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A Place to Put Down Your Roots: New Garden Plots Available in Three Bridges Park

Written by Michael Espinoza
    Wednesday, 21 January 2015
A Place to Put Down Your Roots: New Garden Plots Available in Three Bridges Park

"When are the gardens going to be open?!" This is a question that the Menomonee Valley Young Scientists would ask last year over and over again. The roar and grumble of the tractor machinery was heard throughout Three Bridges Park as workers installed 40 raised garden beds and three arbors, airy structures that will support vine plants.

The area, cordoned off by construction fencing, beckoned the Young Scientists to get closer. We watched as truck after truck would make deliveries of soil to fill the garden plots. You can imagine the sight of a large eighteen-wheeler driving down the Hank Aaron State Trail, a path normally reserved for cyclists, runners and walkers.

The anticipation grew stronger and the Scientists and I were eager to start seedlings at the Urban Ecology Center. We took over the back patio and filled it with trays of cucumber, squash, tomato, parsley, thyme, and radish seeds. The Scientists took responsibility for watering the seeds every session, and soon sprouts began to emerge.

Squeals of excitement roared from the Scientists when they showed me their seeds were emerging. The sprouts grew stronger and we hoped that the gardens would open soon.

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In July, the long wait was over, the Young Scientists and gardeners got the go ahead to plant in the garden plots. The Scientists marched their sprouts to the garden where they joined community gardeners in planting.
Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday when we met, the Scientists would check on their vegetables. "Is the lettuce big enough to eat? Is this tomato ripe? What are these little things (referring to some habanero peppers)?" The gardens quickly became a place of learning for children and adults alike.

By the time August rolled in, there were enough greens to make a mixed salad. The scientists worked to harvest the leaves and washed them at the Center. They enjoyed the fruits of their labor: a truly fresh garden salad. Cherry tomatoes were quickly established as a favorite.

The result was great, but the journey may have been greater. Young Scientists aren't the only ones who can have fun in the community gardens at Three Bridges Park -- you can too!

If you are looking for a place to plant your seeds; community garden plots are available for rent. The gardens have tools available on site, making it easy to swing by and do some work, without having to tote your equipment around. Water is also available onsite through water cubes, which collect rainwater from the arbor roofs. This infrastructure, newly in place for the 2015 season is a great addition that makes gardening in the Menomonee Valley a pleasure.

Plots are available for last year's rate until April 1st; that's $25 for members and $60 for non-members. On April 1st rates will rise to $35 ($70 non-members). Contact Michael Espinoza, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit us at 3700 W. Pierce Street for more information. Make sure to reserve your spot today!

Michael Espinoza

Michael Espinoza

Michael is a Community Program Educator and Visitor Services Assistant at our Menomonee Valley branch. He is a graduate of Boston University where he studied Environmental Analysis and Policy. He can often be found playing on the slide or hiding in the trunk of a tree with the Young Scientists Club. He is an avid vermi-composter, gardener and has recently taken on beekeeping.

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