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Diggin’ the plants in Eldred

By Katie Collins
June 8, 2011

Lou Monteleone has created the Corner Community Garden in Eldred because he says he would like there to be a peaceful place where people can socialize. Monteleone is the president of Eldred’s Lion’s Club, and he owns the land on which the garden is located. He says the idea of the garden originated from a community garden in Liberty.

Since the winter, Monteleone has designed and constructed the garden to have 24 plots, which people rent for $20 for planting and growing flowers, fruits and vegetables of their choice.

All plots have been rented and there is a waiting list of about 12 people. With some basic rules, Monteleone said, “If they don’t maintain it, they could lose it.” He is considering adding some smaller plots around the perimeter for the people on the waiting list.

Monteleone did not advertise the garden, but he says people were just stopping and asking for a plot. “People were just itching to get in there.”

Brownie Troop 492 has a plot and are growing broccoli, squash and flowers. Leah Jones is a second grader who thinks the garden is a good idea because “it’s better for the environment, so you don’t have to spend as much on gas going to the store.”

Jones suggests going to the garden to pick fresh vegetables or reading a book is a good way to spend time. Her mom, Laurie, likes the garden because it is a place that is “friendly, fun, health conscious and environmentally sound.”

Monteleone has a plot specific for growing food for a food pantry, which he will most likely donate to St. Anthony’s Church in Yulan.

Eldred’s Lions Club sponsored a gardening workshop in May, where a representative from Cornel Cooperative taught people “some pointers.” Because the workshop was a success, Monteleone is hoping to eventually hold another one.

Everything in the garden is organic. Der Oskar tree service has donated a garlic and salt compound spray which is supposed to keep mosquitoes, ticks and deer away. The company has donated their services and will spray once a month during the summer.

The construction of the garden is not complete. There is an atrium being built, and plans include installation of a pergola. Bushes will be added and a gate in the front of the garden.

The centerpiece of the garden, a dogwood tree, was donated and planted on Earth Day by the Eldred Lion’s Club.