How to - Gardening Resources

Make a difference in your community through co-gardening

Helen Racanelli

Why I'm letting a complete stranger tend my vegetable garden for charity, and how you can garden-share, too

The garden
What will you grow? As the garden owner, you know best how much light your garden gets and which plants do well. Your co-gardener will likely have a veggie wishlist, too.

At the very least, someone will have to pay for seeds and seedlings, not to mention soil amendments (if needed). How will you split costs? Agree not to spring surprise costs and purchases on each other.

How will you split the duties? Who is responsible for what? Watering, weeding and cleaning up after the harvest are just a few of the duties a vegetable garden requires after the seeds are planted.

Sharing with each other and the community
So the zucchini are taking over the garden and the tomato plants are nearly toppling over with their heavy fruit. Who gets what? Perhaps you'll go for a fifty-fifty split with any surplus going to charity (or forty-forty, with twenty per cent going to charity), depending on how the costs and duties were shared. Although it's best to decide beforehand, you may need to alter your expectations according to what really transpired during the growing season. Perhaps your co-gardener was a star, working tirelessly while you took a last-minute extended summer vacation. In that case maybe he should take home more than you had originally agreed upon. Or maybe your co-gardener started strong but didn't help with the watering and weeding like she had agreed to. Come up with a sharing solution that feels fair.

Will you share with charity?
If yes, be sure it's a program that accepts fresh produce. Who will bring the vegetables to the charity or community outreach program as they become ready? It may require multiple trips as vegetables ripen at different times.

Last of all, enjoy! Co-gardening is meant to be a rewarding experience. It can match up non-gardening homeowners with avid green thumbs, beginners with intermediate gardeners, or just about any combo of garden owner and garden coveter. You might not want to repeat a co-gardening experience in subsequent years, but you'll never know unless you try.

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