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Add Some Fresh Air Gardening Activities to Your Winter Festivities

There are plenty of classes and volunteer opportunities during December in Austin. Attend a community class or two to learn how to get a start on next year’s garden. Schedule some time for you and your family to volunteer at a local garden or park; consider making this a new holiday tradition. You’ll reap the gifts of knowledge and experience as you give of your time and efforts. You could even consider giving someone you love a plot in a community garden. There are plenty of ways you can continue to be involved in the well-being of your landscape and neighborhood during the winter season. Take a look at the events coming up in December:


Winter Classes for the Sake of Your Garden


Free Composting Class – City of Austin


How do you feel about your current composting efforts? Whether you want to learn how to get started or you’re looking for tips to help you compost during colder weather, you’ll enjoy this free class offered as part of the City of Austin’s Home Composting Rebate Program. As a result of your participation, you’ll also receive a kitchen composter.


Tuesday, December 1, 6:00 – 7:00pm

Saturday, December 5, 10:00 – 11:00am

Thursday, December 10, 6:00 – 7:00pm


Habitat Restoration Workshop – Austin Parks Foundation


Are you interested in learning how to restore the habitat on your property? This class includes walking along a creek near Dottie Jordan Rec Center, evaluating the area for restoration, and developing a plan for that restoration. The skills you learn in this class may be applicable to the changes you’d like to make on your own property.


Saturday, December 5, 9:00am – 12:00pm


Seed Saving – Sustainable Food Center


Learn how to save the seeds from your favorite plants. With your saved seeds, you’ll enjoy financial savings and better food production from your garden. The satisfaction of knowing that you’ll never be without seeds will be the result of applying your newly-learned skills at home. Registration is limited to 25 participants, so sign up soon. The class fee is $15.


Tuesday, December 8, 6:00 – 8:00pm


Starting Seeds Indoors – The Natural Gardener


The key to a successful vegetable garden is timing. For Austin residents, starting your seeds indoors can be an important first step. Learn how to avoid a number of diseases and pests during this free class. Linda Wall, the horticulturist at The Natural Gardener will be presenting the information.


Saturday, December 19, 10:00 – 11:00am


Herb Walk and Intro to Plant Medicine – Austin Eco Network


Did you know that there could be many useful plants growing in your garden? Whether they are there intentionally or as weeds, they could be used for first-aid purposes or in the creation of home-made cosmetics. Guided activities for the children are available with prior arrangement.


Saturday, December 19th, 10:00am – 12:00pm


Opportunities to Volunteer Throughout the Community


Kitchen Garden Maintenance – Community First


Work with our master gardener to learn more about organic gardening in the kitchen garden. Kids 6 and older are welcome when accompanied by an adult. Dress for the weather with long pants. Long sleeves and hats are also recommended. We’re looking for three volunteers for each date. Reserve your spot early.


Thursday, December 3, 9:00am – 12:00pm

Thursday, December 10, 9:00am – 12:00pm

Thursday, December 17, 9:00am – 12:00pm


Free Tree Care – Community First


Work with our experienced garden manager and learn the basics of organic gardening. You may be able to learn some valuable skills to apply in your own private orchard. This event is a great opportunity for youth, ages 12 and up, who are accompanied by a parent or guardian. We’re looking for three volunteers for each upcoming date, so be sure to reserve your spot ahead of time.


Thursday, December 3, 9:00am – 12:00pm

Thursday, December 10, 9:00am – 12:00pm

Thursday, December 17, 9:00am – 12:00pm

Thursday, December 31, 9:00am – 12:00pm


Weekend Farm Development – Community First


There’s a lot of work to be done in the gardens of the Community First Village. Volunteers will learn as they harvest gardens, create landscapes for micro-homes, build garden beds, and eat food made of the harvest from the gardens. Volunteers of all ages are welcome; those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Sign up to save your spot at this event. If your group is larger than 5, please contact to make arrangements.


Saturday, December 5, 9:00am – 12:00pm


Grow Together Garden – Gateway’s McNeil Campus


As you work side-by-side with the Grow Together Garden group, you’ll be exposed to the secrets and tricks of organic vegetable gardening and get hands-on experience in tending the garden. This volunteer opportunity directly benefits the “Feed the Community” Food Pantry. Contact for more information.


Saturday, December 5, 8:30 – 11:00am

Saturday, December 12, 8:30 – 11:00am

Saturday, December 19, 8:30 – 11:00am

Saturday, December 26, 8:30 – 11:00am


Volunteer On the Farm – Urban Roots


It takes a community to keep this farm in shape. Volunteers are busy planting, harvesting, and completing other farm chores. Contact us to reserve your group’s spot for one of these popular farm volunteer Saturdays:


Thursday, December 10, 8:30 – 11:30am

Saturday, December 12, 8:30 – 11:30am

Tuesday, December 15, 8:30 – 11:30am

Thursday, December 17, 8:30 – 11:30am


Volunteer to Clean Lady Bird Lake – Keep Austin Beautiful


Every other month, volunteers gather to clean Lady Bird Lake. Volunteer locations are available along the shore and on the water. Some kayaks and standup paddleboards may be available. Some sites may require that you use your own boat. Volunteers for on-the-water sites should be 16 or older and any on-shore younger volunteers should be accompanied by an adult. This event requires pre-registration.


Saturday, December 12, 9:00 – 11:00am


Planting Trees in Austin – TreeFolks


Join TreeFolks to plant trees throughout Austin neighborhoods. The CityShade program works to restore tree diversity, retain water, and improve water quality. Be sure to dress appropriately for the weather and bring a water bottle. Contact to sign up.


Saturday, December 12, 9:00am – 12:00pm


Reforestation in Bastrop Country – TreeFolks


TreeFolks is looking for a few good volunteers this winter. The Bastrop County Community Reforestation Program would love some volunteers willing to help plant seedlings in an effort to restore the Lost Pines ecosystem. This opportunity is part of a 5 year reforestation campaign.


Saturday, December 12, 9:00am – 12:00pm

Thursday, December 17, 9:00am – 12:00pm


Community Garden Opportunities


There are many community gardens located around Austin, each with their own personality. If you are short on space, but anxious to reap the benefits of a garden, then the chance to participate in one of these collaborative gardens might be just right. Do you want to have a garden, but you aren’t sure how to get started? Consider renting a spot at one of Austin’s community gardens. These gardens are lovingly cared for and are the sites of many service projects. Each site has its own rules and fees. Contact each garden individually to get pertinent information. Take a look at one of the following community gardens:


Westbank Community Garden

UT Concho Community Garden

UT Microfarm

Clarksville Community Garden

Homewood Heights Community Garden

Deep Eddy Community Gardens

Festival Beach Community Garden

RollingwoodCommunity Education Garden


How Will You Spend the Month of December?


There are some great reasons to devote part of your time to the garden. Balance out the stress of hunting down the perfect gifts and shopping for holiday festivities with time spent in the open air and fragrant soil. As you participate in classes and volunteer opportunities, you and your family can enjoy some much needed serenity in the gardens. After a very wet October (6.03 inches), November’s rainfall was relatively mild at 1.98 inches.









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