community gardening with kids

I’m so thrilled to have joined the KidsGardening team and to be able to share my experiences of community gardening with kids on the Growing Ideas blog. I’ve been a community gardener for six years now, but before that I had relatively little garden experience. My mom kept a vegetable garden growing up, but I was always scared to go to that part of the property because I once saw my dad removing a (live) snake on the end a shovel. That was enough to keep me on the other side of the yard.

kid in a garden
Author, as a child, with a scowl that would scare a snake.

I live in Burlington, VT, with my young family. We have a good-sized yard for city living, but we also have lots of shade and northern exposure. With big plans for growing our own food after our move to Vermont from Washington, DC, we turned to community gardening. It’s been wonderful to meet new people, glean some knowledge off of the master gardeners, and have lots of fresh vegetables and even a few fruits throughout the summer.

Our plot can best be described as utilitarian. Some of the plots in our garden are absolutely gorgeous, with handmade trellises of gathered driftwood, gorgeous earth with not a weed to be seen, artfully arranged crops that almost look like a labyrinth garden. Mine is covered with straw mulch. Weeds peek out on the edges. My tomato cages are a little rusty and very crooked. Kid-planted seeds grow in odd clumps. It is not, to my daughter’s dismay, fancy. But we love it and it suits us perfectly.

As my little ones are still pretty little (5 and 2), they come along to the garden quite a bit. I’ll be using my blog space to share my experiences and tips growing food and flowers in a communal space with little ones. Spoiler alert: “that’s not ours!” comes up quite a bit.

You don’t have to leave your kids at home if you grow in a community garden. Grab the sprinkle can, throw the kids in the wagon, and the whole family can enjoy growing food with your neighbors.

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