Re: Gardening Questions too!
From: RowenaHC (
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2000 13:24:38 -0700 (MST)
Well, we've only had one full year so far and we're still working on a system 
but here are some things we've tried and learned.  I'll also pass along some 
wisdom I gathered from Pioneer Valley, who are much further along than we are 
but don't seem to participate much in this list. (I'm mostly talking aobut 
veggie/cutting gardening here but the same thing pretty much applies to the 
rest of the landscaping.)

We have a common garden - anyone can pick the produce.  The work is done by 
those who love to get their hands dirty, enjoy growing food/flowers and love 
to see others picking and eating it!   There are a couple of people who can't 
stand the idea of people picking stuff without working and they have got 
themselves private lots in the Cambridge Community gardens which are a few 
blocks away!    However, it is always considered the decent thing to do to 
ask before picking special treats or the first fruit of the season!

The garden is, more or less, divided into raised beds about 12 foot long by 4 
feet wide.  Last year (and what there was of the year before) we tried having 
individuals act as "stewards" for particular crops and/or raised beds.  
However, we found that didn't work too well.  Some folk just weren't around 
enough to take care of a crop but because the bed "belonged" to them, others 
were reluctant to take charge.   The result was some overgrown weedy beds and 
unstaked plants flopping around.  This year, based on the Pioneer Valley 
model we are going to recruit those who are willing to put in some regular 
time as a garden team to oversee the whole garden.  People who just want to 
work once in a while will be welcome to do so, of course, especially at those 
times when extra hands are needed. In Amherst they found that having a small 
"affinity" team meant that there were few communication problems - if the 
gardeners didn't meet in the morning or evening they could still figure out 
just what needed to be done at any given time.

Another thing we hope to copy from Pioneer Valley are semi-permanent signs 
identifying the crop, with hooks underneath which allow for helpful notes 
such as: Don't pick this yet; Pick at will; Pick for community meals only, 
etc.   We found some people were uncertain about when or how to pick produce 
- we didn't all grow up with our hands in the dirt!  We are asking the 
shop-denizens to work on this project for us.

In my experience, people who love to dig and weed will happily do it if they 
are given enough strokes!    Those who want to help can wander by on a warm 
evening and offer to water or to hold up one end of a trellis, or just admire 
the stuff.  And please pick and eat it!  The one thing that gets the 
gardeners most upset is for a neighbor to stand by the garden and say: 
"Someone ought to weed/water/stake/mulch those plants!"   GRRRR..... Our 
neighbors on the street also stop to admire the crops and we pass out samples 
to the local kids - a good way to improve neighborly relations!

If the gardeners aren't having fun, you won't have a garden!


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