"A Night in the Garden" SeriesThis summer a "Night in the Garden" series spotlighted various gardens growing fruits and vegetables in Fulton, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell counties. Each night began with a short garden tour at 6 pm, followed by informal time for questions and answers with University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners and Horticulture Educator Rhonda Ferree. Dates and locations were as follows.
- June 9 at the Morton Giving Garden. Located in Westwood Park in Morton, this gift garden grows vegetables which are donated to WeCare and Community Harvest in Morton. Since 2011, more than 6000 pounds of vegetables have been grown to feed the hungry.
- July 28 at the ICC (Illinois Central College) Land Laboratory in E. Peoria where Master Gardeners plan and maintain demonstration gardens for the public. The gardens include herbs, vegetables, fruits, and much more.
- August 4 at the Mason County Fairgrounds in Havana where a Junior Master Gardener 4-H group learn how to grow vegetables and more from their Master Gardener leaders. The produce is used by families that work the garden, with extra going to support the local food pantry.
- August 11 at the Forrest Hill Organic Community Garden. Located at 706 E. Forrest Hill in Peoria, this cooperative project was started by community members who were interested in learning to grow food locally and organically in a more sustainable and nutrient rich way. This is a traditional community garden where plots are available for families to rent.
- September 8 at Peoria Academy's Outdoor Education Center Gardens (P.A.O.E.C) located at 2711 W. Willow Knolls Drive, Peoria, IL 61614. The Outdoor Education Center features several gardens where students learn plant and flower cultivation, organic farming, and caring for the natural world.
- September 20 at the Washington Giving Garden. Located next to the parking lot at Five Points directly behind the fire station in Washington, this 6,000 square foot garden grows produce for WHIP in Washington plus other charitable agencies in Peoria. The garden is usually planted with cool weather crops for harvest in the fall. Since 2011, volunteers have grown more than 25,000 pounds of fresh produce to help feed the hungry.
For more information about backyard gardening, go to University of Illinois Extension at www.extension.illinois.edu.