San Marcos gardens group to open second location

Organizers of the San Marcos Neighborhood Gardens project learned last week that they had received approval for funding of a new community garden.

The SMNG, a partnership of the City of San Marcos and Sustainable San Marcos, works to provide food security and stronger bonds among residents through training and resources. Organizers Betsy Robertson, along with Mary and Austin Van Zant, Leah Gibson and Amy Kirwin, began working on the gardens project two years ago.

The new Alamo Garden follows the success of the Dunbar Neighborhood Garden and will be located at the corner of Alamo and Harvard streets where a water tower once stood.

For the garden to receive the Community Development Block Grant, 11 of the 22 designated garden plots must be managed by families falling in the low to moderate income range. If the plots are not secured by the end of July, SMCG will look into private funding, which was used for the Dunbar garden.

Requirements for owning a plot include being at least 16 years old and volunteering two hours a month toward general upkeep of the garden. The first year's dues include a $30 bed deposit, $20 utilities fee and $40 toward rent. Only the rent fee is charged after the first year.

Additionally, SMNG organizers encourage the use of organic gardening and Bobcat Blend mulch. The blend, made by Texas State University, uses trimmings from landscaping and dining hall trash to compost mulch for gardening.

The Dunbar Neighborhood Garden contains private plots for residents as well as two plots reserved for donation to the Hays County Food Bank. The Alamo Garden will also have a plot designated for the food bank.

More information on SMNG is available at www.smgardens.org.