It started five years ago, when Resh Gala bought two tomato plants from a superstore near her Bridgewater home. She put them in small planters on a shaded patio—and harvested a total of two tomatoes. She was confused and disappointed. This was supposed to be the Garden State, no? But Gala was determined to get better and educated herself about soil amendment, organic pest management and container gardening. Last year, Burpee Seeds and Plants named Gala a gardener of the year.
As her Instagram feed grew toward 12,600 followers, many of whom had questions about how to set up organic gardens and help them thrive, Gala recognized an unfilled need. While many landscapers create flower gardens, not many do kitchen gardens, let alone organic ones. Gala stepped in. She now specializes in garden coaching and installation, helping people create their own organic, edible gardens.
At her new company, 100 Tomatoes, Gala works full-time advising her customers on making their own organic compost and using only pest treatments and soil enhancements that are certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Organic Materials Review Institute. Doing so, she says, is better for your health and for the environment, and helps attract crucial pollinators to your garden.
[RELATED: Your Guide to Sustainable Gardening]
As for her own garden, Gala works on just 84 square feet outside her townhouse, proving that small spaces can be highly productive. Her containers and raised beds—full of rich soil, not New Jersey’s infamous clay—are protected from pests by cold hoops and farm-grade plastic to create mini greenhouses. This summer, she will be sowing seeds for her winter harvest. That means she will pick carrots, kale, spinach, bok choy and beets in December or January.
During the pandemic, Gala has found it therapeutic to work in the fresh air, connecting with nature. “When you grow your own food and understand how much energy, effort, love and care go into even a single vegetable, you tend to appreciate that more, and you waste food less,” she says. “I just want to encourage people to give gardening a try.”Click here to leave a comment