DUNNING — Gardeners eager to plunge their hands into the dirt have until March 15 to reserve a plot in the Dunning Community Garden, organizers said Wednesday.
Once spring truly arrives, what was once an empty, barren lot sandwiched between Wright City College's parking garage and a city sanitation facility will become a verdant community garden for the second year.
"It was great," said Rita Lavin, who founded the garden. "The produce looked really good."
Plots are $60 for new members, with a $5 discount for those with green-thumbs older than 60. Returning members can save their 4-by-8 raised beds in return for a fee of $30, with the same senior citizen discount available. The deadline is March 15.
There is still a lot to do to get the garden up and running, Lavin said.
"We had fairly low expectations for the first year," Lavin said. "Now we're going to figure out ways to make it better."
Once owned by the city, the half-acre garden is now owned by Neighbor Space, a nonprofit land trust, and maintained by Dunning residents.
In September, the Chicago City Council agreed to spend $240,000 collected from developers who built on what was once open land to clean up the land and build the garden, 6532 W. Berteau Ave.
Plans for this year include building a fence and shed, Lavin said.
There are 20 plots available, which will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, Lavin said. There is room for additional plots to be built.
Each gardener can reserve two plots, which must be used to grow organic fruits and vegetables.
Part of the community garden is designated as the Giving Garden, which grows produce specifically for non-profit organizations. The Sunshine Activity Center, a nearby adult day care facility, received several truckloads of fruits and vegetables from the Giving Garden, Lavin said.
"It was pretty amazing," Lavin said.
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