Garden Varieties

By staff April 1, 2003

Gardens come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you live in a subdivision or a condominium complex, you can usually find special place for you and your neighbors to create a beautiful, functional garden that will feed all of you and greatly enhance your living space.

Here are some tips to get you started:

1) Decide what kind of garden you want. Who will it serve, and who will be allowed to use it?

2) Find a site. It's often possible to lease a piece of private land that's not being used, or perhaps the condominium or neighborhood association will be happy to let you use some land for free in return for creating such an attractive asset. You may need to obtain liability insurance if your garden plot is on private land.Make sure the site gets at least six hours of sunlight each day, has access to water and that the soil is adequate. It may need to be enriched.

3) Prepare the garden. You'll need to decide how many plots you'll have, how large they'll be and what fees you'll need to charge to maintain the land. Try to develop resources for seeds and tools. If possible, build a store room on site or find a place nearby where standard gardening tools can be kept. You'll also need to consider whether fencing is necessary to keep out vandals or small animals

4) Come up with an operating plan.. Be sure to establish some sort of guidelines about membership in the garden, who will manage it and how to choose potential gardeners as previous ones leave.

For further information on how to start a neighborhood plot, call Michael Holsinger at the Sarasota County Cooperative Extension Service at (941) 861-9800. Or check out the Web site of the American Community Gardening Association,

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