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Diana Kuyper: Antioch’s garden plot germinating

Updated: June 24, 2011 2:29AM

What a difference a week can make. Last Thursday, when I went to Antioch’s inaugural farmers market next to the new community garden, the garden was just a pile of dirt surrounded by a split-rail fence.

Yesterday, I saw a beautiful big garden sectioned off into individual plots that are separated by mulched paths. Fourteen gardeners have committed to tending the plots this summer.

“I know it’s late, but now we are finally all set for our gardeners,” said garden coordinator Melonnie Hartl, explaining the majority of the preparation was done by volunteers. “We have plenty of room if anyone else is interested. We could easily accommodate another 12 gardeners.”

The season got off to a late start anyway, so gardeners have at least until the end of the month to plant seedlings. Green beans could still be planted from seed because they germinate and grow quickly, while short season leafy greens like lettuce and spinach can be planted even as late as the end of July or early August, said Hartl.

It’s refreshing to see the village-owned half-acre parcel at Main and Orchard streets cleared and cleaned up. The garden located next to the farmers market on the vacant Pittman auto dealership site is a good use for the high-profile site that until recently was unsightly.

As the garden grows and flowers bloom, it will only make the area in the center of downtown Antioch more attractive.

Anyone interested in leasing garden space should contact Hartl as soon as possible. There are some restrictions to gardening at the site. Participants must sign a contract and pay a $25 fee. No chemicals will be allowed because the garden is organic. Gardeners will be encouraged to donate their excess produce to Antioch’s food pantry.

For more information or to obtain a copy of the contract, contact Hartl at (847) 395-6963 or e-mail

Diana Kuyper’s column appears Fridays. You can e-mail her at

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