Xanadu Community Garden:
Growing Together as a Community   

Due to COVID-19, reservations are now required and limited when you visit our Community Garden. 

Saturdays & Sundays | 8 AM-6 PM
Tuesdays & Thursdays | 4-6 PM 

Our upper nature trail is currently closed during the week due to the AJA’s outdoor classrooms. Because our campus is working diligently to keep everyone safe and healthy, we are restricting access to that area to only students while school is in session.

When you arrive to campus, please ask the security guard to notify our facilities staff to open the locked gate for you. Yyou will drive straight to the back of our campus, past the JCC and ECP buildings, towards our Accounting trailer where you will find a chain link gate that will serve as your access point to the garden. Once you enter the gate, follow the path past the greenhouse and continue following the trail around the bend until you reach the garden.

Grow an organic garden, build and nurture community friendship, and learn and share gardening skills while becoming better stewards of our land and our health at the Xanadu Community Garden at the J!

Interested in growing a garden but you don't have the space or the sun to do so? Each of our plots are 8' x 8' in a deer-proof, fenced-in area, and plots may be shared. Bring your own tools or borrow ours from the community shed. No watering can necessary! We also have access to two hoses on site.

Spring Season: February 1 - September 1
Fall Season: September 1 - February 1

Annual Fee: $99 JCC members | $150 non-members
Six-Month Fee: $55 JCC members | $85 non-members

To register, click here. Then visit the Fitness Center Welcome Desk to view a map of the open plots and select your garden space. Limited space available.

Questions? Contact Kristina Boshernitzan, Member Experience Director.

Tips, Tricks, & Etiquette

About our plots

  • A map of garden plot availability and planting information is available here.
  • A single garden plot is approximately 8’ x 8’
  • Plots are available on a first-come, first-served basis
  • Plot selection is only guaranteed if plot number is listed at the time of registration
  • Plots can be shared

Plot Rental Fees

  • Annual fee: $99m/$150nm per plot
  • Half year fee: $55m/$85nm per plot
  • Fees will not be prorated if joined later in the season
  • Renewal payments are due by the first day of the new planting season
  • Rented garden plots will be reserved for the following season assuming on-time renewal payment
  • If payment or communication regarding intention of renewal has not been made within 7 business days following the start of the new planting season, plots will be released for others to rent.

Getting Started

Austin, TX is in Hardiness Zone 8b – this helps you determine what and when to plant and harvest based on what can survive a frost or hotter temperatures.

There are two growing seasons – spring (starts at the beginning of February) and fall (starts at the beginning of September).

  • Last freeze of the spring: ~March 15
  • First freeze of the winter: ~November 15
  • These dates could very well be in flux and we could experience a warmer than normal winter or an abnormally late frost in the spring.
  • July and August are considered Texas’ “off season” – meaning, unless you have a greenhouse, almost everything will get scorched and die, no matter how much you try to water.
  • Herbs tend to grow best in the winter, then keep growing but at a slower rate in the spring.

Sun guidelines – all our plots receive full sun (except for plot #9 during the spring season due to shrub overgrowth along the fence). Here are some other terms you may see when selecting plants for your garden, classroom, or personal patios:

  • Full sun: at least 6 hours of sun
  • Partial sun: 3 to 6 hours of sun exposure each day, preferably in the cooler hours of the morning and early afternoon (needs at least the minimum requirements for sunlight)
  • Partial shade: 3 to 6 hours of sun exposure each day, preferably in the cooler hours of the morning and early afternoon (needs protection from the sun for most of the day)
  • Full shade: no direct sun

Other Tips, Tricks, Info

Soil – don’t use Miracle Grow! While it does help your plants grow, the plants end up growing so fast that their stems can get long and lanky, which doesn’t allow a great support system for heavier veggies. If your plot needs more soil (or any work done to the planter boxes), let us know so we can get facilities involved.

Fertilizer – before starting to plant each season, “turn” your soil, or tilling it with organic fertilizer like manure, coffee grounds, eggshells, and other organic composted items. A little planning and investment in this step cannot be understated. You will see far more success in the garden in terms of plant health and crop harvests.

Pest Control – things like ants, aphids and more can wreck your attempts in the garden, but there are many resources online to determine what organic options may be best for your pest! We have seen success with using diatomaceous earth, which is also a great fertilizer for your plants. You can also try a diluted neem oil spray (just don’t use it during the heat of the day – it could cause your plants to burn).

Where should I start? – Totally up to you! Sown seeds may do best if they are root vegetables, like carrots. Some will die, but some will survive (same thing for sprouts). The hard part about sowing in an outdoor garden is knowing what is a sprout and what is a weed!

  • Sprouting seeds is a fun activity for kids! Purchasing peat pellets is the easiest and most successful way to do it if you plan on transferring them to the garden later. However, a more cost-effective way to sprout is by cutting toilet paper rolls into small “cups” and filling them with nutrient-rich soil (organic is recommended).
  • First time gardeners may be happier finding success with small plants that already have well established roots.

