8 Friends And 1 Communal Vegetable Garden; Sharing Work, Fellowship And Bounty

by Shani on October 12, 2012

This is the first installment of an ongoing series about 8 friends and their communal garden.

Planning Session

Last Sunday a group of friends met at a Brookland home over mimosas to plan a communal vegetable garden. Most of us don’t have the space for a large vegetable garden, some bring a wealth of gardening knowledge, other not so much. What we all have in common is raucous enduring friendships and a love for all things green. It all started when Tender, a Brookland homeowner, realized that he could make better use of his large back yard and figured why not make it a group effort? The result was a planning session a few days later where we fleshed out a tentative planting schedule and decided what to plant. The group agreed to a few ground rules 1) When the garden is planted, the care and maintenance work will be done as group 2) we will split the costs of materials 3) we will take turns providing food so it doesn’t fall on Tender every time and 4) have fun! The steps of our plan are outlined below. We will follow-up with updates here on the blog as we go, hopefully we will have some great results and tips to share!

Garden Area Today

Phase 1) Prepare the bed. We decided we need to get started now – and we are calling it operation “measure/kill/till”. The measurement came into play as a rough estimate of the space needed once we determined what veggies we would try to grow. We didn’t want to resort to killing the grass by using a chemical treatment, but we felt we had to. If it were earlier in the season, we would have laid down a tarp, and if the sod was thick enough we would have tried to cut and roll it off. So, chemicals it was. So we started. Once the grass is dead, we will start tilling and do other bed preparations.

Killing Off The Grass

Phase 2) The group plans to get together again in a few weeks. The agenda will be firming up planting schedule, final fall prep and planting anything that can go in the ground now. Potential plants to put in now are horseradish,  rhubarb, and turnip greens. Sometime during the fall or winter we will build a shed.

Phase 3) In the spring we will lay down newspaper, mulch, and plant. Our tentative planning schedule is:
Pre frost – spinach, carrots,  beets, radishes,
After frost – brussel sprouts, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, butternut squash, regular squash, tomatoes, watermelon, tomatillos

Phase 4) Maintain, weed, water

Phase 5) Eating, drinking and being merry!

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