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MCL May/June 2014 - Community Garden Start-Up Guide
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Community Garden Start-Up Guide

This article was adapted from Gardening Matters,, used with permission.

This “Community Garden Start-Up Guide” is intended to help communities along the path to starting and sustaining a community garden.

Why start a community garden?

Many families would like to grow some of their own vegetables and herbs to save money on their food bills and to enjoy the wholesomeness of homegrown produce. In addition, gardening is a relaxing way to exercise and enjoy being out-of-doors.
Community gardens beautify neighborhoods and help bring neighbors closer together. Here are steps to help create your own Community Garden.

  1. Get your neighbors involved
    Survey the residents of your neighborhood to see if they are interested and would participate.

  2. Form a garden group
    It helps you make decisions and divide-up the work effectively.

  3. Gain permission from your Community Board (very important)
    Once they approve, they can amend the declaration to allow a community garden.

  4. Find land for the garden
    Make sure it gets plenty of sun — at least six to eight hours each day — and that it is relatively flat.

  5. Make sure your proposed site has water

  6. Get your soil tested
    It is advisable to have the soil at the site tested for fertility, pH and presence of heavy metals. For tests ($15 to $80) for soil nutrients, contact UMN’s soil testing lab,

  7. Be prepared to sign “hold harmless” waiver

  8. Planning the Garden
    Measure your site and make a simple, to-scale site map with desired produce. Hold two or three garden design meetings and make sure that group decisions are recorded in official minutes.

  9. Please visit Gardening Matters’ website for more thorough information and helpful hints to begin your community garden.

Published by Community Associations Institute — Minnesota Chapter, copyright 2013. All articles and paid advertising represent the opinions of authors and advertisers and not necessarily the opinion of either Minnesota Community Living or CAI–Minnesota Chapter. The information contained within should not be construed as a recommendation for any course of action regarding financial, legal, accounting, or other professional services by the CAI–Minnesota Chapter, or by Minnesota Community Living, or its authors. Articles, letters to the editor, and advertising may be sent to Monte Abeler at, or at CAI–Minnesota Chapter, 1000 Westgate Dr., Suite 252, St. Paul, MN 55114.

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