A First Timer’s Guide to Getting a Community Garden Plot

Facing a long wait-list for your own community garden plot? Try sowing the seeds of membership with these tips

Credit: Flickr / Zero-X

Wait lists are growing at many BC community gardens, but there are ways to speed up the process

As demand for community garden space grows, savvy first-timers are upping their chances at a prime plot by taking these steps

The first day of spring has officially sprung which means it’s also the time when most community garden organizations begin to send out information to their membership to kick-start the season. This is also the time for intrepid first-timers to make contact with the community garden they’ve been bird-dogging all winter long.

Community gardens are becoming more and more popular, so much so that it may be difficult to find available plots due to the high demand and often-long waitlists. Here are some tips to get that community garden plot of your dreams.

How to Get Your First Community Garden Plot

Visit the garden and talk to the gardeners. Get the low-down on the people, the place and, most especially, how to get on the list for a plot. The City of Vancouver website has a list of existing community gardens with contact details but nothing beats taking a look in person and talking with the gardeners themselves.

Get on the community garden’s e-mail (or mail) list. Even if you’re unable to score a plot for the current season, it’s a good idea to keep appraised of what’s happening in the garden for the year ahead. You can also send enquiries from time to time to check your status on the wait-list.

Find out about sharing. Ask the wait-list holder if any current garden members are looking for someone with whom to share their plot. That way you can start growing while maintaining your spot in line.

Volunteer your time and labour. This is a really good way to get to know the community and its gardeners, but to also show your enthusiasm and willingness to participate in the regular communal activities that need doing (ie. mulching pathways, watering and weeding common areas, etc). You likely won’t climb the wait-list any faster by volunteering, but you will be noticed for your efforts and remunerated in good cheer and possible garden bounty.

Be patient and persistent. Most (if not all) community gardens are run by volunteers so don’t get immediately frustrated if you haven’t received a timely response to your membership inquiry. Try timing it with the start or end of the gardening season for a more swift reply. And don’t be put off by the long wait-list —lots of people have good intentions at the beginning of the season but often it’s more wishful thinking than actual doing and you’ll be amazed at how quickly your turn comes around.