Our Garden is a multi-functional garden space that provides produce to our food pantry clients and low income seniors and provides opportunities for enjoyment and learning. It is a treasured site of community activity where residents are invited to get involved, whether as a garden volunteer, with a community service project, or simply to enjoy and make use of the garden as a get away from the hustle and bustle. The site already features a shed build by the Mundelein High School Shop Class, a rain barrel, functional up-cycled artworks, bird houses contributed by the girl scouts and a bug hotel, beehive and birdbath as part of Daniel Scheuer’s Eagle Scout Project.
The garden is a plentiful source of sustainably grown, organic produce, featuring many uncommon and heirloom varieties of vegetables, such as artichokes, rutabagas, kale, rainbow chard and heirloom tomatoes as well as more common varieties. Fruit growing at the garden includes raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, grapes and fruit trees. It is designed and maintained according to permaculture and bio-intensive gardening principles, which emphasize the garden’s inter-relatedness with every aspect of the local ecosystem and promote biodiversity. Flowers are planted alongside crops to encourage the presence of beneficial insects that control garden pests, replacing the use of synthetic sprays. Healthy soil is critical for growing healthy plants, so crops are never planted in the same spot as the previous season and compost is added. Cover crops are incorporated into the crop rotation to help further enhance soil health.
With so much growing, the garden is a great learning resource for individuals and groups interested in gardening. It is an outdoor classroom for all ages for learning how food grows and about sustainability. Local experts in gardening and bee keeping, including master gardeners, can host classes at the garden. Home gardeners should think of it as a resource- a living plant library and seed repository.