Planting the seeds

Andrew Heiserman
Posted 4/17/20

Local garden plots, formerly run by the Rochelle Garden Club, are now run by the Rochelle VFW Auxiliary and named the VFW Auxiliary Victory Garden.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Planting the seeds


ROCHELLE – Local garden plots, formerly run by the Rochelle Garden Club, are now run by the Rochelle VFW Auxiliary and named the VFW Auxiliary Victory Garden.

The garden, located on Eighth Avenue in Rochelle, consists of 92 plots that are roughly 25-by-30 feet with 3-foot walkways. 

The garden was run by the garden club for many years, but due to many members getting too old to maintain their plots and not enough new members coming in, the club decided to hand over control. 

Before the stay-at-home order was issued, Heather Simo, auxiliary secretary, had reached out to the previous garden club president showing interest in the garden. Simo said she and her husband would help him keep the garden going because her family had rented plots there since 2013. Simo says the gardens are now more important than ever.

“This is a project that needs to keep going, especially now,” said Simo. “There isn’t a lot that we can do, but we can be outside and the plots are far enough apart to grow food at a safe distance from each other.” 

The land the garden sits on is owned by the city and maintained by the street department but tilled by the park district. So, Simo had to call each department to get its approval before moving forward. 

Normally, the plots would be open and ready by Good Friday, but due to the current coronavirus situation and recently receiving the city’s approval on April 13, the garden plans to open on April 21. Due to the amount of former garden club members who would like to continue renting their plots from the auxiliary, it is taking pre-sales from now until April 20. 

“A lot of the people have had these plots for 10-to-12 years, have put time into the soil and they want their plot back.” said Simo. “So, I am allowing for pre-registration from now until April 20 for anybody who previously had a plot.”

For anybody else that would like to secure a plot, renting begins April 21 and goes until all plots are taken. Plots can be rented for $20 and are good from the start of the season until Oct. 20. Due to the current social distancing guidelines, plots will be rented out on a no contact appointment basis.

Appointments can be made by calling or texting Simo at 815-674-0825 and leaving a name and number to be reached back on. During the appointment, Simo will meet the individual at the garden, show them their plot and do a no contact money exchange. 

All funds earned through the sales of plots will be kept by the auxiliary and used to help fund future events. Currently, both the Rochelle VFW Auxiliary and Rochelle VFW Post 3878 are unable to host many fundraising events and therefore are accepting donations. 

Monetary donations of any amount are very helpful and greatly appreciated. If anybody would like to donate to either the Rochelle VFW Auxiliary or the Rochelle VFW post, they can do so by sending a check or money order to VFW Post 3878, 318 4th Ave. in Rochelle. Donations must be specified for either the VFW or VFW Auxiliary.