INA, Ill. (April 8, 2014) – Rend Lake College is searching for students and local residents who want to get their hands dirty at the new Community Garden, located on the Ina campus next to the Historic Schoolhouse. This new project started last year with preliminary plans, and is now expanding to accept anyone who wants to get more hands-on experience.
RLC Horticulture Instructor Ryne Fullerton said no prior classes or skills are necessary to take part, only time and enthusiasm. The summer class will begin April 21 and run through August 6. The deadline to register is April 14.
“We’re inviting people to take the Community Garden class, Horticulture 1219, as a vegetable production class where students can take home produce they grow,” said Fullerton. “Anyone with gardening experience is welcome, and even those who don’t have any experience at all. It’s an opportunity to come out and learn about different vegetables without sitting through a lecture. I’ve been gardening for 20 years or so, and I learn something every time I work in a garden.”
Participants will grow many different kinds of produce, such as sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, cantaloupe and other melons, pumpkins, gourds and squash. There will also be an herb garden featuring chives, basil, rosemary and sage. Fullerton added there might be other produce, depending on what the students want.
“The way it will work is students will meet once in a classroom for the introduction and a schedule will be handed out,” said Fullerton. “It won’t be the typical class where you have to come Monday and Wednesday for two hours. It’s set up so that the student can come whenever they have time, as long as they have 4 hours every week for a total of 64 hours by the end of the class.”
The class is two credit hours and can be used as an elective for many different programs at RLC, not just horticulture. Students will receive a pass/fail grade at the end of the course.
Fullerton said there is already a bit of interest in the course and several individuals are already signed up. If the class continues to gain popularity, he said there might be options next year to work in other areas of RLC’s district.
“Different communities will donate a lot or area of land for community gardens, but for right now, we have an acre and a half available to use on the Ina campus,” he said. “We’re starting on the low end, but if we get more people interested, we can grow it.”