Ann_Strong_Schmitz_4188-1_WEBSIZEIn 1994, Dr. Ann Strong and her husband, Tom, purchased a walkout rambler, where stepping outside on the lower yard after a rain brought them sloshing and slopping through standing water. The property had standard landscaping with decorative buff limestone rock and a small faltering backyard garden framed by green-treated lumber. The slope of the back yard caused rain water to gather in puddles atop the grass that tried unsuccessfully to send its roots into the heavy, compacted clay beneath it. Unable to find suitable soil beneath it, the grass never thrived. The trees didn’t thrive. Ann’s first-year tomato plants succumbed to fungus. The desired plants struggled in the poor soil while the noxious weeds persisted.

Dr. Ann knew if she wanted any chance of successful homegrown summer vegetables she needed to change the environment where the plants grew. She and Tom removed all the decorative rock, plastic and mesh weed barriers, dying trees and exotic invasive plants. They corrected the slope of the backyard, aerated the grassy areas to assist decompaction and spread organic insect-, animal-, pet- and human-friendly weed killer. They dug out–and continue to dig out to this day–the noxious weeds. They expanded the garden zone exponentially and saved one-third of the outdoor space for sod grass.

Dr. Ann started amending the garden soil that first summer by bringing in hundreds of cubic yards of garden dirt and compost, laying down brown paper as a weed barrier and spreading hardwood tree mulch. Over the years she has amended the soil sufficiently to provide quality nutrition to the variety of plants and new trees growing in it. For many years now, she has had a successful parade of blooms through the growing season. The poppies and peonies greet the early-summer sun in the south and west gardens while the hosta display their subtle differences in the shade of the north and east gardens. The birch trees are maturing in the richness of the amended soil in the back yard while the oak out front loves the full sun exposure it receives. Though she has not eliminated completely the fungal infection of her gardens, she is able to have a small herb garden tucked in the hot zone on the south side of the garage.

Dr. Ann’s interest in human growth and vitality paralleled the regeneration of her gardens. She started researching organic farming and food, removed the toxins and petrochemicals from her storage shelves, resolved to limit prepackaged factory-made food and studied natural health care solutions. She earned her doctor of chiropractic as a step in a mid-life career change and now works with clients who want to leave dis-ease behind and use natural care options to restore the body and achieve a greater sense of well-being.

You can change your internal environment; you can amend the soil within. Dr. Ann invites you to learn how to achieve your highest expression of health.

Dr. Strong lives in Eden Prairie with her husband, Tom. They are 25-year members of local food cooperatives and 9-year members of Harmony Valley Farm, a CSA in Viroqua, Wisconsin. They have one adult daughter enjoying life near the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.