Let’s Garden!

May 01, 2022
A man home gardening on balcony of a high-rise apartment building.

Have you ever wanted to start a garden but didn’t know where or how to start? Did you know we live in a state with lots of resources for gardeners like us (new ones!)? Read on to find out how we can all become a gardener and where to go for help.

So, you want to start a garden. Where to begin? You might be surprised but a great way to start is by going to your local library. Sounds bananas, right?! Our libraries are great resources for gardeners. Besides having books, actual ones you hold, and e-books, many provide resources specific to gardeners. Libraries often host events, in-person and virtual, even providing seeds for their patrons (free!) and others are there to answer your gardening questions. Of course, if you live in Massachusetts you are eligible for free access to the Boston Public Library? Click on the link here to learn more. Libraries have a wealth of information devoted to gardening.

You don’t need to visit the library in person to benefit from their services. Once you have a library card (which you can receive virtually!) you will have access to the resources they offer. Besides books, there are DVDs, videos, and more. And yes, on gardening! It’s fantastic and a great way to learn about what kind of garden is best for you. Maybe it’s a container garden? You could always have a patio garden or join a community garden if you’re new to it. There are endless options to grow your own healthy produce.

While we’re at it, you might want to consider journaling your gardening process. That can help you during the next growing season. You can even have your children journal the garden process with you. Whether they’re drawing or writing a description of what you grow, everyone benefits.

Woman in her greenhouse planning the summer ahead with pen and note pad.

After you’ve been to the library and decided what kind of garden you’re interested in, it’s time to get to work. You might need things like containers, compost, tools, lumber, or more. Don’t get overwhelmed! Did you know that many cities and towns supply free compost? Or that locations across the state provide gardening resources where you can even borrow garden tools (free!)? After reaching out to your local city or town, go to your local garden center or paint store, they may have free containers. All you have to do is ask! There may be other resources specific to your area. It’s amazing how a few conversations can generate the supplies you might need. Below are links to get you going:

 

Boston Public Library Gardening Resources:

https://guides.bpl.org/communitygardening/resources

It’s not just the Boston Public Library that provides resources for gardeners. Check out the link below to find out what the library in your community is up to:

https://mblc.state.ma.us/mblc_blog/2018/05/08/get-your-garden-going-at-your-local-library/

If you live in Roxbury, Dorchester, or Mattapan you qualify for gardening resources from The Food Project:

https://thefoodproject.org/bag/

If in the Worcester area you can receive gardening resources from the Regional Environmental Council:

https://www.recworcester.org/ugrow

The Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts has resources and events across the state. Find a chapter near you:

https://www.gcfm.org/clubs

For gardening resources across the state, you can’t go wrong with the Massachusetts Master Gardeners. They even have a hotline for your questions:

https://www.massmastergardeners.org/gardening-resources

UMass Extension has a wide array of resources and tip sheets:

https://ag.umass.edu/resources/home-lawn-garden

And for more garden information provided by Massachusetts try:

https://www.mass.gov/service-details/garden-centers-and-nurseries

Join a community garden if you’re in the Greenfield area:

https://justroots.org/community-garden/

For more information about community gardens in the Boston area as well as gardening resources statewide check out the Trustees of the Reservation:

https://thetrustees.org/place/boston-community-gardens/

If you are interested in participating in a community garden, simply Google, ‘community garden near me’ to find one.

Once you’re done gathering the resources and materials you will need you can enjoy the experience of growing your own food. And it’s not just the lettuces you grow that you will benefit from. The gardening process itself is a physical activity that is good for your body and your mental health as well. Happy growing!

Group Working in an Urban Organic Community Garden