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28 August . 2018

Rancho Sienna’s community garden opens in time for fall planting

Americans’ interest in gardening has been booming, to the point where more than one-third of U.S. households are now growing some of their food, according to the National Gardening Association.

One of the fastest-growing kinds of gardening is the community garden, where neighbors get together to share the land, and their knowledge.

Rancho Sienna has joined this healthy trend, recently opening a community garden near Sienna House and Big View Trail.

The garden has 10 raised planting beds, with room to add more beds in the future. Surrounded by an ornamental fence, the garden has a shed for tools and pots, a compost bin and an open storage area.

A big existing oak tree at the edge of the garden provides shade for a raised deck, featuring a table where gardeners can relax after working, or gather to enjoy their harvests. Ornamental trees and wildflower areas add more natural beauty for this garden.

The garden is part of Rancho Sienna’s community park and trails system, and is operated by volunteers from the community’s new gardening club.

Fall is a great time for growing vegetables in the Texas Hill Country, whether you join the community gardening crew at Rancho Sienna or elsewhere, or you just do some container or window box planting. It’s even said that fall vegetables are more flavorful, since plants store more sugar in response to shorter days.

Here are some favorite fall crops for our region from TexasGardener.com:

  • This is one of the most productive fall crops. Use transplants instead of seed. Maintain moisture and fertilize regularly. Some of the best varieties are Green Comet, Packman and Premium Crop.
  • Green beans. Fall green beans are sweeter and tastier than spring crops. Water well, and protect from insects and freezing temperatures. Recommended varieties are Roma II, Contender and Tendercrop.
  • These are easy to grow and not demanding. Getting seeds started can be a little tricky, so cover seeds with a layer of mulch or compost, and water frequently until you see sprouts. They do best in loose, well-prepared soil. Imperator, Nantes and Texas Gold Spike are good varieties to plant.
  • Squash. Fall squash can produce a bumper crop. Add a generous amount of compost before planting. Recommended varieties  include Dixie and Multipik.

Learn more about the 100+ acres of parks, trails and natural open spaces at Rancho Sienna.