Careful thought about garden site selection and infrastructure early in the planning process will ensure a project that best suits the goals of your business and employee gardeners. The following outlines important considerations for designing and setting up a workplace garden. Whenever possible, including employees who will be responsible for site maintenance in the planning process will help ensure that their valuable site and process knowledge is counted.
When selecting your garden site, consider site conditions early in your planning process. Even if the following site conditions are less than optimal, consider the site’s potential for meeting the needs of garden plants and participants.
- Growing space: How much space will you need per employee gardener? Is the space sloped? Is there good drainage? What should be the proximity to working spaces and common areas? What are the soil conditions? Does the site get enough sunlight? Or is a shade garden an option? See Community Garden Connections’ Resource Packet on Garden Planning.
- Garden beds or containers: Are raised beds, in-ground gardens, or containers preferred? Will they be easily accessible? See Community Garden Connections’ Resource Packet on Container Gardening.
- Pathways: Will they need to be wide enough for a wheelbarrow or mower? Are corners staked or guarded to prevent hoses from crossing into garden beds?
- Dimensions: Does the width of the beds need to be able to accommodate spreading crops like melons, pumpkins, or vine plants? Does there need to be a buffer between spaces?
- Water: Is there a safe, adequate, accessible water source? How will the water supply be maintained in cold climates?
- Damage control: What is the most appropriate barrier for the site, budget, and type of garden? Consider proximity to other structures such as roads and trees.
- Garden structures: What makes sense for the site? Aside from fencing, consider entrances, awnings, sheds, compost bins, washing areas for gardeners, tools, and produce.
- Compost: If safe and allowable, compost bins can turn garden waste and plant food scraps into valuable organic material for the garden. Consider what systems fit the site and budget.
- Enjoyment of space: Depending on how employees and visitors will want to use the space, consider benches, picnic tables, pathways, shade trees, benches, or other features to enhance relaxation and enjoyment in the garden.