What Are Demonstration Gardens For?
Demonstration gardens are small spaces where people can learn how to grow their own food. They may include plants from your local area or they may be designed around a theme such as “Earth Day”. There are many different types of demonstration gardens. Some have only one type of plant. Others may contain several kinds of plants. Still others may even include animals or insects that would not normally be found growing in the wild.
The purpose of a demonstration garden is to provide people with the opportunity to see how other people grow their own food. People often come into a demonstration garden because they want to try something new, but don’t necessarily have any experience growing their own food. They might also visit a demonstration garden after having lost everything else in life and need some sort of distraction from the pain of everyday existence.
These people may not have any previous knowledge about growing their own food, but a demonstration garden can still provide them with information and materials.
Some demonstration gardens are designed specifically for certain types of people such as schools, nursing homes or prisons. Such gardens may be smaller, but will contain everything that people need to learn how to grow their own food. In some cases, these various groups might only visit a particular demonstration garden once or twice per year.
In other cases, such as nursing homes or prisons, these groups may visit a demonstration garden on a weekly basis.
Why Should I Have My Own Demonstration Garden?
You may be wondering why you need to have your own demonstration garden if there are so many located in your area.
After all, isn’t everyone going to learn about growing their own food at the nearest one? While this may be true now, who can say how long that will last?
Demonstration gardens are often under-funded and under-appreciated. If you want to make sure that you can still learn how to grow your own food no matter what, then having your own demonstration garden will help with this task.
Of course, it isn’t just about growing your own food. There are a lot of benefits that can come from having your own demonstration garden. For example, it can help you save money.
You won’t have to buy as many supplies at the store which will cut down on costs. If there is a local supplier of your area, then you might even be able to cut out the cost of shipping from other states or other countries entirely.
Another benefit is that it can help you keep up with changing fashions and trends. If you are growing your own food, then you certainly won’t want to be using products that were created with harmful chemicals. However, if this is something that is not currently popular but becomes so in the future then you may not have a choice.
By keeping up with changing fashions and trends, you can ensure that you are never put in a position where you have to compromise your health just to keep your garden thriving.
What Else Can I Do With A Demonstration Garden?
While it is true that many people will learn about growing their own food in a demonstration garden, it doesn’t mean that you can’t take advantage of the situation in other ways as well. For example, you might want to hold various events in your demonstration garden to make it more popular. After all, the more popular it is, the better chance you have of reaching as many people as possible. Some events you could host include:
Q and A sessions: You may be the one that knows how to grow your own food, but that doesn’t mean you know everything. Hosting a question and answer session allows people to ask you questions directly so that you can provide them with the answers they are seeking.
Workshops: Workshops give you the opportunity to teach others more advanced methods of farming. While these may be a little too complex for some people, others will find them to be exactly what they need.
Growing Challenges: You can also host growing challenges in your demonstration garden. This allows you to put your own methods to the test and see if they really do grow the best fruit and vegetables.
Fairs: Fairs are a great way to get people through the gates of your demonstration garden. You can host them at the same time as other local fairs or by themselves. Either way, it is a great way to get the word out about what you are doing.
Of course, you aren’t limited to just these events. If you can think of any other events you think would be a good idea, then there is no harm in trying. The only rule is that these events must benefit the community in some way.
How Big Does My Garden Need To Be?
This is always a difficult question to answer since it depends on how big you want to make your demonstration garden. While many people would like to go big or go home, this isn’t always the best idea for a number of reasons. The main one is having too much area will make it difficult to maintain and keep up. Not only that, but it will severely water down your resources.
If you go small, however, then there is a chance that it won’t have a big enough impact on the community and this is something you really want to think about when creating a demonstration garden. The whole point of creating the garden in the first place is so that people can see what you are doing and hopefully follow suit.
As such, you really want to make it as easy as possible for people to see what you are doing. The best way to do this is by having a big demonstration garden. However, just because you want a big garden doesn’t mean that you should go and take over the local park.
Try thinking smaller than that.
You think that a fair size for your garden would be about a quarter acre. This is big enough to have a good variety of crops, but small enough for you to maintain. Once you have your garden all ready to go, then you can begin the process of educating the community on what you are doing and why they should be doing it as well.
So, What Should I Grow?
The first thing you should do is take a look at what grows well in your area. You can probably save yourself a lot of time by simply taking a look around your area and seeing what people seem to like growing.
You will, however, want to modify what you see to suit your climate. This means that you probably shouldn’t plant bananas in an area where the climate gets so cold that it turns everything to snow.
Still, there are certain things that most places will be able to grow. These would include:
Fruits and vegetables (obviously)
Grains (Wheat, oats, barley, corn, etc. Be careful with these as some, like wheat, require a lot of work)
Flowers (These can be for more than just looking pretty. For instance, marigolds can help keep certain insects away)
While you may be tempted to just plant a garden and start growing things, you really should take the time to think about the future a little. You don’t want to be in a situation where you spend a lot of time and effort on growing a specific crop, only to find that nobody in the community is interested in it.
The best way to approach this is to host a fair.
You have the land, so why not use it?
Basically, what you would do is plant a small amount of a variety of different crops. Plant enough so that people in the community will notice it while at the fair, but not enough that you will go bankrupt if nobody decides to buy any.
Once people see what you are growing, they are going to be very interested. After all, most people don’t have the space or time to grow their own food and they would rather support a local farmer than a big company that is importing food from who-knows-where.
However, before people will buy your food, you are going to have to educate them a little bit. People don’t just buy food because it’s there; they need to know why your food is better than the alternative. In this case, the alternative would be the bug-infested, disease ridden, mass-produced garbage that seems to make up most of the food that people consume.
Once you educate people about this, they will flock to your food because it is obviously better for them.
Of course, you will still have to compete with the big companies, but at that point you will at least be on somewhat of an even playing field.
From there, it is just a matter of maintaining your crops and selling your produce. You will probably make a profit in the beginning, but as always, you will have to watch your money carefully. There will be seasons that are better than others and you may get hit with unexpected expenses (like a brutal winter killing off your best labors or thieves stealing all of your seeds).
Sources & references used in this article:
Home gardens focusing on the production of yellow and dark-green leafy vegetables increase the serum retinol concentrations of 2–5-y-old children in South Africa by M Faber, MAS Phungula, SL Venter… – … American journal of …, 2002 – academic.oup.com
Sowing seeds for healthier diets: Children’s perspectives on school gardening by E Nury, A Sarti, C Dijkstra, JC Seidell… – International journal of …, 2017 – mdpi.com
Tree genetics defines fungal partner communities that may confer drought tolerance by CA Gehring, CM Sthultz… – Proceedings of the …, 2017 – National Acad Sciences
School gardening with a twist using fish: Encouraging educators to adopt aquaponics in the classroom by J Clayborn, M Medina, G O’Brien – … Environmental Education & …, 2017 – Taylor & Francis