10 Best Beginner Tips for Your Community Garden Plot

A community garden is a plot of land taken care of or gardened by a group of people. It’s divided into individual garden plots, such as 10′ x 10′ or 20′ x 20.

Many communities are embracing these gardening techniques to grow their own food and fellowship with their neighbors. After a Redditor shared their first gardening plot, they asked for the best beginner tips. Here are the top-voted recommendations. 

1. Give Plants Ample Room To Grow

It’s easy to underestimate the size of the mature plant. Give the plants enough space to grow. Every plant will have different space needs. For example, a healthy zucchini plant would need an area of 3-4 square feet. Aim to plant them at least 2 feet apart.

Beginners often end up with a tangled mess of two pairs of companion plants like carrots and tomatoes.

2. Be Careful With Sickly Plants and Disease

If you prune a disease-ridden plant, remember to sanitize your garden shears, hands, and other tools to limit the spread. It’s better to use natural methods to reduce pests and diseases. 

For example, you can use cinnamon. It will kill the harmful fungus but, at the same time, help with growth. Sprinkle cinnamon powder on a specific “wound.” You can use an apple cider vinegar and water mixture with four parts water mixed with one part ACV. You can also use a milk spray made from the same proportions.

3. Thin Seedlings

If you don’t thin and trim your seedlings, they will compete for space and nutrients. It will likely result in stunted growth of all plants and disease.”Consider thinning them when they show a pair or two of leaves rather than the seeds leaves they germinate with,” explained one.

4. Use Mulch

Mulch is a layer of material put on the surface of the soil to conserve moisture and improve fertility. Many in the thread noted that plastic is commonly used as mulch, but it’s better to use biodegradable organic mulches.

You can use dead plant material, such as compost, leaves, bark, or grass clippings. There are plants you can grow for “green mulch.” Some are winter grains like winter rye, winter rice, or beans. Every region has its cover crop. You can see what yours is and grow it in all the empty space.

If you want to go all-in with mulch, there is a gardening method by Ruth Stout that uses lots of mulch for a “no-work” garden.

5. Garlic, Onions, and Chives Repel Insects

Bugs don’t like every plant we can eat, and they can be used as a weapon to keep them at bay. Insects can’t stand garlic, onion, chives, and chrysanthemums. Grow these to repel them, and they will also be an excellent addition to your pantry.

6. Soil Is Everything

One suggested using organic fertilizer to increase nutrients in the soil. You can also add homemade compost. Ask around about the soil quality. If it’s a rooftop community garden, you can remove the whole soil and add a new one.

Use straw or other biodegradable mulch to protect the soil. Some cover crops to help put nutrients back into the soil are a good idea. The soil only needs to be replaced if it is poisoned. You can add organic matter if it is too high in clay or sand.

Ensure that you check the soil pH, and it matches the plants that you are trying to grow. If it doesn’t there are ways to make the soil more acidic or more alkaline.

7. Connect With Your Neighbors

One community gardener shared, “Connect with your garden neighbors. They will have great ideas on what works best when to plant what, and so on. Then, research the ideas online to be sure the hint is valid and to further your gardening knowledge.” Learn from your neighbor’s mistakes.

8. Less Water Is Better Than Too Much Water

One gardener suggested it’s easier to revive a dried-out plant than an overwatered one. A simple trick is to check the soil in the morning. If you can roll a ball with it and it sticks to your hand, the soil has enough moisture.

9. Be Aware of Typical Theft

Another replied, “Sometimes your crops will disappear the day before you planned on picking them. Theft.” Many other Redditors explained that they had experienced theft of tomatoes and green peppers. 

Popular Reading: 80 Yr-Old Creates Sealed Garden That Hasn’t Been Watered Since 1972

10. Be Aware of the Orientation

Finally, someone suggested, “Be aware of the orientation (which way the sun travels) across your plot. Plant taller-growing things to the north side so they don’t shade other things.” Also, leave a pathway for yourself.

Planning your vegetable garden layout upfront will pay off in the long run with thriving crops and bountiful harvests.

We hope you enjoyed these Reddit recommendations for your community garden plot.

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Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.