Ideas on starting a neighborhood garden?

Michelle MCNEILL

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So... now that I have a large yard and plenty of space to garden, I had a ton of ideas and I need so much help!
We live on the somewhat poorer side of town and we don't have a ton of money ourselves, but we're have been very blessed and would like to give back in the best way I can...by providing fresh food.
We have lots of people stop and admire our garden and I think it would be awesome to turn it into a sort of free "pick what you need" for our neighborhood. So here are my questions:
Is this idea even plausible?
If so... what would be the best way to go about doing it?
Could this be done year round if I made green houses?
Do you guys have any suggestions that would be useful that I'm not thinking of?
 

so lucky

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That sounds like a fun idea to me. You could do it informally, spread the word just from casual conversation, or make a production out of it, maybe get a corporate sponsor to help with the cost involved. Get some volunteers lined up to help with weeding and harvesting.

One thing that always stands in the way of being able to utilize fresh produce is knowing what
to do with it. How do you prepare a beet for eating? What do you do with an eggplant? How can I make pickles? Providing free samples of prepared veggies or at least print off recipes so folks will know what to expect might be worthwhile.
While you may find building a greenhouse is cost prohibitive, building low, or even high tunnels doesn't cost much, and if you have lots of greens planted before Persephone dark hours, you could probably harvest most of the year. Good luck. If you go ahead with this, you can chronicle the progress on this forum! :celebrate
 

Carol Dee

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So... now that I have a large yard and plenty of space to garden, I had a ton of ideas and I need so much help!
We live on the somewhat poorer side of town and we don't have a ton of money ourselves, but we're have been very blessed and would like to give back in the best way I can...by providing fresh food.
We have lots of people stop and admire our garden and I think it would be awesome to turn it into a sort of free "pick what you need" for our neighborhood. So here are my questions:
Is this idea even plausible?
If so... what would be the best way to go about doing it?
Could this be done year round if I made green houses?
Do you guys have any suggestions that would be useful that I'm not thinking of?
I love this idea. Go for it.
 

seedcorn

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I love the concept. Hate the part of “them helping themselves”. I see people destroying as much as they take, you doing all the work (expense) getting none, and (horrible to think of people) some selling what u freely gave them.

Put up a “free” table and place all extra there.
 

so lucky

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If you know any newbie Master Gardeners, they have to do a certain amount of service hours to keep their status. Wouldn't it be nice to have a Master Gardener to help with the planning and upkeep? You might get in touch with your county extension service, where the MG program is originated/funded.
 

reedy

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I love the concept. Hate the part of “them helping themselves”. I see people destroying as much as they take, you doing all the work (expense) getting none, and (horrible to think of people) some selling what u freely gave them.

Put up a “free” table and place all extra there.

I agree completely, I ain't having people wander around my garden, no way! On the other hand, when I lived in town I would often put little grocery sacks and extra stuff in a box by the sidewalk with a sign that said something like "Tomatoes, some for the price of none". Some people were confused by it, seemed pretty clear to me. It was a very small town and I had several elderly neighbors. Sometimes I found a little money in the box.
 
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Zeedman

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I love the concept. Hate the part of “them helping themselves”. I see people destroying as much as they take, you doing all the work (expense) getting none, and (horrible to think of people) some selling what u freely gave them.

Put up a “free” table and place all extra there.
Ditto. Allowing strangers free access to the garden will allow the greedy to take everything, and the reckless to damage the plants. Not to mention that you might not want to give strangers an excuse to intrude on your property without you being present. Harvest everything yourself, keep what you intend to use, and put out the rest.

Or... just donate to a local food pantry.
 

bobm

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I love the concept. Hate the part of “them helping themselves”. I see people destroying as much as they take, you doing all the work (expense) getting none, and (horrible to think of people) some selling what u freely gave them.

Put up a “free” table and place all extra there.
Ditto. Allowing strangers free access to the garden will allow the greedy to take everything, and the reckless to damage the plants. Not to mention that you might not want to give strangers an excuse to intrude on your property without you being present. Harvest everything yourself, keep what you intend to use, and put out the rest.

Or... just donate to a local food pantry.
Ditto and ditto !!!
 

Beekissed

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I agree with above suggestions!!! Please don't allow anyone to trample into your garden unsupervised or you will soon grow very jaded with your wanting to share with others.

A nice free station for those who would want it or even scheduled days when they can come and pick under your supervision, so you can encourage them, educate them and be a part of their experience....but to allow them to pick freely is asking for a heartache.

A good fence makes for good neighbors and also keeps the neighborhood pest animals out of your garden, so your first expense may need to be a fence.
 

flowerbug

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Ditto and ditto !!!

the other point is liability if someone on your property gets injured... so i agree with the others about doing your own growing/picking apart from what you set out as extra or how you give it away.

if you can find a few people who will share your space with you who are reliable and good companions i would make that a different aspect. :)
 
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