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Gearing up for Fall Planting with Spread the Harvest

Our Grow Local program hosted another fun and fruitful Spread the Harvest Resource Giveaway Day on September 19, during which 336 Central Texas gardens—216 low-income household gardens, 94 school gardens, and 26 community and group gardens—received resources to kick off their fall gardening efforts.

The Spread the Harvest project helps Central Texans grow their own healthy food by providing free gardening resources, and our day-long fall and spring Resource Giveaway Days are part of this project. These events are held off-site so we have enough space to distribute large amounts of resources, including 3940 vegetable and herb transplants from Gabriel Valley Farms, 100 cubic yards of organic compost from Organics By Gosh, thousands of seed packets from Sustainable Seed Company and Willhite Seed, and 100+ pounds of dry organic fertilizer from Jobe’s Organics and Dr. Earth.

We considered this our “fall” giveaway, but Mother Nature made sure we knew it was still a few days before the equinox! Despite a particularly hot and muggy morning and a midday downpour complete with lightning, eager gardeners came out in strong numbers to pick up supplies.

This event would not have been possible without our dedicated volunteers, which included long-time SFC volunteers, board members, interns, former employees, and Travis County Master Gardeners, who, in addition to hosting their regular Plant Clinic to troubleshoot gardening issues, also enthusiastically pitched in with everything from repackaging and labeling bulk seeds in the weeks leading up to the event to setup the morning of and taking photos during the day.

We would like to give a shout out to our other partner organizations, who braved the afternoon heat to make this an educational, one-stop shop for participants to learn about a variety of resources related to sustainable gardening. Central Texas Seed Savers informed attendees about seed saving techniques and their upcoming October 12 seed swap. TreeFolks joined us to answer questions about fruit tree care, and TX Sprouts ran our School Resources table to provide guidance for school garden representatives.

We were delighted to welcome Austin Resource Recovery for the first time to provide information on City of Austin composting and to raise awareness about the City’s Home Composting Rebate Program. Additionally, Multicultural Refugee Coalition has allowed us to continue providing Arabic, Burmese, and Nepali interpretation by connecting us with excellent interpreters who have completed an interpreter training program at MRC.

Last but not least, we owe a huge thank you to Baha’i Faith of Austin for generously allowing us to use their space for this event. Exciting weather aside, we were thrilled to distribute free gardening resources to help community members eat more local and sustainably produced food!

Feeling inspired to start a fall garden? Check out the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension planting calendar for Travis County to make a plan for planting your leafy greens and root crops, which thrive in cooler weather!

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