Calling all gardeners who wish for more sunlight, a leg up on summer gardening, or some friends to do their gardening with: Gathering Ground is starting a community vegetable and herb garden this spring, 2023!
Gathering Ground is going into its seventh growing season this year and we are very excited to host community members to garden at the grounds. One of our goals is to create community around the simple pleasure of gardening, of pressing fingers into soil and, eventually, delighting in a harvest. There are a lot of horticultural projects happening at the grounds, and with our mission of environmental education and community around agriculture, the community garden will, we hope, become one more hub of liveliness that matures over time.
The community garden will be a single garden, meaning it will not be divided up into individual plots, but grown collectively. The garden will be open to all, with the goal of sharing the work and the harvest. The advantage of this approach is that people can come and go as life demands and still be confident that they’re garden will be cared for. We will have the ability to plan together, plant together, weed together, and harvest together. Or alone, for that matter. With an open door policy, the garden will be available to you when you have a spare hour one morning and want to stop in to weed or admire. It will also be available to you when you need some fresh herbs one afternoon.
Next to the garden we will park our three-sided sheep shelter. (As GG will not be keeping sheep in 2023; this will be a good repurposing of this wonderful shelter for the time being.) This shelter will give gardeners somewhere to escape from the rain or sun, but it will also be the hub of communication for the garden, complete with a black board, a white board, and a cork board. These will be used to communicate with each other and drop-in visitors, with notes that read, for example: “Please pick lettuce today, it needs to be thinned!” and “Please weed the basil patch” and “Green beans are not ready yet. Wait til next week!”
To keep things humming, every Thursday morning at 8:15 AM throughout the season all will be invited to a community garden meet-up. We will meet for an hour each Thursday to discuss the garden, make plans, organize projects, make sure the black boards are up to date with pressing information, chat while we weed, or just share gardening tips, after which we will enjoy coffee from WISCO and occasionally treats. GG will also be holding horticulture workshops each Thursday at 9:30 AM, so some may wish to stay for these too.
I want to stress that the garden will be for anyone, any day, anytime (when the suns out), whether you planned and planted from the get-go or just joined at tomato season. We will encourage all to harvest for a friend who would love to garden but can’t due to wellness or physical ability. Also, the planning will attempt to accommodate the need, but inevitably we’ll have too little or too much of this and that at times, so please don’t eat ALL the cherry tomatoes and remember to lock your doors during zucchini season.
Gathering Ground will provide the space to garden, primary tillage, deer fence, and irrigation, as well as most of the tools needed and seed, some of which will come from the Seed to Kitchen program through the UW Extension and Door Co Seed Library (two great organizations!). But we’re definitely open to additional donations of seed, suggestions, and drop-ins come spring with seed to plant.
There’s even scientific research on the benefits of gardening in community (As if we needed proof?!) Dr. Richard Thompson describes a myriad of the benefits in his research paper, “Gardening for health: a regular dose of gardening” published in Clinical Medicine (2018),
“It combines physical activity with social interaction and exposure to nature and sunlight. Sunlight lowers blood pressure as well as increasing vitamin D levels in the summer, and the fruit and vegetables that are produced have a positive impact on the diet. Working in the garden restores dexterity and strength, and the aerobic exercise that is involved can easily use the same number of calories as might be expended in a gym.…The social interaction provided by communal and therapeutic garden projects …can counteract social isolation. Furthermore, it has also been reported that the social benefits of such projects can delay the symptoms of dementia.”
So garden for your heart, your taste buds, and vitamin green!
We will have a virtual planning meeting on Zoom at 8:15 am on Thursday Apr 6, 2023. Email Alessandra at firstname.lastname@example.org to get the link.