Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Problems with Urban Garden Share Programs

I think it's a good idea in theory-sharing a piece of your property so that someone else can garden on it. But, I'm not sure I would be up for it especially if I was the property owner. First of all, you don't really know who's showing up and since you haven't hired them they can basically do whatever they want on your property when you're not looking. And what about liability? What if someone steps on your rake and takes an eye out?

Then there are all the logistical problems. Who's going to take care of the daily or weekly maintenance? Who's paying for the supplies? What if you don't like what the people are growing or what if they take off halfway through the project and you're left with most of your lawn removed and a giant pile of sod in your driveway? I think I might know-call a professional.

I'm not saying no, just think before you share or plant. Start out small with a tiny plot that isn't going to impact the rest of your yard or drive your neighbors crazy. If you have a good experience, go from there. Trust your instincts when you meet with people and ask them what their gardening experience is. If they seem really young and naive direct them toward a community plot and look for someone how actually knows how to garden and who seems responsible enough to commit to a plan.


  1. While I understand what you are saying about shared gardens and I've put up the same complaints before, but I have to say I admire the people who really can make it work. I'm not sure how my friend does it, but she lives next to a shared garden and participates in it. I know once a week or so she goes out there and works in the garden and gets away from the stress of school.

    Just thought I'd point out that they can work, I just probably wouldn't be the owner of one.

  2. Great to hear a success story. Yes, I'm not trying to discourage, just make people aware of potential problems.

  3. I agreed with Mitch.

    Basically urban garden shared program serve few purposes:
    - Connect gardeners in your neighborhood
    - Sharing best tips/practices when come to gardening
    - Benchmark & network under a good summer day:)

    I would suggest to start a community and that should solve all the responsibilities issue. eg, community TL can set rules & regulations when come to shared garden functions..but overall, my guts feeling tell me gardeners are usually pretty self discipline and all care for our environment.

    Jay Chua
    Publisher, PorchSwingSets.com

  4. Yes, there are potential problems. But think of all of those extra hands on deck to make sure the garden is getting optimal care!!