Want to meet your neighbours? Plant a garden.

After much huming and hawing, I decided yesterday was the day I was going to plant a vegetable garden.  I had the wood, the nails, the soil, and the seedlings; all I needed now was some good ol’fashioned manual labour. Rather than run the risk of landlord disapproval, I decided to put the raised garden beds into the existing landscaped garden out front of my apartment. ‘Landscape’ is a slight exaggeration, since the shrubery gets attention about once a year (and apparently at the wrong time since the bushes contain more sticks than leaves), and the term ‘weeding’ likely doesn’t exist in the landscaper’s vocabulary. After removing the broken glass, rocks, and the occasional dandylion who was brave enough to set up residence, I was ready to set in the box and fill it with soil.

While this was happening, a funny thing occurred. Not funny in the ‘haha’ sense; just not something I was expecting to happen. What started as me by myself on the front lawn turned into me and 3 of my neighbours, periodic visits by walkers, and a particularly enjoyable visit from Bob who was staying in the nursing home across the street while recovering from recent open-heart surgery. People stopped on their way by to ask questions, chat, and offer advice. Neighbours came by to loan tools, wood, and even nail my wooden box together (which is a good thing, because hammers and I do not get along).

It was remarkable, and it became very obvious in a matter of hours; gardening brings people together. So if you’re looking to green the inner-city, or your city, start a garden. There is no telling who you will meet.