Pilot Garden Opening Celebrated Under the Sparkle of Lights and Dancing

The Artist Harvest Farm Dance marked the opening of our pilot garden at First Friday. If you didn’t make it this time, you will most certainly want to be sure you make it out to our next event!

Before the sun went down, Artist Harvest provided a fun opportunity for artists, performers and even farmers to showcase their wares in the alley between Village Café and the Innovation Underground. The evening started out with some square dancing lessons. Turns out square dancing isn’t just for grandma anymore and, yes, we all learned some really awesome moves!

This was a hard act to follow but the Aggie Wranglers really impressed! They earned whoops and hollers and left us pretty sure that we’ll life the flipping and flopping to the pros.

Throughout the evening and entertainment, the pilot garden was open for people to stroll through and get a good look at some of the planting techniques that we put into place. On display were raised bed gardens, pallet gardens, our pallet wall, the window box garden and the crowd pleasing mason jar trim garden.

We hope that you got a chance to peruse before the Farm Dance started at 9:00 because once that got going, there wasn’t much room to look around. As the evening progressed, the garden lights brightened and the crowd grew. We absolutely loved having so many people looking and appreciating all of our hard work! If you saw any techniques that you’re interested in using at your own home you should look around the blog to see if the how-to has been posted. If it isn’t posted yet, it will be soon so keep checking back. Better yet, subscribe to our blog and you’ll receive email updates as we post new ideas.

At 9:00 the Artist Harvest event wound down and the Farm Dance began! Local artists provided live music and provided a glimpse to the full dance party potential of the garden patio. Garrett Snowden got the crowd on their feet and wrapped up the night.

We absolutely loved seeing people enjoying their time and making memories in the garden. Please plan to join us for the next event. Plans are underway for more garden events. Or, you can consider having an event of your own. The garden is available for rent for private events so contact us if you need more information.

BIG THANKS to the students at Farmers Fight and Downtown Bryan Association for all the work that went into the first Artist Harvest and the always wonderful First Friday. The opening of the pilot garden was great thanks to the entire community!

See you soon in the garden!

How to: Build hanging window boxes (part 1)

Let’s start with some dimensions, shall we? We are making 8 window boxes that will be secured onto 4 2×4 boards, serving as a frame. Six of our boxes will be 2×7’s and then the bottom two boxes will be 2×12’s so that we can plant more root vegetables into them.

Each box is 3 feet long, which is also how far apart the 2×4’s will be for the frame. Each box has two 2×7 sides with a bottom that is a 3 foot long 2×10 plank.

So first things first, Zach had all of the wood cut for us for this work day (because he is an angel). The first thing we did was construct our boxes. Now this sounds like a quick and easy tasks but it actually takes quite a while. We wanted to have all of our boxes built so that we could go ahead and stain them and the frame before we started mounting the boxes. So we spent this first work day screwing the boxes together.

Still to do: we need to cut our 45 degree-angle supports (that will be situated underneath the boxes and secured to the frame so that the boxes will not be too heavy for the frame), secure the 2×4’s to the fence to create our frame, mount the boxes to the frame

This project seems like it doesn’t have that many steps, which is true, but each step takes a while to do so definitely make sure you account for that! I think it would be difficult to built this entire structure in one day so be sure to plan accordingly!

Best Rhubarbs,


Calling all volunteers!

We are always looking for volunteers and community participation in our project! We have had a couple Saturday Work Days so far where we had individuals from Texas A&M’s student organizations come out and get their hands dirty.

On our first work day we focused mainly on cleaning up the garden and preparing it for the transformation! There were beautiful wild mustang grape vines and flower pods growing all over the fences surrounding the garden. Unfortunately the mustang grape vines were cut previously but during this work day we got a chance to cut back the flower vines a bit and tame them into a beautiful border. We also cleaned up a thicket that was located on one side of the garden where we plan to put up a pallet wall and we got down all of the dead mustang grape vines. The garden spaced looked so tidy after our first day and we were ready to work with our new, clean canvas!

