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Local News

A place to plant your garden

I probably wouldn’t eat as many vegetables if I didn’t plant them here.

On a hot Saturday afternoon, a man put on his gardening hat and “hauled little buckets of water” to his plot of land in the Grayslake Community Garden, like he does just about every day.

Bill Micheli, of Grayslake, said after nine years in use, the garden still remains a strong aspect of community with members who tend to their plants daily.

Micheli said he has used the garden since day one because there is not enough room in front of his home to plant the nearly 30 plants in his 20-by-40-foot space at the community shared garden.

He plants everything from shallots to carrots and cucumbers, to broccoli and eggplant. His space also includes yellow and green beans, onions, green and red peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, zucchini and squash.

“I just keep planting until I get to the end of the row,” said Micheli, who has been gardening for 50 years. “It gets in your system like everything else.”

Karen Wojciechowski, the village official who is in charge of the garden, said 42 spots are occupied at the garden with three more residents on the waiting list.

Lou Nettelhorst, of Grayslake, said he and his wife waited a year to get their spot in the garden. He said now that they have their spot, he applies mulch around his plants to keep the moisture in the ground.

“We grow cherry tomatoes and basil,” he said. “We use the vegetables grown here for the Italian food we love.”

The community garden consists of two 1,000-gallon water tanks, which the village regularly refills. The garden also has several compost barrels for people to use.

The village offers 20-by-20-foot and 20-by-40-foot plots, according to the online application.

Users pay a $30 fee to cover garden expenses, $10 of which is refunded by the end of the May 1 to Nov. 15 season once spaces are cleared. Members must have something planted by June 1 and must maintain plants in the space until the end of the season. 

Micheli, whose space is next to his neighbor’s, said the garden is a nice way for people to get out and enjoy gardening. He said vegetables taste better at the garden than when planted at the store because they are fresher.

“It’s nice when you go to your own garden and pick your vegetables,” Micheli said. “I probably wouldn’t eat as many vegetables if I didn’t plant them here.”

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