The first seed I planted, I nearly choked the life out of. I read the directions on the package thoroughly but had no idea anomalies like late frost in April could turn my thriving sprouts into wilted mush!
There were plenty of books I turned to, which are fabulous in helping beginning gardeners, but the best resource turned out to be my neighbor, Ramon, a seasoned farmer who knew all the ins, outs and intricacies of Minnesota gardening.
Fact is, before modern technology, farmers and gardeners relied on signs from the earth and sky to help them chart their planting season. They turned to each other for additional guidance and support, sharing expertise to produce an abundant yield.
Today, we’ve traded in sundials for iPads, but the practice of community gardening is blooming!
Members of a garden club lend a helping hand to each other to ease the burden of heavy-duty harvest seasons, tend to each other’s gardens when someone is traveling, and best of all, gift you a garden buddy to chat with. (Talking only to flowers and weeds can get a bit dull!)
If you don’t have a local club, follow these simple steps to create of a circle of gardening friends to help your garden and spirit thrive through all the seasons!
Get the Word Out for Your Garden Club
Decide who you want to invite to your first garden club meeting and then select a fun invitation style to set the tone.
A great choice is a greeting card that has seeds embedded in the paper so that it can be recycled into beautiful blooms or cards with a seed packet inserted or attached.
Set Up a Meeting Spot
The best space to meet in is the great outdoors. Set up a casual meeting with some comfortable outdoor furniture near your garden where the club can relax, chat and toil in the soil at their leisure, too.
Rotate your meetings from garden to garden, and use part of your time to help each other weed or spruce up the space. In the cold or rainy weather, meet indoors to browse over seed catalogs, share lessons from this year’s crop and develop planting plans for the next season.
If it’s not convenient to meet at each other’s homes, find a central location like a library or your local extension agency, which often give free meeting space to nonprofit clubs.
Track Your Progress
Use resources like the Farmer’s Almanac to forecast your local area’s planting and harvesting times and a garden journal to record your and your group’s progress.
Bring these tools to each meeting so you can go over successes and issues together, to share in the learning process.
Design a Fun Project
To keep your club lively, design a special project for your group to do. Decorating flower pots or making wreaths are great crafts for a gardening club.
Instead of designing your craft for your garden, change things up and design for each other’s. This way, you will each have a lovely gift from a garden club pal to brighten your day and your home!
Watch It Grow!
Take your group to the community by offering to help prepare and support a public garden or to help aid fellow community members who may need a little helping hand.
If you don’t have the time for direct volunteer work, consider donating excess produce to local churches or start a community website for gardeners to connect and ask questions of the fellow plant buffs.
Ultimately, the more ways we find to work with our fellow gardeners, the better our bounties will be!