Spring 2021

Winter may be ending but there’s no Spring Thaw this year!

Well, gardeners, we are sorry to say it, but, due to pandemic restrictions, we were not able to hold our annual community gardening kick-off event this year. The Spring Thaw, CGC’s biggest annual event has been going on for as long as anyone on the board can remember. (We got lucky last year, as it was held mere weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic lock-down began.)

two gardeners at a Spring Thaw holding packetsTypically, at the Spring Thaw, newcomers are able to get connected to a new garden, returning gardeners get organized with their garden leaders for the new season, and gardeners are able to pick up seeds and how-to information. In the absence of this event, we have packaged and distributed seeds directly to garden leaders. In addition, if you haven’t told your garden leader that you want to continue gardening with us, please let them know immediately as there may be others waiting for plots! And, finally, if you or someone you know would like to start gardening at a community garden, you can request a space via this short form and we will do our best to find a plot for you!

As you get started with your garden, here are some opportunities and resources for learning more about how to grow your favorite veggies.

  • The final session of the Mid-MO Expo is happening today (Saturday, March 13) online. For just a $6 fee, you can learn about “Dealing with Nuisance Wildlife.” Arrangements can also be made to view the recorded session on “Invasive Plant Identification and Removal.” Register here.

  • The Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture has dozens of informative how-to videos offered on their YouTube channel. Topics include: seed germination testing, harvesting, garden pests, mulching, weeds, and many more. A new video series is coming out soon for 2021, too.

  • The Unite4Health community garden is planning to host a workshop later this spring with a soil scientist to discuss organic gardening and increasing beneficial microbes. Details to be announced soon.

  • For a more in-depth learning option, MU Extension is offering the online course “The Beginning Gardener-Getting Started with Vegetables 2021” through April 17 for a $40 fee. Details and registration here.

The Spring Thaw has always been a fun time for all, and we are sorry to miss seeing all your excited, smiling faces this year!

Wow! Thank You, CoMoGives Supporters!

four Ash St. gardeners standing distanced from each other wave too the photographer from the pathway between to fenced plots full of midsummer vegetable plants. A box with CGC and CoMoGives logos says "Thank You"

We received over $5,000 $5,500 in donations this year from more than 70 80 donors through CoMoGives in December!!!

That means A LOT to our small, all-volunteer organization! We are so appreciative of your support and your enthusiasm for community gardening!

These donations will go directly into our budget for assisting community gardens with water, tools, supplies, plants, mulch, fences, mowers and other garden improvements. And HALF of our total is pledged to projects at the Friendship Community Garden! Stay tuned in 2021 to watch them grow!

A Few More Days to Give

As December winds down, please remember that you can support local nonprofits like the Community Garden Coalition through December 31 via CoMoGives.

The money we raise through CoMoGives 2020 will fund improvements to the Friendship Community Garden and allow us to continue supporting our other member gardens with tools, water, supplies and more for the next growing season. We’re more than 70% of the way to our $5,000 goal, and you can be sure that even a small donation can make a big difference!

We appreciate all the supportive feedback we’ve gotten from gardeners and community members this year. Maybe working in your garden meant a little more to you or provided a larger portion of your family’s food. Offering people those opportunities is what we’re all about.

Thanks for being a part of our gardening community Let’s look forward to a new growing season and a new year!

Unite4Health Garden Inspires Happiness and Nurtures Health

Situated next to the Columbia/Boone County Health Department on City-owned property, the Unite4Health Garden offers individual plots to people from all over the community. The CGC is so happy to partner with the City of Columbia to support this large garden.

This year, we asked gardeners to share their thoughts about why they valued community gardening. A few Unite4Health gardeners shared what their community garden plots have meant to them.

“I can grow the best quality vegetables, and save an enormous amount of money, while enjoying self-sufficiency and the nurturing of a garden.”
~ Anne Jacobson, Garden Co-Leader

“The community garden has provided benefits beyond my expectations. There’s the exercise in biking or walking to and from the site along with the outside work required. I have shared the whole experience with my granddaughter as we have produced outstanding home grown tomatoes and other vegetables to savor and share with friends and neighbors. A bonus has been meeting like-minded gardeners and everyone has been extremely helpful.”
~ J.R. Holliday

“I am so grateful for my community garden plot at the Unite4Health garden. I don’t have enough sun in my yard to have one at home, and I missed gardening. I also love that I can control what goes into and on my food–no pesticides or chemical residues. There’s nothing like your own produce straight from the garden you grew yourself, and it’s so much more delicious and nutritious than store-bought. And it’s wonderful to dig in the dirt for your mental and physical health.”
~ Amanda Sprochi

There are still a few days left to show your love to community gardens in Columbia with a gift to CGC via the CoMoGives local giving campaign! We are directing half of what we raise this year to the Friendship Gardens group and the rest will help us continue supporting great gardens like Unite4Health.

And, P.S., we are so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of CoMoGives and the Community Foundation of Central Missouri. They make it so easy to give to all your favorite nonprofits that make our community what it is!

  • Anne Jacobson's plot at Unite4Health garden
  • Garden leader Cheryl in the sweet potato patch at the Unite4Health garden
  • A socially distanced garen party at Unite4Health garden
  • garden leader Cheryl poses with a small apple tree with a couple red apples at Unite4Health garden
  • a gardener at Unite4Health garden
  • gardeners from Unite4Health pose while digging up sweet potatoes in a community plot
  • two gardeners wearing masks pose while tending to their plot in late fall 2020 at the Unite4Health garden

Halfway to Our CoMoGives Goal!

