Andy Canella is the owner of Girasole Backyard Gardening Service in the Temecula Valley area of Southern California. Andy is rocking this area with a unique organic garden installation and maintenance service. Learn all about what he does in this article, which he wrote.
A tomato, is a tomato, is a tomato. The same could be said for most of the items in your grocer’s vegetable section because there are so few varieties available.
One of the many great things about having your own vegetable garden is being able to choose from an amazing variety of fruits, vegetables and herbs. One seed catalog has well over two hundred tomato varieties (so many that they group them by color), peppers of varying heat from all over the world and eggplants of every shape and color. Lettuces of various sizes, textures, colors and tastes make humdrum salads an adventure, maybe even a main course.
Then there’s the opportunity to branch out and try something new. I had never eaten Swiss Chard, but when I saw a photo for a variety called Rainbow, I had to try it. Then, I planted a few of the extra seeds in some of my clients’ gardens and presented the harvested chard to them with a simple recipe for sautéing with olive oil and garlic. Nearly all of them asked for more.
When my first ever planting of kale matured last fall I wasn’t sure how to prepare them, so I found a recipe for kale chips on the web that looked quick and easy. When they came out of the oven my ten year old son and his friends polished off the entire batch in a matter of minutes and asked for more! I’ll be planting a lot more kale this year.
My garden service clients have commented that their garden has changed the way they eat. One came out to the garden, selected two just-picked tomatoes from that week’s harvest basket and said, “This is my breakfast.” Another picked a big handful of sugar snap peas to snack on during her morning walk. Clients tell me their young children give them daily reports on what’s new in the garden and are trying vegetables they never touched before.
All of these might seem like simple things, but from simple beginnings big changes can come. Beautiful, flavorful varieties of vegetables you might have been taking for granted become a bigger part of your diet. Your palate broadens to include new vegetables that might have once been considered exotic. You begin looking to the garden for quick meal or snack.
Children watching the garden grow become more interested in eating their vegetables. Then, all of the sudden, without realizing it, you and your family are eating much healthier.
Girasole Backyard Gardens will design and install a garden that is tailored to the needs of your property and family, and do it affordably. Your garden may be in-ground, in raised beds or containers, or incorporated into existing landscaping. Then, each and every week, we will maintain your garden for you! Plans are also available to give you participation in the garden activities to any degree you desire, with only monthly or quarterly consultations to keep your garden headed in the right direction.
We use only sustainable garden practices to ensure the long-term health and productivity of your garden. I incorporate natural amendments rather than using chemical fertilizers, which builds the soil and feeds the plants. Crop rotation reduces the naturally occurring pests that would build up in the soil if you planted, say tomatoes, in the same place year after year. I also use companion planting to encourage beneficial pollinator and predator insects to visit your garden. Natural pest control methods rather than chemicals are used should the pests get out of hand.
Girasole Backyard Gardens is owned and operated by Andy Cannella. He is a Certified Master Gardener through UC Davis Cooperative Extension program and a Certified Master Composter through the County of Riverside. To learn more about how Andy can affordably install and maintain an organic garden in your backyard. Learn more about his business by visiting his website GirasoleBackyardenGardens.com.