McNabb Library prepares to plant community garden this week

MCNABB — Last year, McNabb librarian Peggy Smith received permission from the village board to plant a flower garden on the east side of the library building.

During the planning process, it was decided that a better idea might be to plant a community garden for the library with help from the University of Illinois Extension Office and local Master Gardeners. With the help of Rich Haar and his tiling abilities, a nice area was developed and plant-ready. But, then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the library was forced to close and suspend programing.

By the beginning of May 2020, the library had plants and seeds and needed to do something with them, so Smith and the Sandberg family, along with their foreigner exchange student at the time, Valentina Daza-Guitetrez, got together and planted a community garden with donations of seeds and plants given by the University of Illinois Extension Office/Master Gardeners program.

Daza-Guitetrez was the Putnam County Rotary foreigner exchange student who stayed with the Sandberg family. Anna and Lily Sandberg, along with Annette Camp, were big assets to the garden by watering and weeding throughout the summer. The help was greatly appreciated, Smith said.

In the garden were three different styles of tomato plants, cabbage, cauliflower, peppers, lemon cucumbers, celery and even carrots with monster sunflowers, zinnias and marigold flowers. Anyone from the community was invited to pick and use the produce.

Some of the produce was picked and set inside with the little pantry that was put in place by the Putnam County Rotary to help area families hit financially by the COVID-19 situation.

“This was the first year of learning in what we needed to do or not to do for the next year,” Smith said.

Plans are in place to get the community garden planted again this year.

“We would like to do a community garden this year with the hopes to have more help and participation of the community because it takes a lot of work to grow and keep up a garden of any size. It is a good opportunity for children to get service hours or anyone that likes to plant and doesn’t have the room or has extra time on their hands and would like to help others,” Smith said.

The hope is to start preparing to plant as early as this week. Smith is hoping to get started by April 7, weather permitting of course.

If interested in helping, call the McNabb Library Branch at 815-882-2378.