On our second day we hosted a volunteer from the Construction Science department at Texas A&M University. Our amazing volunteer, Paul, worked with Zach a lot to construct some pallet beds. He was a really big help and their manly, construction-y brains put together resulted in some really awesome plants for our pallet beds. We made a lot of awesome progress thanks to Paul! He’s our star!

We had another work day recently where we put together the window boxes that will be mounted onto a frame on one of our fence walls. You’ll here more about this in an upcoming How-To blog post so keep your eyes peeled!

We have a lot to do in coming Saturdays so if you’d like to come out and help please do so or feel free to contact us to set up a group volunteer day! In the coming weeks we will be doing a lot of construction of beds and window boxes but after that we will be doing less skill-required tasks like painting, filling beds with soil, and planting. If any of this sounds strikes your fancy definitely let us know- we’d love to have you!

Best Rhubarbs!


How to: Build a Gutter Garden

Shopping list:

Cut your PVC pipes in half- this sounds like a difficult task if, like me, you do not have (and are afraid to use) a hand saw. But let me tell you a little secret- the Tool Rental in Home Depot is your new favorite place. If you take your PVC pipes in there and ask them to cut them in half, they will first make a whole to-do about how that is so difficult, then they will huddle up in a very manly way and make a game plan as to how this will happen. After this they will put on their goggles and make it happen. All of this is also FREE! So if you are worried about this- Tool Rental is my advice to you.

Drill drainage holes into your halved PVC pipe. Make sure that you have several holes but be sure to at least have holes on either side of your PVC pipe as well as in the very middle- this is where you will put your steel cables to hang your garden. It is best for these three holes to be the same size as your steel cables so that there is minimal wiggle room so that they will be more stable.

Once you have your holes drilled- you can string your pipes onto your cables but make sure you secure the pipes with wing nuts on either wide of the pipe. The wing nuts will make it so that the pipe does not bow out or become unstable when it is filled with soil.

In order to hang your Gutter Garden you can do two things- you can round the ends of your cable into a hook with a hammer (this takes quite a bit of effort) or you can make another visit to Tool Rental! I vote Tool Rental, let’s be real. If you take it to them it will take them seconds to make a hook where if you do it yourself, not that I’m underestimating you, it will take you much longer. You can now hang your Gutter Garden off of the top of a fence or through a hook secured in the ceiling.

Remember our halved pipe caps? Grab them and come PVC cement. You should go ahead and put the caps onto your pipes so that you can get planting ASAP and the soil won’t just spill out the ends.

Now all you need to do is fill your pipes with soil and get planting!

Below is a picture of our Gutter Garden in progress- this is before we hung and secured our pipes with the wing nuts so you can see the bowing.

Good luck with your Gutter Garden and be sure to contact us if you have any questions as you progress!

As always – Best Rhubarbs,


Pilot Garden

So, What is the Pilot Garden?

The Pilot Garden is a hope and dream that is going to fill many, many purposes in Downtown Bryan! So in many of these blog posts you will hear about the work and progress in the Pilot Garden and I thought it would be a good idea to go ahead and explain what that meant and its many purposes so that construction progress will get you just as excited as it does us!

One main purpose of the Pilot Garden is to be a demonstration garden. A main component of this entire beautiful project is to educate the community about growing vegetables. Gardening is surprisingly simple and can really enhance your life! We want to show you this and several techniques that you can implement in your own backyard. We will have things like raised beds, window boxes, pallet beds, and mason jars. We want you to also see that you can use household items to grow healthy food.

With the sheer beauty of having veggies and plants growing all around – the garden with also beautify the Downtown area. City beautification is a big part of this project. Using nature to make urban areas beautiful is a really popular and logical idea these days and Bryan wants to be a part of that movement.

Another use for the garden is a venue. It has an old loading dock that we are going to transform into a stage. Bands will be able to play there which could open the garden up to being a small concert venue or even just an event that has a band playing. We would love for this garden to be thought of for formals, reunions, banquets, concerts, and other events- big and small.

The garden will serve as many things but the most important is that it will serve as a stepping stone for this whole Distributive Urban Farming Initiative! First step Pilot Garden, second step vacant lots, third step the world!

Best Rhubarbs!