Starting a Vegetable Garden for My Community

It's only been a little over a year since I turned some of our apartment complex's dying grass into a community garden, yet it's flourishing and bringing a touch of paradise to the lives of my friends and neighbors. But now I'm ready for the next phase: A community vegetable garden. I want to grow vegetables, fruit and herbs so that neighbors can have a free and gourmet alternative to the fast food and limited offerings of our grocery store, and I need your help.



Disclaimer: As a #Saturday6 blogger, the Troy-Bilt products in this post were provided at no cost to me. All opinions, however favorable, are my own.
I started The Rainforest Garden for my Lupus inflicted mother, but now that she has passed, I've moved what plants I could to my apartment complex. Her life was dedicated to loving and giving to her neighbors here on earth, and I fully intend to do so in my own special way. I know that would have wanted me to keep gardening for others who really need it. I might not have much money, but I can at least try to use my gardening to give others joy - not to mention some really yummy food.

But just like you wouldn't consider treating your family to a home cooked meal to be a donation, this is no charity. Gardeners share their plants with others just because they can, and not out of any moral obligation. Sharing is just what gardeners do best, and I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to pass along whatever I'm able with such wonderful people. Thanks to my property manager and neighbors, our humble apartment complex feels like a small-scale Pleasantville where everybody waves with a hearty greeting as you pass. It's a community well worth any investment.

The plantings here get no irrigation, but the vegetable gardens will be watered by hose.

The existing gardens already have bananas, fruit trees and some herbs, but what I really want to do is provide the apartment residents with a healthy diet of organic heirloom vegetables and herbs. Many of my neighbors (myself included) often get their lunches to go from nearby fast food restaurants, but I'm pretty sure that they would happily indulge in a community barbecue with fresh grilled heirloom peppers and onions for their burgers, or rosemary for their pork tenderloin. I plan on scheduling 'harvest days' on the weekends, in which I would distribute bags of free fresh produce to the neighbors on a first-come, first served basis; and might even get started making preserves while I'm at it.

I will do most of the gardening myself, but will also create a row of allotments so that neighbors can participate in the fun and socialize. I hope to install some raised beds as soon as I can find an affordable way of making them attractive enough for a commercial property. I'm all ears for any recommendations!

I apologize if the narration and camera work on these videos seems amateurish, but I just couldn't wait to share how my community garden is doing. Feel free to share any video shooting tips!




First off, here's a video showing what I've accomplished within a little over a year. Just about all of these plants were out of my own pocket, but they have already spread and multiplied enough that I might have to do some division next year!


You'll also notice the Troy-Bilt cultivator and Neighborhood Rider mower that I will be trying out shortly. I might (will) even be giving one of them away! Spoiler alert: It handles and maneuvers like a dream and turns on a dime. Check out this blog post on my adventures with the #Saturday6 to see me racing with Amy from Get Busy Gardening!

Where I will be planting the vegetable garden




In this video you'll see the future site of our vegetable garden. It isn't huge, but there's plenty of space for me to utilize via vertical gardening and (hopefully) raised beds.



Finally, here's a video showing another area that I've started landscaping. The crinums fill out the bulk of the bed and have a ragged and untidy look, but the new plantings will eventually fill out to cover the exposed crinum necks and add a lot of interest. I will also eventually plant more Russelia and Lantana along the edge of the bed.

I'm beyond thrilled to take on this new project and would love to hear your advice! What would you do if you had the chance to start your own community garden?
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15 comments:

  1. That's fantastic Steve! I can't wait to see your vegetable garden. It's going to be so great! I love the videos too.

    Amy

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    1. Thanks! I can't waited to get started.

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  2. That is awesome Steve. I'm totally impressed with your knowledge of plants! You are an extremely talented fella. ;) I look forward to more videos and seeing your progress. Take care!

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    1. I don't know all that much. I just learn about the plants I own!

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  3. Steve - very impressive - I have planted out very similar plants in the community gardens where we live. The bromeliads are great as they need no care at all. I have scattered some edibles around in amongst the ornamentals - have lemongrass and aloe vera alongside the pool, and also the local sawtooth coriander and mother of herbs as ground cover. I noticed a pumpkin vine has made itself at home in one of the ginger beds, so might just let it stay :)

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    1. I didn't know you did community gardens! I'll definitely be using lemongrass in the gardens myself.

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  4. Steve, that mower looks so smart and fast. Nothing like the new-mower smell!

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  5. I love your new ride! I love that you included videos in your blog post. I just finished my video for TroyBilt. It did take quite a few takes ;-) I look forward to seeing the community vegetable garden progress :-)

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  6. Such a great idea! I wish there were something like this in my neighborhood! It would make eating fresh much easier!

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  7. That is a better idea than seeing flowers. Having vegetables in your garden will make you sure your foods are fresh. It will be an inspiration to others to utilize their vacant lot and convert it to a small farm. In that way, they can save money also and live healthy.

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  8. Unrelated: I'm about 90% sure your e-mail has been hacked. Unless you really do have something you want me to see, having to do with the video game Black Ops 2.

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  9. That is really great of you honey! What a wonderful project for your apartment community. Is your garden going to get enough light? I am sure you already figured out that would be ok. And your garden is looking really great. I love that you have so many bromeliads.

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  10. When I stepped into the showroom, I felt like I was in Provence. The scent of lavender and the sound of running water from the antique limestone fountain along with the incredible selection of French garden antiques were really impressive. If you are looking for very large garden ornaments, French planters, etc. this is the showroom to visit. A total of 15,000 square feet of the most incredible French garden antiques, French limestone fountains, fireplace mantels and the most selective collection of planters from France with immediate availability. Each piece feels real, the atmosphere is so calming and rural. A true and unique gem to be found in West Palm Beach! Their website is www.authenticprovence.com

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Please feel free to share your questions, ideas and suggestions!