Community gardens are on the rise, with people choosing to interact, plot and produce a variety of different plants and crops on shared land.
Community Gardening: A Beginners Guide to Growing Crops in a Small Place is a simple and comprehensive guide that has everything you need to start growing tastier and healthier home-grown produce, while making friends or spending quality time with loved ones.
The Australian consultants of Community Gardening Laurie Cosgrove and Allen Gilbert explain that community gardening has been around for 20 to 30 years, but with the interest growing in recent years, the decision to release a how-to book with easy to follow steps and lovely glossy photographs seemed logical.
Laurie says community gardening is about growing food for a healthier lifestyle while also working together with people and being social.
Laurie and Allen have both been involved in community gardening for a long time, starting from when they didn’t have a garden and would instead work in community gardens.
“Based on a roster we ( 20 people or more) would go to each garden on a different day and sometimes would work on gardens that needed a little help in our spare time,” Allen says.
“They can be anywhere, even where people have their own gardens, people want to get together as a community and grow, even in small towns they have small community gardens… the scale can be varied, some are even found on rooftops,” Laurie says.
They explain growing fruits, vegetables and herbs doesn’t require a large garden of your own, or even a garden at all for that matter. The book even covers 10 easy steps for bringing a new community garden plot to life and deciding which crops will be best.
“You might start with salad leaves, growing a bit of fresh produce. Broad beans are just about the easiest thing to grow to start off…and you don’t generally find those fresh in supermarkets,” Laurie says.
“Things like strawberries and berries are also a great fit for the Queensland climate,” Allen says.
He adds there is also a section in the book that provides a snapshot of how to protect your crops from Queensland animals and the heat, with netting options a popular suggestions for birds and bats.
He says with people finding it more satisfying to plant their own produce it is reducing food miles and allowing people to share and exchange produce so they can always have something different to try or cook with.
“If you’re lucky, you can be in the garden all day, there’s no restrictions, people can go along and help each other grow and hear all about gardening,” Allen says.
Laurie says the best part for her is the social aspect. “It attracts all walks of life and you can exchange ideas with one another and it doesn’t have to be restricted to gardening.
Community gardens are generally organic but they say some gardens become bright with flowers and herbs among the produce.
There are plenty of existing Brisbane community gardens to get involved with, will you be considering community gardening this summer?