Sunfield Community Garden

Since Fall of 2011 I have been the manager at Sunfield Community Garden, just outside of Buda, TX, which is about 10  miles south of where I live in Southeast Austin. It is a wonderful experience. The developers of the Sunfield subdivision wanted a unique amenity that would attract new home buyers into their community. They had heard about a successful community garden that was built by residents with help from a developer in the Sun City subdivision in Georgetown, TX and decided to build a community garden.

Most community gardens are built by neighbors who are looking to reclaim vacant land or who need a place to grow veggies because they don’t have another place to do it. The Sunfield Garden is different because the upfront costs of building the garden were covered by the developers, who benefit from the garden through increased home sales. One Sunfield resident said, “I used to live on a farm. I am so glad to have this community garden here where I can keep on growing my veggies. We actually decided to live here at Sunfield because of the community garden”.

The Sunfield Garden was installed before the residents had started moving in. That’s where I come in.

I am there to grow food in the empty plots and guide residents who are new to gardening. I have a long history with community gardening, starting with my time working as and Americorps Volunteer at Sustainable Food Center, an organization that helps start, organize and facilitate community gardens. I also have a long history teaching people how to grow all kinds of food during my tenure as a landscaper and teaching Basic Organic Gardening classes for Sustainable Food Center.

Here’s how it works. Sunfield residents can rent a 5×20 raised bed garden plot to grow vegetables and annual flowers. The plots are filled with good soil, saving them time and start-up costs. Plot rental includes access to water and tools. We also share harvests from communal veggie beds, herbs and fruit trees, but gardeners keep what they grow in their personal plots. Sunfield gardeners also have access to classes and advice from me and each other.

I know Winter’s chill is certainly still in the air, but there has never been a better time to rent a plot at Sunfield Community Garden. If you are a Sunfield resident, rent your plot now and you will have plenty of time to do some minor soil preparation before the big spring planting time in March. In Central Texas, March is a good time to plant tomatoes, peppers, basil, squash and cucumbers.

There is a yearly plot rental fee of $50. For your first year there is also a $20 infrastructure fee that helps the Sunfield Community Association recoup the cost of building the garden. Gardeners are also required to contribute two hours of volunteering to the garden each month.

In addition to the large 5×20 plots, there are also two smaller accessible plots for Sunfield Residents with disabilities or difficulty bending. These will be rented for a lower rental rate.

For questions about community gardening or to rent a plot, please call (me) Colleen Dieter at 512-217-6955 or email at

For more info about community gardens check out:

Sustainable Food Center

American Community Garden AssociationImage

Here’s me at Sunfield Community Garden, planting Alyssum in January 2014.