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Suffering from Garden Fever and No Space? Rent a Park District Plot

The Organic Community Garden is open to district residents and other for fees ranging from $25 to $75. The first group work day is April 14.

With temperatures expected to be in the 50s and 60s through the weekend, it's hard not to have the great outdoors -- and gardening, in particular -- on the brain.

The Joliet Park District has you covered, especially if you live in a spot where land isn't available or you don't have enough space. Plots are available to rent in the Organic Community Garden, located at 3200 W. McDonough St., across from the Inwood Golf Course and next to the River Valley Detention Justice Center in Joliet.

The rental cost is $25 for a 10-foot-by-10-foot space and $50 for 10-foot-by-20-foot, if you live in the park district. If not, it's $37.50 for the smaller lot and $75 for the larger.

If you're eager to get your hands in the dirt, two work days are scheduled fro April 14 and May 11. From 9 a.m. to noon, volunteers will be putting in new pathways, clearing weeds and getting the area ready to plant.

Because it's an organic garden, the use of synthetic or chemical pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides is not allowed.

Participants are also asked to keep pathway intact and plots must be kept relatively weed free, according to the rules. Whatever is planted must stay within the boundaries of the plot itself.

WANT TO RENT A PLOT? Applications are available at the front desk at the Inwood Atheltic Club, 3000 W Jefferson St., Joliet, or by calling Kristen at 815-741-7275, Ext. 126.

WANT TO VOLUNTEER AT A WORK DAY? Email kgurnitz@jolietpark.org.

DO YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO DONATE? The park district is seeking garden tools, a shed, mulch, pavers and monetary donations for garden operations and maintenance. Email kgurnitz@jolietpark.org.

In general, the park district also recommends taht gardeners who are uncertain about whether conditions are too wet or to dry for planting follow these rules, as drafted by writer at eHow Home.

  1. Dig up a small patch of your soil to about the depth of a trowel, about 6 to 8 inches.
  2. Gather a handful of soil from the middle of this dig. Squeeze your hand tight and open your hand.
  3. See how the soil reacts to being squeezed. If it doesn't form a ball or falls apart immediately, it's too dry. Add compost or peat moss and water it regularly. If it does form a ball that holds together, continue to the next step.
  4. Press your finger against the ball. If the ball continues to hold together and even molds to the shape of your finger, the soil is too wet. Let it dry out before doing anything more to it. If the ball cracked and started to crumble when you pressed on it, it's just about right. It’s time to dig up the garden, add soil amendments and plant.

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