So, what exactly is a Little Free Garden?
A Little Free Garden is a 4 ft x 2 ft, 12” deep raised-bed garden made from untreated cedar wood. Raised-bed gardening is a form of gardening in which soil is formed in beds raised above the ground in an enclosed frame.
Where do I put it?
In your front yard! The food grown inside is meant to be shared with anyone who wants it or needs it. The second most important consideration: sunlight! Sunlight = plant growth. It is also important to make sure the garden is placed safely and in agreement with city ordinances. Make sure the garden is on private property (i.e. do not place garden in the burm). If you do not know your property line, contact your city planning department. Gardens should be close but a safe distance from sidewalks. Generally, this is about 3 ft.
What do I put in it?
Your Little Free Garden contains eight square-feet of potential. This gives you a host of possibilities in regards to planting delicious fruits + veggies. Square-foot gardening is an intensive method of gardening that allows vegetables and flowers to be raised very close together in a frame. Use this square-foot box to determine what you will grow in each square foot.
Here are some examples of what you can plant:
- 9 onions, beets, bush beans, bush peas, garlic or spinach
- 16 carrots or radishes
- 4 lettuce, chard, marigold or kohlrabi
- 1 tomato, pepper, eggplant, broccoli or cabbage
- 6 vining plants, such as beans or peas (on trellis)
How do I let people know what it is?
Your garden includes a placard that lets passerbyers know it is a Little Free Garden, but you may want to make some additional signage to help people understand. Some ideas: small wooden sign or painted rocks saying “I’m a Little Free Garden. Help Yourself!”
What if someone messes with my Little Free Garden? Most passerbyers will not harm your little garden and will simply take and enjoy the fresh produce as it is intended. However, it is possible that someone might vandalize your little box in a small (i.e. pulling up a plant) or big way (tipping the box). There are a number of recommended strategies to prevent vandalism in community gardens that are similar to Little Free Gardens. These include:
Neighborhood Engagement: Let your neighbors know what you’re doing and why you are doing it. If the neighborhood believes in the cause and the little garden’s potential, they will help you to make sure it stays safe.
Street/Yard Lights: Having a light or light motion sensor near your garden can help to deter evening vandalism. Or if you have street lights, find a spot in your yard that is well lit by the light.
- Sign: A sign can be helpful to let people know that while they are welcome to take and enjoy as much food as they like, to please be kind and respect the Little Garden.
Do I leave it outside year round?
Sure! Or you can bring it inside. Cedar wood is naturally resistant to rot and holds up well in the extremes of winter.
What if I move?
If your garden is firmly planted and well established in your neighborhood, you may consider leaving it for the next owners so the community can continue to enjoy local food (as long as they are willing to maintain the box as a free garden). Or you can certainly bring your Little Free Garden with you. It’s really your choice.
I already have a raised-bed garden. Can I make it a Little Free Garden?
Absolutely! The requirements for a garden to be a Little Free Garden are
- that you place the garden in your front yard
- the garden is contained (i.e. raised-bed or other container)
- the food grown inside can be taken and enjoyed by anyone and everyone.
In order to be part of the Little Free Garden community, you do need to register your garden and pay a one-time enrollment fee. Your membership includes a Little Free Garden booklet, a garden placard and inclusion to the Little Free Garden network.
I live in an apartment but want to support the Little Free Gardens. What should I do?
Move! (Just kidding.) Little Free Gardens also make great additions to schools, churches, and businesses. Consider getting a Little Free Garden placed somewhere you frequent so you are able to help maintain it.
Here are a few other ways to support our project:
- Donate: Little Free Garden costs are kept very reasonable through the generous support of many individuals. Please consider being a Little Free Garden Supporter!
- Enjoy the food: The Little Free Garden mission is not met if people are not eating and enjoying the food. Find a Little Free Garden and enjoy the harvest. Encourage your friends to do the same!
- Share the story + the social love: Tell people you know about the Little Free Gardens and why you think they are awesome! Join the conversation using #LittleFreeGarden
Can a business have a Little Free Garden?
Of course! As long as the garden meets the requirements (see above) and is registered as part of the Little Free Garden network.