Rock River Valley Pantry (RRVP) volunteer gardeners were busy this past week preparing some of the 32 organic raised beds for the winter with compost and mulch, and actually planted the other beds with spinach and turnip seeds for harvesting in the late spring of 2022.

Barb Flores, U of I Master Gardener, and coordinator of the RRVP’s gardening efforts stated that, “Spinach and turnips are pretty hardy. If we plant them in the amended soil and then cover the seeds with a three to four inch blanket of straw we should be able to harvest both spinach and turnips possibly in late April, and for sure in early May.”

During the summer of 2021 the volunteers raised more than 2,000 pounds of organic produce. Produce included tomatoes, peppers, beans, potatoes, okra, eggplant, cucumbers, herbs, and more! Under the guidance of the gardeners clients are invited to select from the garden harvest ready vegetables.

This is the tenth year of the garden located at 421 S. Rockton Ave., next to the RRVP’s location. Volunteers are always needed, and no prior experience is needed as volunteers will be trained. Contact the RRVP at if interested in volunteering or donating to the garden.