Why Choose Sustainably Grown?

Dear Prospective Members,

            Maplewood Gardens is a collection of over a dozen small organic gardens totaling about two and a half acres built over the last 25 years. My purpose from the beginning has been to follow the methods of Nature and do no harm to the Earth.  I have never used any toxic substance in any of my gardens for any purpose.  I have always believed that if you feed the Earth, it will feed you. I often have said that the only crop I grow is soil.  Since, in Nature, the only source of nutrition for plants is the soil in which they grow and the nitrogen and micronutrients that they get from the rain of thunderstorms, I decided to concentrate on developing a soil that would provide everything needed for health rather than look for ways to solve pest and nutrition problems as they appeared.  Well nourished plants, like well nourished human beings, develop immune systems that ward off pests and disease.

            One of the ways that Nature insures success is through diversity.  In applying this principle to soil building it seemed to me that the more diverse the vegetation added to the compost pile, the more nutritious the resulting product would be.  A study of weeds indicated that each plant has a particular ability to absorb differing minerals, so weeds, while a huge bother in the garden are a great asset to the compost pile.  In addition to weeds adding nutrients to the pile, the bits of soil remaining on their roots contain bacteria which aid in breaking them down.  Of course the compost also contains the non-edible remains of the food plants from the garden.  This home-grown soil food, the judicious use of several naturally existing rock powders, the many tons of straw, marsh hay, and domestic hay used as mulch, and the regular use of diverse green manure crops has created a soil of surpassing fertility here at Maplewood Gardens.  A recent study shows an average of 30% more cancer fighting anti-oxidants in organic produce, almost certainly a result of better nutrition.

            Another study by the USDA has revealed that conventional vegetables are less nutritious than they were fifty years ago.  One obvious reason is the depleted soils on which they are now grown.  Another explanation is that there are many fewer varieties of most vegetables than there used to be and that many of them are chosen for reasons other than their nutritive content.  Suitability for machine harvest, shipping qualities, and longer shelf life are common considerations.  The “fresh” produce on the supermarket shelf has traveled an average of over 1500 miles and is 4 or 5 days old before it arrives.  Nature tells us that it makes sense to eat fresh locally grown food and dispense with the thundering herd of trucks wasting fossil fuel and belching clouds of diesel smoke to further damage our atmosphere.

            When choosing the varieties grown here, once again I look to Nature’s diversity.  If diversity serves the soil well, so does it serve my customers well.  Science is now discovering the phytonutrients in unusual varieties, the anthocyanins in purple carrots, the lutein in yellow carrots, the lycopene in red carrots.  Gardening here has become preventive medicine.  As it turns out color factors are nutritional factors and flavor factors as well.  Maplewood Gardens offers an opportunity to partake of over 170 diverse varieties of vegetables, herbs, and berries grown in highly developed soils by earth-friendly means, and harvested at the peak of their desirability.  We offer a truly delicious path to health.

David Peterson
Head Gardener

Maplewood Gardens
Elderon, Wisconsin
Spring 2008


  • Wausau's City Pages The Wausau WI weekly "City Pages" recently interviewed Maplewood Gardens' David Peterson for their recent article on farm-to-school programs.
    Posted May 21, 2013, 8:54 AM by David Peterson
  • Tyler "Dave grows health"As a dancer, farm laborer, and "coffee shop revolutionary s.o.b.," no for profit entity is gonna give me any health care.  Honestly, I don't ...
    Posted Jan 29, 2010, 4:33 PM by Tyler Mertes
  • Green Guy "Maplewood Gardens gave us more than we expected" Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc tristique tortor eget nulla eleifend feugiat. Donec nulla felis, vulputate fringilla ultrices id ...
    Posted Jan 29, 2010, 4:38 PM by Tyler Mertes
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