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Silvis Methodist's community garden keeps growing


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Posted Online: May 02, 2014, 4:50 am
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By Leon Lagerstam, llagerstam@qconline.com
SILVIS -- Not even a scarecrow has helped keep an eye on a community garden overseen by Silvis United Methodist Church.

"It's been pretty much me," church member Dan Thorngren said.

But help's on the way, he said.

A mothers' group at Christ United Methodist Church in East Moline has agreed to work with their kids to care for two of the 10 plots devoted to providing fresh produce to local food pantries.

Mr. Thorngren, 76, will tend the other eight food-pantry plots, each of which measures 10 feet by 20 feet. The garden, at 5th Street and 2nd Avenue, also has 34 plots rented to community members, with two people on a waiting list at Silvis City Hall, 121 11th St.

People pay $20 to rent a plot, but money can be reimbursed at the the end of the season, or donated to the church, as many people have chosen to do, he said.

The community garden is in its fourth year. Mr. Thorngren said the 2012 season was the worst because of drought conditions, but "last year was great."

About 2,600 pounds of fresh vegetables were given to two East Moline food pantries -- one at Christ Methodist and the other one in the Watertown area.

More help will mean a lot to Mr. Thorngren, particularly when harvesting cucumbers and squash, he said, adding that tomatoes always will be the most popular.

They plant six varieties of tomatoes, nine varieties of onions, seven varieties of kale, six varieties of lettuce and five varieties of radishes, as well as cucumbers, cabbage and eggplant.

Something new this year was a Burpee's On-Deck Corn, Mr. Thorngren said.

Mr. Thorngren notes on a calendar when different seeds need to be planted in order to hit their peak growth during the June 28 Silvis Garden Walk.

Church members collected 300 empty toilet paper rolls for Mr. Thorngren to use to plant bunch onions. He puts dirt and a dozen seeds in each roll and plants them in the ground.

"What surprises me the most is how much the city of Silvis has helped us," he said. For example, the city has given him access to a nearby fire hydrant to water the garden.

He's also "made my pitch for Gauley Field" as a perfect community garden site. The athletic field across from George O. Barr Elementary School in Silvis was sold to the city for $10 earlier this year.

"We've also talked about putting fencing around the community garden," but it would have little success battling deer, the biggest garden pests he's seen, Mr. Thorngren said.

Hoof prints through the garden proved his point that deer, not rabbits or crows, were more of a problem.

"And you can't fence out deer," he said. Nor would a scarecrow help that much to deter deer.

















 



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  Today is Monday, Sept. 22, the 265th day of 2014. There are 100 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The board of education has granted Thursday as a holiday for the children, with the expectation that parents who desire to have their children attend the Scott County Fair will do so on that day and save irregularity the rest of the week.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The guard fence around the new cement walk at the Harper House has been removed. The blocks are diamond shape, alternating in black and white.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The Rev. R.B. Williams, former pastor of the First Methodist Church, Rock Island, was named superintendent of the Rock Island District.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Abnormally high temperatures and lack of rainfall in Illinois during the past week have speeded maturing of corn and soybean crops.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Installation of a new television system in St. Anthony's Hospital, which includes a closed circuit channel as well as the three regular Quad-Cities channels, has been completed and now is in operation.
1989 -- 25 years ago: When the new Moline High School was built in 1958, along with it were plans to construct a football field in the bowl near 34th Street on the campus. Wednesday afternoon, more than 30 years later, the Moline Board of Education Athletic Board sent the ball rolling toward the possible construction of that field by asking superintendent Richard Hennigan to take to the board of education a proposal to hire a consultant.






(More History)