Lisa's Landscape & Design

Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time

Creating a Garden Coop/Swap

I had an epiphany months ago while thinking of a way I could get my neighborhood more involved in gardening as a community. I was strolling through my own garden looking at all o f the extra goodies I know many of us herb and veggie gardeners have, not to mention all of the volunteer plants I have inherited thanks to a good year of rain, and I thought of a way I might get our community together through this surplus.

In Avery Ranch we have a community website that allows us to exchange information. I thought this was a good place to start. My idea was that we, as a community of gardeners both beginners and experienced, would start a group of sharing and trading food, plants, seeds, plants, cuttings  and even compost scraps, garden tools, recipes,  or whatever!!

So I sent out the invitation and to my great surprise, nearly 20 neighbors showed up with bags and baskets filled with goodies. I had all sorts of volunteer plants to share, herbs for cuttings, cut flowers. Others brought seedlings, vegetables, herbs, seeds, and plants.

Most everyone left with a bag or two filled with all of the offerings. The swap lasted about an hour and 1/2 and the conversation was electric,the energy was amazing and people were so happy to have the company of other gardeners to share experiences, learn about new plants and to go home with new opportunities to try a new plant, enjoy the fruits of someone elses labor, and to have met some new friends. My husband and I had a blast, and we were so happy to have had the opportunity for ourselves, much less that of the community.

We have gotten away from the important experience of community gardens, “in the old days”  or as I like to jokingly say in an old man voice;  “Back in my day” many gardeners shared their seed and gathered by the fence to talk gardening successes and failure. Now we have 6’fences and TV is a staple in our lives. Many of my neighbors hardly know my face and most don’t know my name. It isn’t that I live in an un-friendly community, it is just that we now live in a fast paced world were our time is limited and we are coming and going from this or that.  The garden is a place to make time stop. Have you ever just sat and watched a flower open??  You have to have some patience for that.

Getting back to the community garden helps us socialize and take a moment to listen to others while enjoying the fruits of all of our labor whether it be knowledge or plants. There are many ways to make this happen whether you have an email network, a community newsletter, you post a sign on your fence, go door to door, what ever you do, get the word out and make it happen. Before you know it, good things will happen.

Getting together to garden as a community of neighbors is so much bigger than the plants you will grow, it is also about the friendships that will prosper and the lives that you will touch by reaching out to the people who live near you, not to mention what a great source of good karma it is for you and your garden.

I am really proud of how well this event went and cannot wait for the next meet. My hope is that this will get people talking at work and with their families and before you know it, people will be starting coop/swaps all over Austin. Pay it forward people!!  If you have a plant to get a cutting from, and a yard to host the party, you have a reason to get it started.

Happy Gardening!!!

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape & Design

(Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time)

Quote of the day- When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, “I used everything you gave me.”  ~Erma Bombeck

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