Community gardens 'buzzing' with plans

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013 10:29 a.m. CDT

DeKALB – Dan Kenney is looking for volunteer beekeepers.

Kenney, the co-coordinator of DeKalb County Community Gardens, is hoping to establish up to 10 colonies of honeybees, with plans to sell the honey to help offset the costs of the nonprofit’s operations.

A local farmer recently donated his used beehives to the group, Kenney said. The community gardens has a letter of agreement with the town of Cortland to use four acres of town-owned land, where the beehives will be located along with a couple of greenhouses. Kenney said he plans to line the greenhouses with heat-generating compost to sustain winter plant growth next year.

Volunteer Dave Kolars of DeKalb maintained beehives for 15 years, and offered to help with the community gardens’ latest undertaking.

“They are pretty light maintenance,” he said. “Once you start a new hive, you check it every few days.”

Some of the volunteer beekeepers will receive training in apiary science through the University of Illinois Extension office in Belvidere.

One of the four acres on East North Avenue near Cortland will be dedicated to raising vegetables the gardens will donate to Feed’em Soup. The Cortland property is one of a number of new plots the community gardens will till. The group also will till new plots in Waterman, Shabbona, DeKalb and at all five of Sycamore’s elementary schools.

Kenney said volunteers will maintain community gardens on about 30 plots this year, totaling more than five acres.

DCCG will meet next at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 18, at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of DeKalb, 158 N. Fourth St., DeKalb. Anyone interested is invited.

“They don’t have to know about gardening. We have people who can teach them,” Kenney said. “All you need is the desire to help with the issue of hunger in our county and to close the food gap.”

For more information, contact Kenney at 815-739-0950.

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