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Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010 01:01 am

GET YOUR GARDEN ON

Want to start a garden but have no space? The Illinois Department of Agriculture has just the thing. The department is offering garden plots at the infield of the Illinois State Fair Grandstand race track. The plots are 12 feet by 12 feet and cost $10 each. Each gardener can lease up to two plots.

The fees go to cover supplies like seeds, water, compost, straw mulch and garden tools. There are even sections for organic and conventional growing methods.

“Demand was very high the first year of the garden,” said garden coordinator Mike Rahe. “I’d recommend that gardeners submit their requests to the department by no later than March 15 to ensure they receive a plot.”

During the garden’s inaugural season, 84 gardeners tended 121 plots of fruits, vegetables, flowers and more. Some gardeners may choose to donate a portion of their crop to the “Plant a Row for the Hungry” program benefiting the Central Illinois Foodbank.

For more information, check out the public information meeting at 5 p.m. March 16 at the Illinois Department of Agriculture, inside Gate 11 of the State Fair Grounds at the intersection of Sangamon Avenue and Eighth Street. Alternatively, call 785-4873 or visit agr.state.il.us/garden.
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