18 May - Make Your Garden Grow

Being the Green Thumb that I am, I did not realize Memorial Day Weekend was the biggest gardening weekend of the year. Perfect timing to have received an email from dear friend Mel who co-created Healthy Communities Project, a Milwaukee organization dedicated to educating communities about the dangers of pesticides as well as offer healthy alternatives. I found certain tips and valuable information with regard to alternate ways to fertilize, as well as lawn care in general.

So in the spirit of being green, this week's new task was to build a garden. We grow herbs every summer...so tasty and necessary for as much as we enjoy cooking and entertaining. But this would not be an herb or flower garden, but a garden of sustenance. A few weeks ago, I came home one night to newspapers and dirt on my dining room table. Headed upstairs to find a little greenhouse of plants on my bathtub ledge. Germination had begun.

It was time to build the garden beds. We created two 10' x 14' frames lined with fabric to prevent weeds from intruding on our little piece of earth. We transported 11 yards of topsoil to fill. And in shoveling the dirt into wheelbarrows, I discovered that my orthopedic surgeon was indeed accurate in my diagnosis of tennis elbow. I was not aware I even played tennis. It is unfortunate that I inherited my father's "Invincible Complex," otherwise I probably would have heeded Dr. Sinkiewicz's advice of not aggravating it.

Now it was time to find that anonymous bag of $80 worth of seeds. After hunting high and low, I pretty much came to the conclusion that I threw them away. Big oops. Another trip to the nursery. After raking the beds, we measured and tallied every six inches. I was surprised to find that Hubbo was pretty on with his ambitions. In two beds, we were able to plant corn, seven types of tomato plants (grape, roma, beefsteak...if only there were heirloom...), cucumbers, green and yellow zucchini, summer and spaghetti squash. We planted different varieties of beans, peas, radishes, lettuce, carrots, onions, peppers, parsley, spinach, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew.

And when the work was done, we treated ourselves to a little tailgate and watched the Brewers' win against the Cardinals from behind home plate.

I know of few people who have been successful in this undertaking (due to squirrels, rabbits and infestation), so I am curious as to how this will progress. I greatly commend anyone who has the diligence and know how to self-sustain. If you have any tips, please share. I will update the progress of its growth and will have a harvest party in a month or two, hopefully with a well-rested elbow. See you then.

For more information on Healthy Communities Project, please see www.healthycommunitiesproject.org.