- Spread the word. Let neighbours, friends and family know that you're looking for a co-gardener. They might know someone who's interested, sparing you the legwork of finding and screening a complete stranger.
- Post an ad on free online listing sites like Craigslist or Kijiji. The library, your local grocer, food co-op or community centre and Starbucks are also places that often have dedicated posting boards for community listings. Of course, you'll want to exercise sound judgment and common sense if you go any of these routes—you are allowing a stranger into your backyard, after all. It's worth meeting up at a coffee shop beforehand, or at least ensuring that someone else is home with you when they visit. Likewise, don't be surprised if they show up with a friend. My student co-gardener came for an initial visit with a chum in tow-a smart safety move.
Now that you've found your co-gardener, you'll need to split the gardening duties and costs. As part of the YIMBY program, a program director at The Stop had sent me an extensive list of considerations as a garden owner. Here are some to remember:
Put it on paper
Draw up an agreement on paper. This step isn't as exciting as getting your hands dirty, but it's really an excellent tool to keep track of everyone's intentions. Tensions can arise in every relationship; a written co-gardening agreement may help keep them to a minimum.
How and when will your co-gardener access your backyard? Make it clear as to when your yard is off-limits and how your co-gardener can access the space. Be fair: Don't insist on being at home when you have a co-gardener over if you work late or are at the cottage nearly every weekend.
Whom can the co-gardener invite to help, if anyone? It's your home, so it's OK to say no to extra guests. What about pets—yours and theirs? Be sure to exchange phone numbers in addition to email addresses, for emergency purposes.