Last summer, two friends and I met weekly to garden together. We rotated yards, worked for a few hours and then had lunch, brought by the visiting gardeners. We’re continuing again this summer and our first session reminded me of how much is accomplished while chatting and not even thinking about the work. In two hours, we weeded a large plot in my yard that is now planted to be a shade garden. I’ll have to keep after the weeds continually until all the plants grow and spread, but just getting to this point would not have happened without the dedicated time to gardening and the aid of my friends. Next week we’ll be at Julie’s yard, where I look forward to seeing the results of our last summer’s efforts. We share plants, ideas, and skills along with labor and lunch, and all that sharing builds our overall gardening abilities as well as our gardens.
Over the years, I’ve had multiple cooperative efforts with friends, and all have been very rewarding. Various friends and I gave our kids a tiny preschool in familiar spaces; we’ve shared childcare for young kids on a regular, rotating basis; we’ve traded family-sized dinners and, most recently, workweek lunches. I had the idea for cooperative gardening years ago, but it took a while to find a group who was ready to try it. I hope it will continue for many years.