My Green Thumb Gets Muddy

by Heather Ferber on May 6, 2012

Welcome to this wonderful spring in Wisconsin!  I’m loving the balmy 50-60 degree days and all this rain is a real treat too.  Well, for those of you who may not know me so well, that is a little taste of my sarcasm.  After those record breaking warm temps in March, I thought I would be out tending to my garden quite early this year.  Well, I was completely wrong.  All I have to tend to right now is a bunch of mud.  YUCK.

Presently, we have green beans, tomatoes, watermelon, pumpkins, kale, parsley and MORE growing in the entry way of out home.  It’s quite humorous actually.  We are picking 8-10 beans/day off our plants and eating them at breakfast – LOL!  Every week my DH asks me when I am going to relocate my garden…and every week I answer back, “When the weather cooperates.”  Truly hoping that next weekend is the winner (because I just bought about 20 more little plants to add to our garden thanks to The Greenhouse Girls).

So the plan this summer is to grow our own garden. We are planning a super-duper sturdy, barbed wire fence (just kidding re: the barbed wire) to keep the deer, rabbits, groundhogs, turkey, fox, and any other wildlife that wanders through, OUT of the garden.  Going to give it our best effort to see if this works.  And if not, there’s always the local farmer’s markets and CSA’s for back-up.  (And I know we will still visit the market every weekend to find what we would love to taste and are not growing.)

Having your own garden can involve a lot of work, education, and planning.  There are probably some of you out there that like the idea of growing your own healthy veggies, fruits, and herbs but don’t know where to start so I wanted to share a bit of info with you that I read in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel today (May 6, 2012).  The article was entitled, “Tending to the Gardener” and it appeared in the Entree Section on the front page.

To give a brief summary, the interest in local and organic grown food is rapidly growing so more and more people are branching out to become first time gardeners.  Thankfully, there are actually specialists out there who will come to your home, analyze your garden site, and help you plan and install your project.  There are also specialized garden based businesses cropping up all over the city.  One such place is Growing Power, Milwaukee’s urban farm located at 5500 W. Silver Spring Drive, founded by Will Allen.  Mr. Allen suggests “placing two feet of clean, chemical free compost over existing ground,” as opposed to digging down or tilling up your backyard for your personal garden.   Growing Power has a fantastic composting program where the soil they create is ideal for gardening: proper pH, high microbial count, and an appropriate nitrogen/phosphorus/potassium ratio.  They sell their soil in bags and by the cubic yard.

And the help can go beyond that!  Another local company, Green Team, can come to your home and install custom raised beds. Plus they will deliver the compost too!  Furthermore, if you’d like them to tend your beds, that may be arranged as well.  For every 10 gardens installed through the Green Team partnership, Growing Power will donate a free garden to a family in need (I’m not exactly sure how this family is determined but will get more details on my upcoming visit to Growing Power.)   Growing Power and The Green Team are undertaking the 20,000 Backyard Garden Initiative.  Their goal is to inspire 20,000 new backyard gardens in the very near future (maybe I will be one of them).

My inspiration to plant my own garden this year was my family and my clients.  All my boys LOVE being involved “in the process” no matter what type of project we are working on.  They planted the seeds, LOVE to water, like to harvest the beans we have already, LOVE to water, enjoy cooking….and did I mention LOVE to water?!  No doubt my garden will be one of the best watered in the area.  Please call if you need watering assistance (Better Health By Heather). Now if I could only get them to weed!

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