Herbs and Flowers – planting these things can help other items in your garden grow better or fend off common pests. The information online can be overwhelming, so just plant what you want and try it out! However, many herbs like mint, thyme and oregano are creepers and can easily take over long expanses of garden square footage.

  • Community herbs are available in many plots that may be rented or not rented. Please ask permission from the plot owner before snipping any herbs. There is lots of cilantro and parsley, and even some oregano scattered around the garden!

Spacing – do pay attention to the spacing requirements of your plants. Some items like cabbage or broccoli can be surprisingly massive, so you don’t want them overcrowding or over-shading some of your other crops.

Water – typically early morning is best. If you water too late in the afternoon, you can burn or cook your plants. If you water too late or overnight, it can cause root rot if there is not proper drainage or adequate evaporation.

Harvesting – note when to harvest your crops based on the planting guide. Waiting too long can sometimes make crops like spinach or chard bitter, or the flesh of your okra woodsy in texture.

Recommended crops – Crops that are recommended based on other gardeners’ experiences at the J include tomatoes, peppers, asparagus, spinach, arugula, chard, kale, collards, green onions, leeks, melons, herbs (chocolate mint!), beans, carrots, artichokes, strawberries, okra, brussel sprouts.

Flowering herbs and lettuces – it may be pretty, but it’s a sign that your plant is ready to die and is at the end of their lifecycle. However, you can slow the process of “going to seed” by plucking off the flowers.

Gardening is all about trial and error! Don’t let a bad weather season or a few learning mistakes make you think you don’t have what it takes to develop a green thumb; it is a skill like the art of cooking or painting – it takes time to learn what grows well and what doesn’t, and it can change from year to year.

  • Factors like getting too much rain or experiencing an earlier than normal first frost of the season can make or break some crops.
  • Keep a journal for each season about what you planted and when, what worked and what didn’t, weather challenges, etc.

Garden Plot Maintenance and Amenities

There are two hoses available for use. In the event of water loss, the JCC will provide a secondary water source.

There is also an electric tiller and communal tools that are located in the shed enclosed in the garden area. Batteries for the electric tiller are in the Fitness Office. You can check them out from the Fitness Attendants.

Items such as tomato cages, chicken wire, stakes, etc. that are collected in the corner of the garden closest to the garden gate are available for any community gardener to use.

All plot maintenance including adding soil, weed pulling, pruning, watering and treatment of bugs is the gardener’s responsibility.

If you are unable to water your garden, please ask another community member to help you in your absence. JCC staff are unable to assist with watering plots.

Shalom Austin will trim grass around garden plots and fence line as needed.

If a plot box needs repair, please submit a verbal or written request to the Member Services staff. Please know that any items planted within the box may be at risk for damage upon repairs.

Any tool that is not supplied by the JCC will be the gardener’s responsibility to supply. Any tools or supplies left in communal areas may be used by other gardeners.

We are happy to accept monetary or supply donations for the garden!

Garden Etiquette

Only natural, organic herbicides and pesticides may be used. Additional soil, ground cover or compost added to plots must also be organic.

If planting tall crops, do so in a manner that won’t impact other garden plots.

The JCC is not responsible for damage, theft or loss of your own tools, supplies or crops.

Do not take mulch, supplies or harvest from any other plot, even if you think the plot has been abandoned or neglected. If supply/plot ownership is questionable, please ask Member Services.

Maintain your garden regularly – problems can quickly spread to other plots and can create more work for other gardeners.

Remove all pests, sick plants and weeds. Place all rocks and weeds removed from your garden in the designated area outside of the fence.

Do not remove plot markers.

Do not place items, trash or tools in other plots that are not yours.

Use hose with care – make sure it is not being pulled into other plots, as this can cause damage to other plants. Reel hose back in after use and leave the spout attached.

No pets are allowed on the Dell Jewish Community Campus

If you have a concern or issue with another gardener, please address it with them in a neighborly manner. If the issue cannot be resolved, please contact Member Services for assistance. Please reference the Code of Conduct at shalomaustin.org.

Rental Agreement

Gardener’s Code of Conduct and Rental Agreement

I have read and reviewed the JCC Community Garden Manual. 

I will plant my garden promptly.

I will harvest all my plant materials at the end of the season.

I will compost all plant material and carry out all garbage. 

I will not put trash into compost pile.

I will maintain my garden plot, including weeding. 

I agree to be notified if my plot is unkept.

I will be given a reasonable period to clean it up. If I do not comply my plot may be forfeited to another gardener.

I will not plant trees, shrubs, or other woody-stemmed plants in the community garden.

I will not use synthetic (non-organic) chemicals or materials.

I will keep aisles and walkways free of tools and weeds.

I will respect other community gardeners and their plots.


Please note that gardening is a learning process for us too. If you have any suggestions or comments, please share them. Your input and involvement will help to ensure the success and enjoyment of our program for years to come.