March 19, 2014

When You Don't Own Land, Garden Communally

This post is for anyone just starting out on their homesteading dream and especially for anyone who lives in a city and doesn't own their own land.

As many of you may know, Kristy and I don't currently own any land, but that hasn't stopped us from finding ways to pursue as many homesteading activities as possible. While we work on saving money to eventually buy our dream homestead, we are renting a one-bedroom apartment at the Kailash Ecovillage, which has given us opportunities to still grow most of our own produce. With 60 people sharing less than 2 acres of land, gardening and food production looks a bit different than it would on your more traditional homestead. With the spring gardening season beginning, one of Kailash's strongest traditions has started back up as well: the Group Garden communal gardening effort.


When we moved into Kailash in the beginning of March last year, one of things that attracted us to it was the ability to be part of larger community of people interested in sustainability and gardening. At Kailash there are two main avenues for gardening: individual plots and group gardens. Individual plots are 10 ft. x 10 ft. and are assigned to individuals (or couples). We have two plots this year where we plan to grow vegetables such as leafy greens and tomatoes. People are in charge of taking care of their own plots and the plots function much like many of the community gardens found in many cities.

Group Gardens on the other hand brings together different households within the ecovillage to plant, care for, and harvest crops that would be difficult to grow in the smaller individual plots (such as squash and potatoes), while fostering a sense of community and comradeship with your neighbors.


This year we are helping to coordinate the Group Gardens effort as part of a steering committee. In this role, we have helped set up and follow a budget (every household pays a small fee to participate), helped make the garden plan, and set up a schedule for and helped to lead work parties. We hold work 1 or 2 parties every month starting in February through October. At these work parties participants help to sow, care for, and eventually harvest the crops.

We have had two work parties so far this season. At our first work party we planted a cover crop of field peas which have now sprouted and created a beautiful green carpet on the fields. At our last party we set up a trellis for snap peas and planted starts for beets, broccoli, and onions (which are now growing in the greenhouse until the next work-party). We always have a great time at these events and we look forward to continuing them throughout the year.


And since you have probably been wondering, the crops we are growing this year include cabbages, broccoli, snap peas, onions, winter squash, potatoes, beets, leeks, and melons. We tried to choose crops that are easy to harvest in one go-around and/or are good storage crops. Stay tuned throughout the year as we update you with news and photos from this endeavor.

(This post was shared on the Home Acre Hop, From the Farm, Old Fashioned Fridays, Homestead Barn Hop, Natural Living Mondays, Mostly Homemade Mondays, the Backyard Farming Connection, Tuesdays with a Twist, Maple Hill Hop, and Down Home Hop)

4 comments:

  1. Love this! We have been gardening and growing food without land for many years. To find a place is so worth the effort. Thank you for sharing!

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  2. This is SO fabulous. I love how you found a way to work your dream until you can get your own property. Looking forward to hearing more about the communal garden! Thanks for sharing on The Maple Hill Hop!

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  3. I love this idea, and do wish it were a little more mainstream. People tend to have an 'off' connotation with communal working/living/gardening, etc. THANK YOU for sharing with us on the Mostly Homemade Mondays link up! I hope you join us again this week. Enjoy your weekend :)

    Kelli @ The Sustainable Couple
    www.thesustainablecouple.com

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