Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Garden of the Month - The Learning Garden (TAFB), Fort Worth

The Learning Garden, a program of Tarrant Area Food Bank, truly has something for everyone. Visitors will immediately notice the variety of beds at the demonstration site, including in-ground, raised, and container beds bearing a variety of leafy greens, eggplants, tomatoes, okra, herbs, broccoli, kale and more. You can see traditional farmer’s rows and raised beds as well as permaculture models, such as keyhole and hugelkultur beds. The garden utilizes organic practices and plants native or heirloom species as much as possible. Tarrant Area Food Bank believes that teaching people from all walks of life how to garden—and to share the excess—can make a significant difference in alleviating hunger in our community. Further, the skills developed, along with improved access to resources, also benefit hungry families that participate in the program. While the garden exists to support the surrounding Ridglea neighborhood, ultimately, the goal is to inspire and support social service agencies, faith-based organizations, and families in starting their own community and backyard garden projects.

There are many ways to enjoy The Learning Garden. We recommend starting with a tour of the garden. Currently, tours are available on Fridays from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm, excluding holidays and private tours are available by request. The garden began offering training for adult beginning gardeners in January 2015. Upcoming topics for adults include Cover Crops & Winter Gardening and Protecting Your Plants from Frost. In the coming months, additional tracks for organizations, families, and children will be offered. Tools, including a Tool Lending Library, and planning resources are available to leaders of community garden projects and the Seed Bank is open to the public. Community members are always welcome at Work Days held on Tuesdays and select Saturdays from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm.

Tarrant Area Food Bank is very grateful for Ridglea Christian Church for providing the property and facilities, water and electricity, and leadership, as well as for Archie’s Gardenland for providing materials, plants, expertise, and labor. These relationships are key to the continued success of The Learning Garden. For more information and to volunteer, please visit

Thursday, October 1, 2015

What We're Planting Now - October 2015

The daytime highs are finally starting to stay below 90 degrees and the nights are getting cooler. That means it is time to start planting fall veggies! Fall and winter can be the most productive seasons in a North Texas garden. Diseases and pests are less of an issue than in summer and fungal issues are not as problematic. 

Let's take a look at some of the veggies that are being planted in our local gardens right now!

Many nurseries sell larger plants 
than can help your garden get a 
head start on winter!
Herbs, broccoli and kale make fantastic additions 
to any fall garden!
Mulching lettuces with straw can help
 keep the soil moist, keep your leaves clean, 
and protect the plants from the elements!
Volunteers at TAFB's The Learning Garden in 
Fort Worth plant Swiss Chard and Kale
 in their Hugelkultur beds! 
Katey Rudd (TAFB) is getting ready to 
plant dill and other herbs to attract good bugs
 and keep away the bad ones!

Many fall vegetables prefer to be planted from seed. If your beds aren't quite ready to make a great home for seeds, you can make seed tapes! At The Learning Garden, volunteers use a cornstarch/water glue and paper towels to create their seed tapes. These tapes help protect smaller seeds from washing away, create an easy system that ensures proper spacing and can be a great activity for days when it is too hot to plant or too rainy to be outside. Follow these instructions to make your own seed tapes today: 

Elaine and Becca make carrot seed tapes using a
square-foot gardening template, paper towels, and a cornstarch/water glue.

Seed tapes are easy to make and can be stored in the fridge until it is time to plant!
     Stay tuned for more updates on our local North Texas vegetable gardens! For more information or to be a part of our Community Gardens and Urban Agriculture working group, please visit

Happy Gardening!