Community vegetable gardens save money, time


There are hundreds of community gardens in the Houston area. It still takes some work maintaining your garden, but it's a fraction of the cost of having a private vegetable garden and it will help you save on your produce bill.

"And these are the pole beans, and hopefully I will have lots and lots of those," gardener Karen Taylor said.

To say that Taylor is passionate about gardening is an understatement.

"It's so amazing that you put a little seed or a little sprout of something in the soil and you go away and you come back a couple days later, it's bigger and got blooms," she said.

Taylor turned to gardening by accident.

"Last summer I was out of work," she said.

So she needed to find a way to make ends meet and joined the Bronson Street Neighborhood Garden in southeast Houston, an allotment garden affiliated with the non-profit organization called Urban Harvest.

"Allotment gardens allow someone to come in and pay probably a very nominal fee, in most cases, to take care of the fertilizer and the water needs and then they have use of the garden," said Gary Edmondson with Urban Harvest.

Taylor's garden doesn't charge a fee and instead she works hard for her harvest.

So in a community garden, you will have to tend to it, take care of it, fertilize and of course water it. But the great news is you get to share the wealth with your neighbors. "We all share here; when one of us has more than enough of something that we want, we all split it up," Taylor said.

To get involved with a community garden, find out the closest allotment garden in your neighborhood. Fees to create your garden to garden but it's usually an annual fee of $30 to $60 a year. Then you will have to spend money on supplies.

Karen spent $5 on fertilizer, $1.69 on tomato and green bell pepper plants, and a dollar on a pack of green bean seeds.

And if you are wondering about the flavor of growing your own fresh produce...

"I don't what grocery store you buy your tomatoes at, they don't taste as good as the ones you grow in your garden," Taylor said.

Taylor figures she saves a $150 each season maintaining her community garden. To find an Urban Harvest-affiliated community garden or to start one in your own neighborhood, visit their website.

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