Courtesy of City of Sydney, Australia
The 10 commandments of community gardens
While each garden will have its own set of bespoke dos and don’ts, here are our top etiquette tips to be a gracious gardener.
1. Everyone’s welcome
You don’t need to know a scrap about gardening to join in, as long as you’re keen to learn. Seasoned gardeners are welcome too – they share their know-how and mentor the newbies.
2. Love lockdown
Let’s face it, life can be hectic. Work steps up a notch, kids take priority, small bars pop up. Keep it simple by only planting the crops you love. You’ll be more likely to make the time to nurture them.
3. Be a neat freak
Nobody likes an unloved, weedy garden, so if you fall behind, get sick or take a trip, ask your fellow gardeners to step in and do your bit. If you find you can’t cope, let someone know so another eager beaver can take your spot.
4. Get stuck in
Pretty obvious huh, but if you’re lucky enough to be offered a spot at your local garden, make the most of it! It’s community gardening 101.
5. Surround sound
There’s usually a hive of activity going on in your local garden, but cranking classic rock from your radio won’t win you many friends. Consult other gardeners on your ultimate playlist before you hook up the stadium speakers. After all, this is your time to channel Mother Nature.
6. Small people and furry friends
Most gardens welcome little ones with open gardening gloves, but a wild child just spoils it for everyone. Keep an eye on them and reap the rewards of giving them a place to dig and watch things grow. It’s a good idea to ask if four-legged companions are OK too.
7. Go natural
Most community gardens are organic. If bugs, diseases and nasties abound, ask your fellow gardeners how to deal with them the natural way. Who knew snails hate eggshells?
8. Thou shalt not steal
Don’t take the bounty of others unless they’ve said it’s OK. Same goes for borrowing their tools. It’s a good idea to harvest as you go, leaving nothing to temptation. If it’s a collective garden, you’ll agree as a group as to who takes what, when.
9. Learn and grow
Look online, stick your nose in a book or best of all, talk to other gardeners about new ways to garden. You’ll be wowing friends and family with your growing prowess in no time.
10. Introduce yourself
Most importantly, get to know your fellow gardenites. You’ll have someone to swap vegies with, help out when you’re stuck, and a new bunch of fresh-food-loving-friends in your ‘hood to boot.
5 and 6 are SO important! Loud music is SO wrong! That is also something I tell guys who want to work on the farm. NO music is allowed! We have someone there who is sensitive to sound, and it is such an excellently quite place anyway. Anyone who wants noise or who does not appreciate the sound of the surrounding forest should work somewhere else.