Skip to main content
HomeCommunity Garden

Nellie Keyes Community Garden

Rice Military Community Gardeners
Established is 1998 as an organic cooperative community garden in association with Urban Harvest. We adhere to the organic principles of Urban Harvest, and we use their training and guidance to plan our garden. As a cooperative garden, we all work together. We plan together, decide what to plant together, work side by side in the entire garden, sharing tasks, and we harvest together, sharing everything. Our garden coordinator is Linda. She keeps track of the planting, rotation and fertilizing schedules in accordance with the Urban Harvest guide for planting in Houston.
We are open to volunteers from Rice Military and surrounding neighborhoods. For those who have the resources to do so, we contribute $100 per household as needed for expenses. We volunteers cover all expenses, including seed, fertilizer and major equipment. The City of Houston provides the location in the park and water. The main requirement to be a volunteer is to come in a sharing, cooperative spirit.
Work days/time
Our common work day is Saturday, beginning between 8:00 AM and 9:00 AM, and ending before 12:00 PM noon. As volunteers become more accustomed to the planting and work routines (and can recognize seedlings and plants we want to keep), we come individually to work and harvest on our own time schedules. Because we are in Houston, we are a year-round garden. There is always something planted and being harvested year-round. But, because we work together on the whole garden, there is always someone to take care of things when volunteers are working, on vacation, or just cannot come for any period of time.
What we grow
Our best time of year is October to May. During that time, we have big harvests of greens (lettuce, collards, kale, swiss chard), root vegetables (carrots, beets, potatoes), and, in spring, tomatoes. The most difficult time of year is summer. Due to the scorching heat, our reliable crops are arugula, purple hull peas (black-eyed), eggplant, cucumbers, and okra. Year round we have great herbs: lemon grass, basil, thyme, fennel, mint, oregano, rosemary, and tarragon. We also have fruit trees inside the garden, including tangelo, papaya, limequat, kumquat, orange, grapefruit, mandarinquat, meyer lemon and satsuma. We take care of the community orchard outside the garden fence, which is open to all in the community and has calomondin oranges, mandarin oranges, apples, meyer lemon, plum, pumelo and persimmon.
We have a composting deposit location on the north fence of the garden (where the green cloth covers the fence). We ask neighbors to bring all their composting there, but PLEASE NO diapers, animal or human waste, meat, metal or plastic (even the compostable kind). Because we are basically a backyard operation, we cannot handle compostable plastic or animal or human waste. What goes into the composting bin goes directly onto the ground, where it will touch the lettuce, carrots, and similar vegetables that we grow. Our composting gives a double benefit: it is one of our main sources of fertilizer, and it provides us with hundreds of tomato seedlings as well as papaya trees.
For more information, please come by the garden any Saturday from 9 till noon, or
email us at: