Cultivating a passion

The Good Life

Tim Gaedtke, 36, started gardening on a plot at the Firefly Ridge Community Garden in Wauwatosa two years ago.

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:24 pm

For the past two years, Tim Gaedtke, 36, a sales representative for General Beverage Sales Co. in New Berlin, has been enjoying the fruits of his labor — or rather, the vegetables of his labor — at the Firefly Ridge community garden in Wauwatosa.

Tim Gaedtke, 36, started gardening on a plot at the Firefly Ridge Community Garden in Wauwatosa two years ago.
Tim Gaedtke, 36, started gardening on a plot at the Firefly Ridge Community Garden in Wauwatosa two years ago.

Gaedtke started renting a 30-by-30-foot plot at Firefly Ridge after a couple years of gardening in his backyard. He grows tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, carrots, kale, spinach, beets, onions, green beans, zucchini, pumpkins, eggplant, butternut squash and lettuce. Though sometimes chipmunks nibble at his veggies, “it doesn’t bother me because I can barely keep up with my harvest,” Gaedtke said.

Firefly Ridge is a 10-acre property where locals with a green thumb can rent different sized garden plots from year to year.

Three times a week during the growing season, Gaedtke stops by his garden after work for 15 or 20 minutes to pick some veggies, do some weeding and water his plants if they look thirsty. He spends about one to two hours at the garden on weekends. He said the time he puts in is definitely worth it.

“We don’t buy a single vegetable from June until the end of October,” Gaedtke said. “We also can and freeze a ton of veggies and homemade spaghetti sauce to keep us pretty stocked up throughout the winter. Now that I am getting large harvests, I also have the opportunity to donate veggies to local food pantries.”

Gaedtke said it’s important to find a rewarding hobby outside of work.

“It is important to find something that you are passionate about and take it and run with it,” he said. “See how far you can go.”

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Ben Stanley, former BizTimes Milwaukee reporter.

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