Interested in founding a community garden or becoming involved in an existing one? It’s a great way to meet neighbors and new friends, plus grow your own salad ingredients!

But the community-garden concept is more layered than the actual gardening aspect — although that’s the reason most of us love dabbling in the dirt to begin with, right?Community gardening

First, you must find the ideal location. Second, you must get all the necessary approvals, permitting and paperwork taken care of, if applicable. Third, you must prepare the site. And fourth, you must have enough support — meaning other equally enthusiastic gardeners — to cheerfully help with year-round maintenance and other chores.

Sound like a lot of work? It can be, but also well worth it. Read on for our reasons why the benefits of a community garden often outweigh all that dirty work.

Sense of community

What’s the point of having a community garden without the community? A garden tilled and curated by many gardeners fosters friendships, neighborliness and other benefits, not the least of which can be fun events such as an annual watermelon-cutting party.

Multiple gardeners working the same space can exchange knowledge, tips and tricks about various plants, plus help each other unload a pallet of topsoil. How about kicking back in lawn chairs at the end of the day and popping adult beverages to toast a hard day’s gardening?

And, wouldn’t you know it, once you get a good thing going, neighbors and friends likely will want to kick in and join the community-garden ranks. More people + more community = more fun and bigger harvests — especially when everyone can find homes for the summer zucchini glut!

Gardening can do a community good

We don’t mean merely looking lovely, although that gets high marks. Tending raised vegetable beds, staking rows of snap beans or pruning roses can be “folk” medicine of the best kind.

Frequenting a community garden increases the chances you’ll meet people you might not meet otherwise. That family who moved here from 3,000 miles away and knows no one, someone from another culture or country, or maybe kids who need something active and constructive to do during summer vacation or after school.

A shared love of gardening, or a new interest in it, could be the bonding mechanism not only between strangers, but a community as a whole. Is that possible? Of course. People who might argue during homeowners association meetings, might not when they’re helping each other install a new trellis for clematis vines — because they’re working toward the same goal.

Gardening keeps a community green

It sounds basic, but green spaces, public parks and gardens are important oases in today’s master-planned communities. Sidewalk and fitness trails get neighbors out of doors and increase opportunities to meet and chat, and community gardens do the same thing.

Yours can be whatever the gardeners in your community decide it should be — a public park space, a flower garden with hardscape elements such as fountains, a vegetable garden in which every participating household has its own raised beds, or — in sunny Florida — a community citrus grove.

Whatever it is, roll up those sleeves and wield those trowels together!

Ready to find your own gardening community? Talk to ICI Homes here.