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In our marriage we’ve had at least seven different yards. Seemed like the thing to do when raising children. With every new move, we made room first for a swing set, then a trampoline, later we added a hot tub which we loved and we always had a firepit to roast marshmellows and unwind on cool nights. It was what everyone did. Is this common nationally or just a midwestern thing? I don’t know but we followed the trend and had some private outdoor space wherever we settled. And as much as possible, I planted a small garden. It was never an obsessive hobby, but I grew up with fresh tomatoes from my dad’s garden and I’ve always loved growing a few vegetables every summer.

Now, living in an apartment with only a balcony for private outdoor space, I’m experimenting with options. Can’t figure out how to have a fire pit, but I planted a tomato, some basil, spearmint and thyme in a pot on my balcony. I’m sure I started too late. I bought my plants in June but didn’t actually pot them until early July. That may have been part of it. But my balcony has a lot of shade and the tomato plant is starting to die after only a dozen or so cherry tomatoes have ripened. So…on to plan B.

I’m thinking about asking our apartment managers if they’d consider starting a resident community garden here next spring. I’ve never been involved in a community garden effort, but I’ve read a lot about them and I imagine I’m not the only apartment dweller who’d like to grow some plants. Community gardening makes a lot of sense. It’s sharing resources, sharing tools, sharing knowledge and the collective satisfaction of harvesting the fruits of our labor. I ‘m also thinking about connecting with a local group working through borrowed and donated garden space to reduce food insecurities in this community. Maybe we could grow extra rows for this group!

If anyone’s ever successfully approached an apartment complex in this way, I’d love to hear about it! I love the idea of it. I don’t have to mow or maintain a yard, but could gain some of the benefits yards offer. I’ll let you know how it works out.

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