GATESVILLE — So long, watermelon. Hello, broccoli.

Gardeners who have been tilling plots in the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension community garden all summer will be asked to make ready for fall planting this week.

“We have a letter going out this week asking those who currently have plots if they want to renew for the fall,” said Julie Gardner, Coryell County Extension agent for family and consumer sciences.

“If they are going to keep beds, they should clear them out by Aug. 15 and get ready for fall,” she said.

In February, 16 gardeners signed up for the 31 raised beds in the fenced enclosure next to the U.S. Post Office on Leon Street.

“We had two drop out,” Gardner said. “Everybody else has kept with it.”

Most participants signed up for one or two plots, she said, some maintained three.

The summer harvest — boosted by a surprisingly wet July that brought more than 5 inches of rainfall — included tomatoes, squash, peppers, okra, watermelon, strawberries, thyme, chives and cilantro.

Marigolds added color and natural insect repellent to some beds, and one master gardener tended rose bushes.

Carrots, cabbage, beets and broccoli are likely to dominate the plots in the cooler months.

The community garden relies solely on rainwater captured from the roof of the post office that’s stored in a 3,000-gallon tank, Gardner said.

“We were down to about a quarter of the tank until July,” said Pasquale Swaner, county agent for agriculture at the Coryell County Extension office.

“We got over 5 inches (in July) and it made a huge difference,” Gardner said. “The rain really livened things up.”

This is the second season for the garden, she said, and interest is still high among community growers.

Last year, gardeners were asked to contribute some of their produce to the Care Center food bank. This year, seven clients of the Care Center planted and tended plots to grow their own vegetables.

For information about the community garden, call 254-865-2414.

Contact Tim Orwig at torwig@kdhnews.com

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