Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A piece of land

When I chose my new home I had to pick between a bigger more expensive place with a balcony with a nice view and bathroom with a window and a smaller affordable place with neither. I decided to be practical and get the efficiency sans garden space (a bathroom is a great place for plants, and a window really helps). I really really wanted the place with the balcony - it looked like it got a lot of sun and I could have grown some vegetables and some other things. Few things make me as happy as being out in a garden, and a patio garden would have been something.

Now, the perfect solution to my no garden plot dilemma would be to rent a bit of land to garden in... on. When I lived in Germany I often passed a large area that had little gardens sectioned out all over it. They were small - maybe 10 x 10 - and had a little shed or something on them. I forget, maybe they had a fence around them. As much as I loved living in Germany, I missed playing in the dirt, and often thought that if I could have one of those I could be happy. I have read that people have done similar things with vacant plots in Chicago and in New York. So, why not here? I would gladly pay a small fee every month to have my own little space to garden in.

I am an idea man, not an entrepreneur. So, will someone please take this idea and run with it? I really think its a great idea - even in these hard economic times. I think a lot of people would pay $20 a month (I don't know what it should be) to have a place to grow their own vegetables or roses or whatever. Especially as people are hearing more about salmonella infested fruits but can not grow their own because they live in small apartments. Maybe the idea would have to be sold a bit, its popular in other parts of the world, and our grandmothers would do it, why not us? There are a lot of empty lots or worn down buildings around here that could be converted into a garden.


  1. Do the math. A half acre of land in my neck of the woods is about $80,000-90,000. It is probably more in the Orlando area. You could probably create 40 to 45, 400ft2 plots on this 1/2 acre. If you charged $20 a month that would generate about $900 a month, $10800 a year if they were all rented, but I would guess a few would remain vacant. So in a perfect world where all plots were rented and everyone paid their rent with money and not tomatoes it would take just over 8 years before you would see a return on the investment. I forgot to figure in property taxes, insurance and interest. I would hate to get sued if a couple gardners got into a fight and knocked each other up side the head with a shovel. So lets say it would then take at least 10 years before you see a return. The businesses(?)I've been involved with like to see a return on an investment within 2 to 5 years. Now if one could guarantee this 1/2 acre would be worth at least $150,000 in the 10 years it might fly but otherwise you had better talk to your congressman about a community garden on government land. I don't think the government can afford it either. If I didn't live so far away from Orlando I would let you use my lot for a few vegetables in return. You would have to be careful not to disrupt the home of my gopher tortoise though. He has claimed a good sunny location for his home on my lot or it might be just off the property line on the county's land

  2. Gardeners don't get in fights. They are happy people.
    I'm still doing the research, but I will find a way. I don't think it is a for profit venture, it should just be done with vacant land (no loss on what isn't being used and I think that's what I read is being done in Chicago) and it would help "the people".

  3. Check out and search some of the locations. They are sponsored by schools, churches, institutions, etc. There was an organization called greencorps that contributed to the efforts also, check You probably already checked all that out, right?


which is more important? i.e. which would you choose at the exclusion of the other?