The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Pros and cons of the community garden

Community garden

Athens contains multiple community gardens. And even though I like building the soil in my own space, I couldn't resist attending a community-gardener panel discussion to see if the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.

Double digging

"Why did you join the community gardener?" the moderator asked. The obvious answers were space, sun, and soil --- some folks simply don't have appropriate garden areas around their home. If they want to garden, it's going to have to be somewhere else.

But the community aspect of the shared garden space was also key to many of the gardeners' decision to grow there. They enjoyed meeting other gardeners and observing those folks' choices and crops. Even peer pressure was cited as a positive --- a way to force yourself to get out there and weed!

Garden wagons

How about the negatives? These were pretty much par for the course for any experienced gardener. Harlequin bugs were apparently a huge problem in the surrounding plots when one gardener got serious about the insects' favorite food --- horseradish. Voles eat sweet potatoes and deer jump fences to nibble everything. And, of course, there are always all those weeds. Sounds a lot like my own gardening experiences.

Of course, there were also a few site-specific challenges. Athens' community gardens are close to the river and flooding can be a drag. Meanwhile, the plot in Nelsonville is currently being moved to higher ground, not just because of flooding but also because Johnsongrass took over so badly that it wasn't worth growing there any longer.

Leaf compost

Like gardeners anywhere, though, the panelists were eternally optimistic. And they even made me jealous of one thing --- the huge piles of leaf mulch the city delivers to each site in the fall. That was nearly enough to sign me up!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Horseradish as a favorite food for Harlequin bugs! I never knew that.

Do you have a post somewhere on the site that lists favorite foods of all common pests?

Thanks again!

Comment by Terry Thu May 3 11:02:56 2018
Johnson Grass! I HATE the blasted stuff! I've spent nearly 18 years fighting that crap. If you dig it out the only way to get rid of it is to dig every single tiny piece of root and burn the suckers. Otherwise you have it growing everywhere!
Comment by Nayan Thu May 3 17:02:23 2018

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