xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxCommunity Gardens in SLC - learn the difference between my Garden Group and the one on this video

Community Gardens are popping up everywhere but they can be quite different on how they are set up and run, which is a good thing, since there is something for everyone.

Watch this video on a local community garden group.

My Community Garden Group is set up quite different than the one on the video.

Here are a few benefits of working in my community garden group:

1. We have NO waiting lists. Since we have up to 2 1/2 acres to garden in this year, we are always looking for people who want to work in the gardens and enjoy the fruits of their labors!

2. We don't sell plots to individuals. Everyone works together on whatever needs to be done in our gardens. You can work for 30 minutes or 2 hours. You pick whatever days you want to work. Choose to work in a garden closest to home if you like, since we have 4 gardens in the Salt Lake valley. RSVP is required before coming - even if it's 10 minutes before you arrive.

3. You receive harvest from the entire 2 1/2 acres and not just from your own individual plot. You can work whenever you like, including skipping a month or two if necessary and when you come back to work, all the gardens have continued to progress, even without your help.

3. The more often you come, the more you learn about ALL aspects of growing a garden. Because we have different types of gardens i.e. vertical, square foot, waterfall, large irrigation gardens, small drip line gardens, flower gardens, hoophouses, etc. you receive valuable experience working in all types of gardens.

4. Everyone is on the honor code, but we ask each member to work at least 25 hours over the 8 month season, which isn't much considering how much harvest you receive during that time.

5. In addition to working together as a team, we offer a variety of mini classes that teach our members about seeds, preserving the harvest, growing seeds indoors, learning how to prune, working in greenhouses, hoophouses and high tunnels, working with a variety of soils, learning how to grow veggies, herbs, flowers, etc.

6. We have several Master Gardeners in our group! Besides learning from them you will work next to many skilled gardeners who can answer questions you have.

7. Work close to home. Even though we have 4 garden locations in the Salt Lake valley (South Jordan, Riverton, Holladay and Taylorsville)you can work close to home and bring your children to help do the work.

8. Work anytime during the week, except for Sunday. This is the only day we don't work in any of the gardens. All of our properties belong to private homeowners. An RSVP is required when working in our gardens so we know who is there and we make sure that everyone is working efficiently.

9. Cost to be part of my group: $50/household for the entire garden season.

10. We provide tools, expertise, land, water, etc. You help us provide the labor!

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxWhat do my vegetables need to grow?

Growing plants is a mystery to some. Good gardeners learn to separate fact from fiction and quickly learn that gardening is both art and science. They spend time with their plants, learning to determine their needs and growing conditions. For them, gardening offers tasty rewards.

Plants have several basic needs. They need light, the proper growing temperatures, nutrients and water. Plants make their own food, hormones and vitamins. As a gardener, your task is to provide for the needs of your plants to help them grow well.

Light is critical to carry on growth through photosynthesis. Most vegetables need at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. If your growing area does not provide this light, move the garden or grow leafy vegetables, such as lettuce, that do not produce a fruit.

Vegetables are divided into two groups — cool-season and warm-season types. Cool-season plants will tolerate a light frost; warm-season types will not take freezing temperatures. Always plant the seeds or transplants according to what they will tolerate.

Although plants make their own food, they must have the right nutrients. Understanding what nutrients a plant needs and how best to apply them is essential to growing a good garden.

Water is critical for all plants, especially in our high mountain deserts. Water is a critical component to make plant food and also provides the needed internal support, cooling, and movement of nutrients throughout the plants.


How do I learn how to garden?

I hear this question more frequently as I answer questions, teach classes and visit people.

The popularity of growing your own food has re-emerged for many reasons.

For some, it is economic, as they want to stretch their hard-earned dollars. Others want to have the freshest and tastiest vegetables possible.

Still others want to grow food using fewer pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Others are following religious counsel to learn to be more self-sufficient and store their excess produce for use in times of need.

Many of the health problems facing this nation could be reduced by eating more fresh fruits and vegetables from your garden. Helping others learn to grow their own food gets them outside and active.

You should never forget the health benefits of working in the garden — enjoying the physical exercise from working outside and also the mental relaxation from working the soil, seeing plants grow and enjoying some of God's gifts to mankind.

Gardening is a great family activity. For me, learning to garden was a gift from my parents. My father farmed and taught me many things, but my mother's time and temperament were more suited to the tender vegetable seedlings in our garden.

She patiently taught me how to plant, nurture, water and fertilize the plants. She taught me to hoe to the end of the row to remove the weeds.

She also taught me how to harvest and then preserve the fruits of my labors which we enjoyed eating throughout the year.

Today, many people, particularly the younger generation, did not have a mother who taught them about gardening. This column is for them.


xxxxxxxxxxHealthy Soil is the Key to a Successful Garden.

Healthy Soil is the Key to a Successful Garden. How do you know if your soil is healthy? Here are some guidelines: Healthy Soil:

• High Organic Matter
• Good nutrient Levels
• Good drainage
• Workable
• Holds some moisture

The best way to improve soil is to add organic matter.

Types of Organic Matter you can use:

Soil Pep
Aged Manure
Compost from different places
Grass clippings

For more information on soil preparation and composting click on the following links: