So, what exactly is a Little Free Garden?
A Little Free Garden is a garden for all. Little Free Gardens should be placed in accessible areas like residential front yards, schools, churches, businesses - anywhere willing to host, maintain and share the garden with others. The food grown inside is intended to be shared with anyone who wants or needs it.
If you're building your garden, we recommend a starter-size of 4 ft x 2 ft, 12" deep raised-bed garden made from untreated cedar wood.
Where do I put it?
In a front yard! Find a place accessible to your neighbors so your Little Free Garden can be shared with all. 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?
Whatever you like! We suggest growing food that can be easily harvested + enjoyed - for example: cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, herbs, etc.
If you're building your own raised bed garden, we recommend the square-foot gardening method, which allows vegetables and flowers to be raised very close together in a frame. Want more info? Check out The Ultimate “How To” Guide: Square Foot Gardening by Loyal Gardener.
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 garden in a small way (i.e. pulling up a plant) or big way (tipping the box). There are a few recommended strategies to prevent vandalism in community projects that are similar to Little Free Gardens:
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 nearby can help to deter evening vandalism. 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, but to please be kind and respect the Little Free Garden.
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 garden I'd like to share with my community. Can I make it a Little Free Garden?
Absolutely! The requirements for a garden to be a Little Free Garden are simple:
- that you place the garden in a space accessible to others
- 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 placard, booklet 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