Get answers to some frequently asked questions about community gardening!
How do I start a Community Garden?
Starting a Community Garden is not a quick process, especially if the garden is going to last over many years. The experience and wisdom of ACGA member Community Gardening programs has been captured in various forms. Please visit our Starting a Community Garden Page to find out more.
Additionally, ACGA’s Growing Communities Curriculum is intended to help new and existing Community Gardening Programs through workshops and materials on ways to ensure the sustainability of gardens. You can purchase the Curriculum through our store. ACGA also offers training workshops using the Curriculum and mentoring programs. Check our training page to see if there’s a training scheduled near you.
How do I find a Community Garden near me?
There are an estimated 18,000 Community Gardens throughout the United States and Canada. This website provides a community garden directory under our connect page. The ACGA Member Directory, available to Members, is another source of information, or join and pose a questions to the Email Listserv.
If further help is needed, contact your local or county park agency or contact the land grant college cooperative extension program for your state.
What options are available for making a garden bed accessible to those in a wheelchair?
In our smaller gardens on bad soil, we often build raised beds that are 4′ by 8′ and a foot deep. We use recycled plastic landscape timbers that are about 3″ thick. It takes 12 timbers, 4 of them cut in half, plus about 30 6″ galvanized twist deck spikes to make one bed. It holds just over 1 yard of soil. I figure a little over $100 per bed when I’m budgeting. There are cheaper ways to do raised beds – making them bigger, for instance – but this size is very solid and easy to build. A group of people can pick them up and move them after they have been constructed. They make a nice manageable unit within the garden.
Note: The plastic landscape timbers are non-reactive and do not leach chemicals into the soil. If you choose to use wood, use only untreated wood! Nasty things like arsenic and other chemicals leach into the soils from all pressure-treated lumber, making it toxic.
For a senior in a wheelchair, we made an enabled bed in our garden in brick about 2′ high, 3′ wide and 9 foot long next to one of our back garden paths. We may build a hollow square one (with one of the sides missing) in the future as an alternative design. Here is the website of the garden I volunteer in: http://www.clintoncommunitygarden.org.
The following websites and resources have ideas for low-cost raised beds, tools, and accessible garden layouts:
- American Horticultural Therapy Association
- Chicago Botanic Gardens Horticultural Therapy
- Urban Agriculture Notes: Horticulture Therapy
- “Enabling Garden: A Guide To Lifelong Gardening” by Gene Rothert. ISBN: 0878338470. Paperback, 150 pages, March 1994, Taylor Publishing Co. (TX)
How much success have others had with selling produce from community gardens?
Experiences have varied widely, but there are a number of highly successful “market gardens”" that have been in operation for a number of years. One of the factors that seems to be most important is a clearly developed business plan, and lots of volunteers! Visit our Rebel Tomato web pages for examples of youth programs that are selling their produce.