By Kaylin Currie
Goran and Kaylin will be providing free tours of their historical gardens on Wednesday, Aug. 28 from 4:15 to 5 pm. Come by and learn more about their plants and gardening process and taste some of the results!
Community gardens are natural spaces within cities and towns that provide space for community members to plant and grow their own produce. They are common in cities around the world as they provide people with the space for gardening they may not have at home, as well as offering a social and creative outlet to the community. In Lesley Acton’s article on Allotment gardens she mentions that they were a major phenomenon in Britain as early as the 1700’s. Acton explains that garden allotments were used by everyone from professionals to laboring poor, showing that practicality was not the only reason people used community gardens, even back then. She continues by explaining that with the growing and expanding city landscapes in industrialization-era Britain, there was an influx of new families and property owners in south England which created the need for clubs and social organizations.
Based on the evidence in this article it is clear that while community garden plots in the past have been used to grow food, there was also a clear social aspect to the gardens that permeated through to the modern community garden. This social aspect is a major draw for people today. With the growing use of technology and the disconnect many people feel from their neighbors and the people around them, community gardens are a great way to meet and interact with people as well as to learn about how our food grows.
One of the main things I like about the community garden is the ability to see what other people are growing and their methods for growing. I also really enjoy simply spending time in my garden making it look nice by weeding and trimming the plants. Spending time in my garden on an almost weekly basis has been very therapeutic for me this summer. I always leave feeling happy and satisfied with my work. Something I have been enjoying about this garden as well as the course overall has been the amount of creative opportunities it offers. While writing papers and doing research has its place in a university education, the ability to turn off the computer and get my hands dirty has been very enjoyable these past few months.
I typically work in my garden every day or every other day. I like to water often and keep the plants trimmed and weed free. Since I have so many flowers, I need to maintain them by removing the dead flower heads and watering them to ensure they continue to bloom. There are also a lot of fast-growing weeds in the garden that must constantly be cut back and torn out. I might consider spreading mulch around the garden to limit the number of weeds that grow, as also slow their progress. I typically visit the garden in the evening around dusk to water and weed. I prefer this time rather than the middle of the day because it is much cooler. I also think that watering my garden in the evening is better as the water won’t evaporate from the ground as quickly, allowing the plants to absorb more
I haven’t met any other gardeners yet although I would like to get to know some of them before the season is over. There are so many interesting gardens around mine and I’d love to learn about the plants growing in them and the methods other gardeners have for keeping their plants healthy.
If I have the opportunity next summer, I would love to join a community garden again. I really enjoy having a space to grow plants and flowers as well as learning from others around me. Since I am a student and move around a lot, it’s hard to justify putting the time and effort into making a garden in the backyard of the student home I’m staying in now. Having access to a community garden where I can grow whatever I want and have all the tools available to me is incredibly important to me. I know I will enjoy the rest of this season in the Brock garden and hopefully I will be back next year.
 Lesley Acton. “Allotment Gardens: A Reflection of History, Heritage, Community and Self.” Papers from the Institute of Archaeology, 2011, 46
Acton, Lesley. “Allotment Gardens: A Reflection of History, Heritage, Community and Self.” Papers from the Institute of Archaeology. 2011. 46. doi:10.5334/pia.379.