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Vegetable Gardening Hints, End of Summer 2018
September 03, 2018

Community Plot vs Backyard Garden

In the early to mid 2000’s I grew organic vegetables commercially on 2 acres, then 5 years ago I moved back to the city and apartment living. Smaller space and concrete everywhere put me into gardening withdrawal. I knew I couldn’t just stop growing some veggies. I needed to keep my hands dirty, so I started looking around for places to grow in my new neighborhood. I put my name on a list for a community plot. For the next 3 years I only had access to a small balcony so I renewed my interest and experimented in growing vegetables and herbs in containers. I grew some great cucumbers, peas, salad greens, parsley and chives.

Finally my name came up for a plot. I could dig in the dirt again. For the last two years I have been growing a few veggies in 16 square foot, a far cry from the 2 acres. Last year I had a great crop of cucumbers and salad greens. This year I planted salad greens, a few peas, cucumbers and tomatoes. I had loads of salad greens, a couple handfuls of snap peas but my cucumbers and tomatoes were disappointing.

I sometimes miss having the larger garden, mostly in the spring, as I loved starting transplants. I have no space to set up a propagating station and not much call for a huge amount of transplants for a tiny plot so I just purchase the few I need.

Travelling back to the hometown where I grew up this summer I had the chance to revisit backyard gardening. My sister has a fabulous back yard garden; a plot 20 feet by 20 feet. Not too large to manage yet enough space to grow food to eat fresh as well as to freeze and can.

My visit home prompted me to look at the differences between growing in a backyard and community plot.

Benefits to community plot growing:

- Available growing space when no backyard is available

- Community tools and equipment available

- Community gardens offer green space to other gardeners and the community

- You can meet and talk with fellow gardeners

- You can see what other gardeners are growing and learn from them

- Have other gardeners who are willing to water for you when you are away

Disadvantages to community plot growing:

- Usually a small area to grow

- Restrictions on what you can put on the plot

- Have to walk or drive to access garden plot

- Fees

Benefits to back yard growing:

- Potentially a larger space to grow

- Easy access, just outside the back door

- More space to grow in different mediums

- More space to experiment with new plants

- Able to erect structures

Disadvantages to back yard growing:

- Working alone

- Cost of purchasing tools and equipment

Both the backyard and a community plot offer space to grow your own food. I miss not having enough peas to freeze, or beets to make pickles or tomatoes to make a huge batch of sauce; however I am very grateful for the handful of fresh veggies my tiny community plot gives me.

Online coaching available.

Do you have questions about certain aspects of your garden, or need some direction on how to get your garden started? Let's have a face to face conversation via Skype? I offer online coaching sessions.

Catherine recommends her book:

How to improve your Garden Soil

Why is Soil so Important is a great new book giving simple and easy instructions on making and keeping your garden soil healthy.

Catherine's bio

Other vegetable gardening books written by Catherine Abbott, Your Vegetable Gardening Helper.

Spread the word

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Happy gardening!


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