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 Tuesday, Sept 2, the 245th day of 2014. There are 120 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: It is estimated that 300,000 people attended the recent Democratic convention in Chicago when Gen. George B. McClellan of New Jersey was nominated as a candidate for president of the United States.
1889 — 125 years ago: Alderman Frank Ill, Winslow Howard and Captain J.M. Montgomery returned from Milwaukee, where they attended the national Grand Army of the Republic encampment.
1914 — 100 years ago: Three members of the Rock Island YMCA accepted positions as physical directors of other associations. Albert Cook went to Kewanee, C.D. Curtis to Canton and Willis Woods to Leavenworth, Kan.
1939 — 75 years ago: Former President Herbert Hoover appealed for national support of President F.D. Roosevelt and Congress in every effort to keep the United States out of war.
1964 — 50 years ago: The Rock Island Junior chamber pf Commerce has received answers to about 65 % of the 600 questionnaires mailed out recently in a "Community Attitude Survey" to analyze sentiments of citizens towards their city's various recreational, educational, and civic service programs.
1989 — 25 years ago: The two thunderstorms passing through the Quad Cities last night and early today left some area residents reaching for their flashlights.






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