It’s just over halfway through December, and we’ve raised more than half of our $5,000 goal through the CoMoGives local giving program!! Thank you for all you’ve given and for sharing our message with your friends!

Speaking of halves, we’re pledging half of what we raise to the Friendship Community Garden. Find out more about this diverse, resilient garden that is trying to improve the health of their neighbors and friends with this short video from the City of Columbia.

You can support Friendship Gardens, and all the member community gardens through Dec. 31 when you donate to the Community Garden Coalition through CoMoGives.

Tiller Donation! Wow!

We want to thank Vance and Becky Clearwater who kindly donated their Troy-Bilt Horse rototiller to the Community Garden Coalition last week! We got it on the 27th and put it to use on the 28th! Here it is tilling some beds at the Ann Street Garden. 

Matt using the donated tiller at the Ann St. Garden

If you’re thinking of donating garden tools or equipment, see our “Give Stuff” page.

And don’t forget: During the month of December, we’re working with #CoMoGives to raise money for the 2021 gardening season and the Friendship Community Garden. You can help us reach our $5,000 goal — every little bit helps! Donate today at CoMoGives.

Thankful for Community Gardening in 2020

In this turbulent year, we know many folks found extra worth in cultivating a garden.

We’re so glad that we could find ways to help our member gardens thrive this year. And, we’d like to the thank all our hardworking garden leaders and volunteers as well as the land owners who allow these gardens to grow. THANK YOU! We are so appreciative of what you do and how you help your community!

Collage of community gardening photos from 2020, "Thank you gardeners, volunteers & donors! Donate to #CoMoGives in December!"

To wrap up our year, the Community Garden Coalition is participating in the community-wide CoMoGives fundraising campaign, December 1-31.

New this year, whatever amount we raise, we are pledging half to the Friendship Community Garden! We want to bolster this newer garden by helping them fund some bigger-ticket needs like a shed and topsoil. We’re so pleased to partner with this group and greatly appreciate their involvement with the CGC! 

You can donate to the CGC and help support Friendship Garden and all the member gardens starting on Giving Tuesday, December 1 via CoMoGives.com.

And CoMoGives makes it so easy to give to all your favorite nonprofits! So many groups are doing important work in our community and need extra support this year. Please help spread the word about CoMoGives to your friends and family!

Season’s End 2020

As November winds down, most garden plots are finished producing for the season. Before you shift away from thinking about gardening for the winter, though, please do the following.

  • If you’re at a community or group garden, let your garden leader know whether you’re planning to return next year. This will help leaders know what plots will be available for newcomers next year.
  • Clean up your plot. If you need tips on how to put your garden to bed for the winter, consult your garden leader.
  • Consider making a year-end donation to the CGC to help with maintaining your community garden next year. We’re a very small, all-volunteer non-profit, and even modest contributions help us fund water, mulch, tools and more to support community gardening in Columbia.
    Donate here today, or wait for December 1 when the CGC will be participating in the CoMo Gives local giving campaign.
  • Consider donating some of your time. Individual gardens need good leaders and team members and the board of the CGC could use new members, too. Contact your garden leader or our board members to get involved.

Access to Healthy Food for Everyone at the Farmers Market

Do you know someone struggling to pay for food in this year unlike any other? Please help us spread awareness about the Access to Healthy Food (AHF) program offered by the Columbia Farmers Market.

The AHF program allows qualifying individuals to be matched up to $25 at each market, which can be spent on fresh products from local farms. To qualify, individuals must be Boone County residents, receive SNAP or WIC benefits, and have children 19 or under, be disabled, or be a senior 60 or older. Bring your EBT card or WIC packet to the Oasis booth at Columbia Farmers Market to sign up.

Best Practices for Virus Safety at Community Gardens

Tending your community garden plot can be a stress-relieving activity and an important way to supplement your grocery shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic. The health department has assured us that gardeners can continue to use their community garden plots. However, even as the City and County reopen, it is still important to be aware of the potential to spread the virus even if you don’t know you are ill. The following guidelines should still be followed at your garden.


Below are our recommendations for gardening at this time:

  1. Do not come to the garden if you are not feeling well or someone you live with does not feel well.
  2. Do not enter the garden if there are already 10 people there; come back later.
  3. Keep your distance (6 feet or more) from other gardeners. The CDC says this virus can be spread by people without any symptoms. If you need to be within 6 feet of another gardener, wear a mask.
  4. Clean off tool and hose handles before and after use because the virus has been found to survive up to 3 days on hard surfaces. We recommend you bring a towel or rag and use a solution of 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water to wipe down any tools that you use after removing any dirt.
  5. Please wash your hands with soap and water before and after gardening. If soap is not provided then consider bringing some with you.
  6. Use your own hand tools if you have them.
  7. Wear gloves if possible. Although they can spread the virus, they may help you remember not to touch your face.

Community Garden Coalition

We hope you’re able to enjoy spring weather and make use of your gardening opportunity this year, despite the unusual circumstances. Stay safe, respect your fellow gardeners and happy gardening!