Gardening For Good: Introducing Austin1Farm

Gardening For Good: Introducing Austin1Farm

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The Austin Common has partnered up with The Grower's Guild to support the Austin1Farm Initiative, which encourages Austinites to celebrate Earth Day by planting backyard gardens.

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Start a garden of your very own! Share your bounty with friends, family, and neighbors (in a safe, socially-distant way).

Looking for something impactful to do this Earth Day? The Austin Common has partnered with The Grower’s Guild, a grassroots group of gardeners, farmers, landscapers and community-minded neighbors, to promote the Austin1Farm initiative.

The idea? Encourage Austinites who are stuck at home to take the time to start a garden (or make some improvements to their existing one) and learn how to grow their own food, so that one day, it can be shared with family and neighbors.

All you have to do to participate is start gardening (or work on your existing one) and share your progress on social media using the hashtag #Austin1Farm. If you’re on Instagram, tag @the_austin_common as well for a chance to be featured!


Want to participate but have literally no idea how to garden? Check out this helpful how-to post from Austin Common reader and Grower’s Guild member Randy Jewart. Want even more advice? Scroll down to the bottom of the post for info on how to sign up for The Austin Common’s membership club and gain access to our private Facebook Group and Slack Workspace, where you’ll be able to ask questions and get answers from local gardening experts.

What to plant?

Refer to the Travis County Planting Calendar to find out what the Texas Agricultural Extension has researched and recommended to grow during the year.

HINT: You can plant something everyday of the year!!

Travis County Planting Calendar  


Where do I get seeds or transplants?

Even under Stay Home orders, there are still lots of ways to get your hands on some seeds/ gardening supplies. If possible, consider a local options. The Natural Gardener has just launched an online store, as well as Barton Springs Nursery. Tillery Street Plant Company is also open for curbside pickup.

Home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s also often have gardening supplies, just be sure to practice social distancing and wear a mask when you shop.

How do you prepare the soil?

  1. Work with 1-foot of loose soil

    1. In a container

    2. In a raised bed

    3. In the ground

  2. Add 3” of organic compost to the soil

  3. Add granular organic fertilizer

  4. Mix the top 6” of your soil


How do I plant my plants and seeds?

 If you’re planting transplants from 4” plastic pots:

  1. Dig a hole

  2. Tip the plastic pot to carefully remove the “soil block” from the plastic pot without damaging the plant stem or leaves

  3. Place the soil block gently into the hole so that it’s ¼” below the level of your prepared soil

  4. Fill the hole around and on top of the soil block and give it a little pack-in

  5. Tell your little plant – “si se puede!”


If you’re planting seeds:

  1. Most seed packages have good instructions written on them

  2. If you’re planting in a raised bed or container – ignore the “row spacing” instruction and place your seeds the proper distance in ALL directions according to the “spacing” instructions

  3. If you’re going to err in your seed planting depth, make sure it’s on the shallow-side

  4. Cover up your seeds and give the soil a little pat and tell them – “see you soon, loves!”


How much water do I use?

  1. For the first 2 weeks, plants and seeds can use small amounts of water in the morning and the afternoon

  2. After your seeds sprout and your plants have become established, you can water every-other-day for longer periods

  3. Ideally, you want your soil to be consistently moist – stick your finger deep in the soil and assess the moisture – it shouldn’t be muddy or sticky or dry – it should be cool and moist!

  4. A hose waters very quickly, so pass over the garden until the water is pooling and then move to the next area – then come back 2x so that water has time to absorb


How do I keep building my soil fertility for my plants?

  1. Add top-dressing (a little ring around each plant) with:

    1. Worm-castings (a polite way of saying worm poop)

    2. Organic granular fertilizer

    3. Compost

  2. Add liquid seaweed or fertilizer according to the directions from a bottle diluted in a watering can

  3. Mulch your garden with bales of pine needle


Have more questions?

Join The Austin Common’s membership club and gain access to our private Facebook Group and Slack Workspace, where you’ll be able to ask questions and get answers from local gardening experts like Randy Jewart, who wrote this post and helped to organize the entire Austin 1Farm event/movement!

PS – Already pretty knowledgable about gardening? We’d love for you to join the group too and help other budding gardeners learn the ropes! (The club is normally $120/ a year to join, but given the urgent need for this kind of digital community, we decided to make our membership fee voluntary for anyone who wants to join during these stay-at-home/ work-safe restrictions.)


What’s The Austin Common membership club?

Who else is stressed right now? And is looking for an outlet for all their pent up energy? And could use some good in their life? That’s exactly what The Austin Common membership club is for. 

Join our club and gain access to our private Facebook Group and Slack Workspace, where you’ll be able to:

  • Make new friends who are also passionate about making Austin a better, more sustainable, and equitable place to live

  • Engage in important conversations and help drive our news coverage to focus on issues that matter to you!

  • Learn from fellow Austinites and share your own skills – everything from urban gardening to creative reuse!

  • Gain access to members-only content, including full-length video interviews with local leaders, as well as classes and workshop

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