Buddy System Gardening


Post by community member:

I don’t know of anyone who loves Spring as much as I! What a wonderful time to work together with friends. At least six different families have visited my back yard this spring with a shovel. It has rather a good/bad feeling to it. I have spreaders and volunteers and producers that others, with the tight economy, are wanting. I like to think of it as buddy system gardening. When my rhubarb goes a bit nutso, it gives me the opportunity to share with ones who want it as well as those less fortunate. A wonderful example for the kids and a great feeling for me comes from it; however, I am so darn personally attached to my garden and yard!

Last battle for Spring.

I ended up with nutso amounts of rhubarb by sharing. I realize that sounds weird, but approximately 6 years ago a couple of ladies wanted pieces from my rhubarb plant. Since it was early spring, I let them dig it up, cut off a few chunks, and put it back in. A bit to my surprise, they broke off a few extra pieces that then rooted. I now have 3 very large healthy plants.

Rhubarb in the distance in Spring glory.

I’ve had tomatoes volunteer in the garden as well. Since I grow heirlooms, I know they are good reliable plants so I end up giving them away. I grow very specific ones purposely in my garden for seed saving, so even with many plants showing up looking great, they don’t fit into the rotation needed for seed preservation. I end up with a great opportunity to share and others just want a free plant that will produce. Both needs are met.

Buddy Renee asked to pick one weed, and there she is staring at it. Ah, I still love her even if she can’t pick weeds.

I also have a neighbor that grows different varieties of cucumbers than I, and her plants produce like crazy. Thus, I can keep to one variety here for seed saving and pickling, and I benefit from her plants for diversity in our diet. In return, I always start tomato plants and pepper plants for her. It’s nice to keep the “babies” close to home, so I can see how they grow in her yard.

Raspberries are also a great sharing plant. Their runners are eager to take off each year, so I frequently get to share with others who want them, rather than people spending about 6 to 7 dollars per plant. The most fun part for me is how our beds got started! I had a neighbor share a few runners with us. Then another shared. Then another. Then yet another. I have at least 5 varieties presently in our yard, and by so having, we get raspberry production from early summer well into the fall! Each one produces at a different time, so as one is finishing, another is starting up! Since raspberries are my absolutely most favorite fruit, I don’t mind spending the entire summer tending to the raspberry plants.

I’ve also shared extra pumpkin starts from the garden (daughter put like 15 seeds in the hill and they all germinated!), garlic chives, regular chives, and strawberry plants from in the rocks no less. They are now other people’s babies.

Sharing blesses me. I can smile with the enjoyment of sharing. I manage to get “weeds” (unwanted plants) out of the yard and let them become something special to others. Additionally, there comes the excited reports of how things are growing and taking off! I help others get more thrilled about their gardening and production! Silly as it may be, I then gain more people to discuss my enjoyment of gardening and more diverse ways of using produce. That, perhaps, is my most favorite part–friendships.

You can also find Moopsee at Yahoo’s Canning2.

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  1. LisaAJB says:

    I had some petunia plants this year that exploded. I called one of them Jabba the Bush because it was so huge and choking back my blessed hollyhocks. Luckily I had a friend with too much land to mow. She took the “extras” from my yard. I also do a vegetable garden with my neighbor every year. We both add plants to the garden and share the harvest when it comes. This year we both added broccoli. We have 8 broccoli I think 🙂 We’ll just be so healthy. Gardening with friends is so much fun.

  2. rosemary+++ says:

    I enjoyed your blog about gardening with friends I esepcially enjoyed your comments about your raspberries over the years I have given away raspberries plants (I think that I supplied the neighborhood) I leaned recently that some of the plants that I gave to a neighbor ended up in her daughter’s garden. Her daughter lives in Ohio.

  3. Pete says:

    Goods ideas, all!

    Another benefit of buddy system gardening is that when calamity happens to a treasured plant you instantly have a source for replacements. Can’t tell you how many times we have given back a start (or seeds) of something to the gardener who originally gave us that something or how many times we have had to get a bit of a plant back from someone we gave it to.

    It’s all good!

  4. BrendaE says:

    I checked out your soaps. They look scrumptious. I could drive down there and pick them up since I live in Denver. Wish I could grow some of those heirloom tomatos but alas, I have no yard. I tried one year to grow in a big bucket and it overtook my patio.

  5. BuckeyeGirl says:

    During the years I lived in Denver in an apartment, I shared a plot at a community garden with a friend. What a wonderful experience that was! Since there were two of us, we did quite well but the ‘singles’ sometimes had issues getting out to care for their plots (work, family, weather etc). Well, I saw a lot of gardeners grow friendships over time as well as tomatoes and cucumbers! They showed they were willing to share plants and some helped each other, working out a plan to water each other’s plots for them so each could take certain days or evenings off, or even a week at a time so vacations would work!

    We noticed one plot getting unusually neglected and found out that the owner was very ill… a bunch of people started ‘helping’ and that garden plot was revived and we made sure the owner got pictures, and produce from it. I like to think that lady thrived a little more knowing that the garden she wanted so badly thrived as well. I’m sorry to say I never found out how her recovery went, but I do know we did just a little bit to help her and her family… maybe, but with the many hands helping, it was very little personal effort.

    Many more things grow in a garden than green plants.

  6. CindyP says:

    Great post, Moopsee!

    The whole neighborhood shares veggie and flower plants here. And no 2 yards look alike!

  7. Moopsee says:

    It is terrific hearing about others who also share. That is very true, Pete, that one can get back a plant after possibly losing their own. That is why I share recipes — if I lose it here (who knows why!!), then I always have a back up to look to and retrieve.

    Gardening already makes me feel happy, and sharing, well, that just adds to the happiness and joy.

  8. brookdale says:

    Just found this post, and I totally agree. Sharing is the best part of gardening. My whole big flower garden in front of my house is made up of shares from my sister, niece and friends.
    And I’ve shared plants back to them too. I try to remember where my stuff came from so when I show my garden off I can say, “This came from my sister”, or “my mother’s garden”, etc.
    My sister even puts initials on her garden markers to tell where the plant came from. She’s more organized than me!

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