Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Possible Problems to CG

Well, it is important to be prepared for everything, so here are the possible problems of CG that I have discovered, so far:

  • lack of involvement
  • upkeep
  • lack of understanding
  • theft
  • lack of signage
  • vandalism

By looking on the ACGA website, I also found this helpful information:

Vandalism is a common fear among community gardeners. However, the fear tends to be much greater than the actual incidence. Try these proven methods to deter vandalism:

  • Make a sign for the garden. Let people know to whom the garden belongs and that it is a neighborhood project.
  • Fences can be of almost any material. They serve as much to mark possession of a property as to prevent entry, since nothing short of razor-wire and land mines will keep a determined vandal from getting in. Short picket fences or turkey wire will keep out dogs and honest people.
  • Create a shady meeting area in the garden and spend time there.
  • Invite everyone in the neighborhood to participate from the very beginning. Persons excluded from the garden are potential vandals.
  • Involve the neighborhood children in learning gardens. They can be the garden's best protectors. (see below.)
  • Plant raspberries, roses or other thorny plants along the fence as a barrier to fence climbers.
  • Make friends with neighbors whose windows overlook the garden. Trade them flowers and vegetables for a protective eye.
  • Harvest all ripe fruit and vegetables on a daily basis. Red tomatoes falling from the vines invite trouble.
  • Plant potatoes, other root crops or a less popular vegetable such as kohlrabi along the side walk or fence.
  • Plant the purple varieties of cauliflower and beans or the white eggplant to confuse a vandal.
  • Plant a "vandal's garden" at the entrance. Mark it with a sign: "If you must take food, please take it from here."

Children's Plots

  • Children included in the garden process become champions of the cause rather than vandals of the garden. Therefore your garden may want to allocate some plots specifically for children.
  • The "children's garden" can help market your idea to local scout troops, day cares, foster grandparent programs, church groups, etc.
  • Consider offering free small plots in the children's garden to children whose parents already have a plot in the garden.

People Problems and Solutions

  • Angry neighbors and bad gardeners pose problems for a community garden. Usually the two are related. Neighbors complain to municipal governments about messy, unkempt gardens or rowdy behavior; most gardens can ill afford poor relations with neighbors, local politicians or potential sponsors. Therefore, choose bylaws carefully so you have procedures to follow when members fail to keep their plots clean and up to code. A well-organized garden with strong leadership and committed members can overcome almost any obstacle.

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