Community gardens have been around a long time. They have turned open spaces into fertile areas in which fresh produce and plants abound. In addition, community gardens grow friendships, collaborations and understanding in neighborhoods. They promote awareness and appreciation of the environment and reward gardeners with homegrown fruit and vegetables. They are a source of education, recreation and beauty.
Orange County has more than 20 community gardens. City Parks and Recreation Departments administer many, while others are the grassroots effort of individuals, and still others are contained in gated communities or apartment complexes. Most have waiting lists. They are public, private, open, closed, and very diverse. What they do have in common are individuals who want a place to grow their own food.
The UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County want to support community gardens. We do this by providing the following:
- Start-up information in English
- Start-up information in Spanish
- Roster of existing community gardens in Orange County
- Resources for community gardens
You can interact with Master Gardeners:
- Contact our Hotline which is staffed to research and answer your specific gardening questions.
- Request a speaker to address your group with information geared especially for community gardens
Be sure to explore this website for:
- Basic gardening information
- Pest information
Community Gardens In Orange County
To add a new garden to our list or to update existing information on your garden please send the information to us via the Hotline. Include the garden name, sponsoring organization, full address/location, contact information and website.
Basic Gardening Information For Community Gardens
Soil And Raised Beds
The most important part of a garden – its very foundation – is the soil. It is important to begin with good soil in order to grow healthy plants. One of the initial decisions to be made when starting a garden plot is whether to use raised beds or to plant directly into the soil. There may be rules and regulations in your garden that promote or prevent one or the other. These links address raised beds and raised bed garden soil.
If you are planting directly into the ground, it is good idea to get a soil test. Once you get the results and recommendations back, use these links to learn how to improve and manage the soil and about fertilizers, mulch and compost.
Planting And Crop Rotation
This planting guide, A Year of Vegetables, refers to the coastal and inland regions of Orange County. Planting periods for some common cool and warm season vegetables are given for a year having average weather conditions. It indicates when seeds for each variety should be planted, whether they are planted in plots or directly into the garden, the number of days for germination, the length of time until harvest and even a fertilizing schedule for the plants.
Crop rotation is another important factor in having a successful vegetable garden. In addition to information, there is a link to an example of crop rotation.
Information about planting vegetables is also located in the Edible Plants section of this website.
Troubleshooting: Pests And Diseases In The Garden
If you have problems with pests in your garden, go to the Pest Information page to find out how to identify and remedy the situation.
If you are dealing with some sort of plant disease, look for the cause in the Edible Plant section under the particular plant that has the disease.
If you are unsure and would like some help, email or call our Hotline.
Community Garden Series From The Speakers Bureau
The Speakers Bureau offers community gardens a series of four presentations per year. The recommended presentations are Busy Gardener Month-by-Month Vegetables, Grow it Now Spring, IPM Using Least Toxic Methods, Grow it Now Fall, and for new gardens, Soil.
The purpose of these presentations is to provide not only gardening basics, but also to ensure that university researched information is available to community gardeners. You may want to join with other Orange County Community Gardens to schedule a presentation. Please review the criteria at the Speakers Bureau page and complete the request form on that page.
Resources For Community Gardens
- Calendar of Events for Master Gardener presentations and appearances
- Composting Video Series
- Composting Brochure
- Food Safety in Community Gardens
- General Gardening is a section of the master gardener website that provides a myriad of gardening advice and assists the home gardener in using sound gardening methods.
- Hotline is a tool for you to use for questions or issues that are not covered in other parts of the master gardener website.
- Speakers Bureau provides presentations focusing on various aspects of home gardening.
- The American Community Gardening Association (ACGA) is a bi-national nonprofit membership organization of professionals, volunteers and supporters of community greening in urban and rural communities. Their mission is to build community by increasing and enhancing community gardening and greening across the United States and Canada.
- The National Gardening Association (NGA) is a nonprofit that has been working to renew and sustain the essential connection between people, plants, and the environment for more than 35 years. Their vision is to provide free educational plant-based materials, grants, and resources to the gardening public in five core areas: education, health and wellness, environmental stewardship, community development, and home gardening.
- Where to Find is a link to some of the most frequently searched for places on the Master Gardener website.
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