Food is a fun place to start in reducing our impact on the Earth. By moving away from the standard American meat-centric diet, we can discover new cuisines and dishes that highlight the flavors of fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes. Pressure on water, soil and fisheries decreases and our health increases. If you also add gardening to the mix, you get the benefit of exercise, totally fresh foods and a lower grocery bill. There's a learning curve to all of this and that's where we can help.
Built in 2011, the Dunbar Garden, at 303 S. Mitchell, has 21 leased plots and 2 plots dedicated to growing food for the local Food Bank.
The Alamo Garden is located at 1224 Alamo St. above the university campus. It has 19 leased plots in addition to the two Food Bank plots and opened in 2013.
We enjoy helping residents learn how to adopt a local, plant-based diet, reduce their food waste, and improve gardening skills. Get started with some helpful downloads.
Who can get a plot? You are eligible if you are older than 16 and a resident of San Marcos. Folks younger that 16 can garden if they are with parents.
What if I don't know how to garden? We're here to help you. We will be posting and updating information on this site, recommending books and classes as we become aware of them and pointing you towards other resources. And one of the advantages of the neighborhood gardens is that other gardeners will be glad to answer questions. Check out our Information section above.
When is the best time of year to start my garden? Texas has two growing seasons. The main planting for the spring garden happens in February and March with most vegetables harvested in May and June. The winter garden is planted in Sept. and Oct. and harvested all through the cool months and into April. That said, it is possible to plant something throughout the year. Use our planting calendar in the information section to find out about specific crops.
How much does it cost to rent a plot? The cost is $60 a year for a 10'x20' plot. When you sign up we will ask for a $20 tool fee to pay for the tools and infrastructure that you will be using + a $30 deposit that you will get back if you leave your plot in good condition. Water, soil and tool use are included in your rent.
What should I plant? Plant things you like to eat! Tomatoes are a summer favorite and lettuce grows well in the winter. As you get more confident, try exotic crops like strawberries and asparagus. Be sure to pick varieties that do well in our climate (see the list in Garden Information).
Can I share my plot? Yes. And the volunteer requirement is per plot so you can share that duty as well. We especially welcome families.
How do I satisfy the volunteer requirement? There are many possibilities. The most fun is to participate in the scheduled workdays. Another is to help maintain the food bank plots. And the garden manager will usually post a to-do list in the shed so you can work at your convenience. Be sure to keep track of your hours in the volunteer notebook.