July Update

The garden is actually doing quite well considering how hot and dry it has been.  We still have Okra, Eggplant, Corn, Black Eyed Peas, Melons, Pumpkin, Tomato, Peppers, and even Cucumbers in the cooler parts of the garden.  We have most of the garden hooked up to a drip watering system, which gives a slow deep watering, giving the garden its summer longevity.  About the only plants not on the drip system are the trees and vines and like yours I feel like we are barely keeping them going until the cooler damper months restore them.  Our water bill is running about $35 a month and is easily split among the gardeners.

The participation in the garden is doing well.  There was a lot of upfront help and effort put in by at least 40 neighbors, volunteers, and friendly gardeners to prepare the beds and plant.  We also hosted two volunteer service days, one with 20 or so LBJ School of Public Affairs students and another with the same number of church youth.  Since the initial setup and planting of the garden there have been around 15 consistent gardeners.  Each of our 10 garden plots are taken and the others help tend the community rows.  To celebrate a successful planting we had a garden open house and cookout in early May where 40 or so friends of the garden had a great afternoon together.

Aside from the cost of getting water service to the site little other cost is expected aside from the afore mentioned monthly water bill which is easily covered.  Our fundraising ideas for the $11,000 water service installation are realistically fairly small scale: a yard sale, a produce stand, or tricking neighborhood kids into selling lemonade.   Realistically we are looking to grants, contractor write-off donations, and sizable individual donations to cover the higher than expected cost.  As requested as a condition of the Austin Parks Foundation grant, we have secured the support of council members necessary waive all associated city fees.

So, aside from the water service hangup the garden is going great.  I feel like it was an enormous accomplishment to get the whole garden successfully planted just in time for spring (late spring as it were).  The most satisfying thing about the garden is that it has become a neighborhood focal point, that are so rare these days, where neighbors and friends come to share in a meaningful project that empowers and nourishes.  With the garden already prepared we now look forward to learning from the many upcoming planting seasons.

Many thanks for all of the support thus far with funding and support.  Bury and Partners has been great and helped us get through the permitting and technical side of of the water meter install.  Any additional support that Austin Parks Foundation could provide for the installation of the water service would be greatly appreciated.  Enjoy the pictures!

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