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14 April . 2020

Residents grow bushels of fresh veggies at Rancho Sienna Community Garden

There’s been renewed interest in victory gardening, a movement that began more than 100 years ago during World War I, when Americans were urged to grow food in whatever spaces they could find.

A group of Rancho Sienna residents has been victoriously gardening for several years now at the Community Garden, growing so many fresh veggies that they have been generously sharing them with neighbors.

“I’ve given neighbors more than 100 pounds of tomatoes this year, out of my total crop of about 250 pounds,” said Steve Davis, a founding member of the Rancho Sienna Gardening Club. He and his family have lived in Rancho Sienna for three years.

The garden is located along Big View Trail, a short walk from Sienna House. It has 9 raised beds measuring 4 by 8 feet each, along with a tool shed, compost bin, picnic area and water faucet.

Steve said the idea for the garden originated when a group of residents approached Newland, the developer of Rancho Sienna, about designating a small plot of land for growing veggies.

“We made a Power Point presentation at an HOA meeting, and we basically just wanted a small, plain piece of land that we could use,” he recalled. “When Newland came back to us with their plan for the garden, we were blown away. It was a beautiful design, far beyond what we asked for.”

The raised beds are excellent for drainage and the fencing helps to protect the crops, said Steve, who has more than 30 years of experience gardening in Louisiana and Texas.

He also appreciates the garden’s location along Big View Trail. He usually walks the three-mile round trip to tend to his plot, occasionally driving if time is limited.

“I walk along the trail with my backpack full of gardening supplies,” he said. “I get a lot of questions from neighbors I meet along the way. It’s been a great way to get to know people and share my love of gardening.”

Along with tomatoes, Steve’s garden bed has yielded bounties of shallots, greens, and lettuce. Earlier this spring, he was excited about an enormous head of cabbage he was about to harvest.

“I haven’t bought lettuce at the store in months,” he said. “Everything has grown phenomenally in the garden, and if you do it right, you can raise plenty of fresh vegetables for a family.”

The garden is operated by the Rancho Sienna HOA through the gardening club. Although there is a currently a waiting list for the beds, Steve encouraged his neighbors to try gardening at home in their own yards.

“Austin has two growing seasons, and you can raise fresh veggies practically year ‘round,” he said. “With our community gardening Facebook group, we all share tips and knowledge, so if you have a question or a problem, there’s always a neighbor there to help.”

The Community Garden is part of more than 100 acres of parks, trails and natural open spaces at Rancho Sienna. Explore all of our amenities.