Spring comes early to central Texas, so things are already jumping in the ABC gardens. On March 9 five people, as part of a permaculture workshop, under the supervision of ABC gardener Jim Costello and workshop leader Martha Leach, built an herb spiral. A permaculture tenet places gardens close to where the produce will be used, so the herb spiral is located near the kitchen door of ABC’s administration building. Plants in the herb spiral have first aid properties and include aloe vera, yarrow, plantain, chamomile, shepherd’s purse, thyme, arnica, echinacea, calendula, feverfew, and comfrey.
Seventeen University of Texas (UT) students spent the morning of April 6 weeding, adding compost and mulch, and upgrading the paths in the Children’s, Fragrance, and Purifying and Protecting Gardens. The students participate in Project Reach Out, a program started in 1997 to help build relationships between UT students, staff and faculty, and local nonprofit agencies, while fulfilling the students’ desires to improve their community.
As part of the Austin, Texas Earth Day 2002 Home Tour, ABC sponsored tours of its gardens and rainwater collection system on April 20. Attendees toured the gardens and the rainwater collection system. Rain from the roof of ABC’s main administration building, educational annex, and greenhouse is filtered, ozonated, and stored in a 10,000-gallon tank. Two inches of rain will fill the storage tank and one week of watering the greenhouse and gardens will empty it. Two more 10,000-gallon tanks are planned to be installed in the future, as funding becomes available.