Many of the chores that must be done to keep a community garden running can be turned into social occasions! If the weather cooperates with your event everyone can have a really great time while getting necessary work done. Make sure to plan for all ages and if possible have activities that the children can participate in. Although the kids can help with planting and weeding it is likely that their attention will not hold for very long. By having something for the kids to do while the grownups work and ensuring that the area is safe the adults can get the work done and enjoy each others company.
This weekend a great group of gardeners got together to plant seeds for our garden this summer. We planted squash, cucumbers, melons,zinnias, fennel, lettuce, herbs, and wax beans in containers. Working together assembly line style we were able to get hundreds of plants started in just a few hours. We punched drainage holes in recycled containers, labeled them with a wax pencil, filled them with potting soil, added seeds, and moved them to the green house for watering. At the end of the event various families take home potted seeds to care for until our planting day later in May. These seeds will be very young transplants but give us a fantastic start. With our new black plastic mulch this step is necessary and may even give us a jump start on the season!
As we worked the gardeners had an opportunity to learn more about each other. Some discovered that they had worked for the same employers, had moved from the same parts of the country, had friends in common, or had similar interests. We had several generations present with grandchildren grandparents, and parents all working together on a project that would benefit everyone! The kids worked with us for a while and then ran off to play in the sprinklers. My father hosted and he pulled out the grand kids toys for everyone to play with in the yard. Nothing encourages parents that an activity is worth while than their kids having so much fun that they don't want to leave.
Remember to throw a little fun into all your gatherings and your community gardening group will quickly become a fantastic group with connections outside the garden as well!