Sunday, January 27, 2013

Gardening through the Ages

As our community garden enters its second year I am eager to attract a wider range of gardeners.  I have two new projects in mind that will target two underrepresented demographics in our gardening club.  The two groups I plan to target are youth and seniors.  These who groups have wildly different needs and a huge range of knowledge.  I plan to have them garden in near proximity to each other to encourage interaction between them.  I hope that the two additional programs will help draw more of the community into our garden.

For the seniors I plan on offering straw bale gardening.  This is a new style of container gardening that offers several benefits to both the garden and the seniors.  Because the plants will be planted directly into the straw bale it will effectively create a very high container garden.  Properly done there should be very little weeding and almost no bending and stooping.  These will be nice small manageable gardens.  Eager gardeners may want to push 4 bales together and create a larger planting surface. There is a great resource on the web at:  I encourage you to visit the site so that you can see all of the fantastic pictures that people have shared.  At the end of two years the bales will be broken open and spread over the rest of the garden providing well rotted compost.  In a way it is two projects combined into one....a seniors straw bale project and a composting project!

For the children's plots I envision small 4 by 4 ft plots where the kids could plant flowers and veggies.  I would encourage them to decorate their plots with signs, bird feeders  and other appropriate outdoor decorations.  I would love to have a scarecrow contest with each plot owner in the fall.  This would be a great group project for Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts or 4-H club members.  I would encourage each plot to think about form and function and to submit a garden plan so that the garden club members could offer advice.  We would hold a one day workshop where the kids could come and start their plot.  During this time we could meet everyone and teach the kids a little about how plants grow.

I think the addition of these two programs would greatly increase the diversity of our gardening members and offer everyone the chance to share with each other.  Our garden is a beautiful place and we would like to encourage everyone to come out and enjoy it.  Now I just need an idea to get the gentlemen involved...ideas?