Two years ago I began gardening at a community garden near my home. There are many monetary benefits to community gardening, and there are some drawbacks. Here are the pros and cons I have experienced.
PRO: Living in the city can be hard for a gardener because of the lack of space to plant. Getting involved in a community garden gives you a piece of land. Container gardening has limitations and with more space you can grow vegetables like zucchinis. You also have space to make your own compost.
CON: Many community gardens have waiting lists of up to a year so it is difficult to get a plot. My community garden does not charge a fee to join, but many do. Instead of a fee, I volunteer to weed the common areas and take care of the community garden’s rabbits. I used to spend 10 hours a week in the garden on weed duty but now spend I 15 hours in the garden taking care of the new bunnies.
PRO: Gardening can become very expensive if you purchase gadgets and tools. At a community garden, you can borrow tools the garden has made available, saving you a lot.
CON: With the constant use and natural wear and tear, tools don’t last long and aren’t always replaced immediately. Some gardens have more money than others to replace tools. It may also take time for you to get your hands on tools if other gardeners are using them.
PRO: Some community gardens have free or significantly reduced prices for water. My community garden charges a water fee of $36 per year per plot. I have two plots in the garden and pay $72 a year, or $6 a month. Now that’s a deal!
CON: If your community garden charges for water, the fees can add up. Some charge steep fees to cover water usage while others divide up the cost evenly even if you are doing everything possible to save water.
PRO: Community gardens are great at building bonds among gardeners and neighbors. At my garden, seasoned green-thumbs share tips with those who are not so good at gardening. When I first started gardening I met lots of people who shared their love of gardening with me and eventually became really good friends.
CON: Many times you want to spend alone time in your garden but community gardens don’t have much privacy. Your fruits and veggies may also disappear from time to time since everything is in the open and you are not there to watch it.
My community garden gives me space when I want to relax. It has some drawbacks but I wouldn’t be able to garden without it. If you are interested in joining a community garden check out the American Community Garden Association to find a garden near you.
Do you have a community garden? What to you like and dislike about it?