-profit heirloom variety seed provider that has an incredible variety of most vegetables.

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