The Joy of Belonging to a Community Garden

The Joy of Belonging to a Community Garden

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Anyone who’s known me for a while knows about my love of gardening. 

tulips and violas blooming in a pot

Even though we have moved houses often (like, ten times in less than thirty years often!), I’ve always made room to grow flowers and vegetables.  I’ve had large swaths of grass removed from our yard(s) and replaced with flowerbeds, grown vegetables in raised beds, and, when there was no space for either of those, planted large pots brimming with anything from petunias to heirloom tomatoes.

So why, when we moved to Southern California nearly two years ago, did I ever agree to a townhouse with just a small patio?  Seems crazy to me now that I’ve been here awhile, but at the time, I really had gotten sick and tired of home and yard maintenance.  It seemed ideal to go the simplest route possible, and if that meant no yard, so be it! That was a mistake.

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First, A Patio Garden

My patio does have a flower bed around the inside perimeter, and I knew that I would be removing the few barely-living plants left by the previous owners.  I thought starting from scratch in that space would satisfy my gardening bug.

patio with old plants around edge
Not very inviting, is it?

And it did, for about six months and many trips to Armstrong Garden Center and Lowes.  I was content.

Until I wasn’t.

patio with new plants around edge

Joining A Community Garden

Fortunately, I discovered community gardens here in Long Beach run by a group called Long Beach Organics.  I heard that plots were in high demand, so I requested a spot on the waiting list shortly after we had moved in. 

Fast forward a year and a half to the day I opened my email, and to my surprise, I was invited to join a garden just a couple of miles from home.  I signed up right away, became a member of Long Beach Organics, and after a short orientation – selected plot 2B, my very own 10×10 plot of land to manage!

community garden plot before planting

Planting My Plot

That was last October.  I knew I’d start the garden with seeds rather than starter plants, because I wanted to see the full growth process. I got my seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company, and I’m very pleased with the results! Check out this post for a great list of options for organic, non-GMO, and heirloom seeds.

Now, while everyone else in the country is dealing with mind-numbing cold, here in SoCal we are in the cool, wet season, perfect for kale, arugula, radishes, peas, and lettuces of all varieties.

plants just sprouting from ground in a community garden
Seeds are coming up
Water and sunshine help

My gardening instincts are satisfied, I’ve got more veggies that I can either eat or give away, and even on rainy days like today, I’m gardening vicariously by studying online catalogs for all of the new veggies I’ll be planting come “warm” season in April!

Additional Benefits to the Community Garden

As a major bonus, I’m getting to know other garden fanatics, sharing advice and plants, and becoming part of a community of people who share one of my primary hobbies. Wins, all around!

community garden plot growing well
How green is my garden?
English peas on vine
First peas of the season
green lettuce
Lettuce eat salad

Do you have a garden? Have you ever been involved in a community garden? If you are curious, try searching for them online. Chances are, your town has them and you might not even know it!  I’d love to hear about your gardening adventures in the comments below.

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woman's hand holding turnip

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