Idea for Instant Garden Sprouts Income for
By: PATTY McCORMAC - For the North County Times
more these days, consumers can't be sure where their food originates or how
careful the growers and manufacturers are with health rules, ingredients and
But Lisa Singer of
"You pretty much can't blow it," said Singer, who runs the business with her husband, Steve.
Her invention was born of frustration. She said she had tried to grow a garden in the past, but with little luck.
"The rabbits and gophers ate everything before it was ready to be picked," she said.
She decided she needed to figure out a way to outsmart them. She hit on the idea of building a raised garden with wire fencing on the sides and a bottom to make it critter-proof.
Her new garden was such a success that neighbors and friends wanted one, too. It didn't take long for the Singers to realize there was a market for this product.
In 2004, Singer set up Gardens to Gro at a home and garden show. They were a hit, and the business took off. She keeps so busy nowadays that she gave up her law practice to devote all her time to Gardens to Gro.
On a recent August morning, Lisa Smith of
"It's bringing a little piece of
She has the 8-by-12-feet model, which is the largest and costs $2,110. In it she has planted tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, spinach, squash, peppers, corn, beans, chives, radishes and herbs. The crop will easily feed her family of four, and her children have helped with the project.
"Kids are more willing to try stuff they have grown," Singer said.
Smith also has a Girl Scout troop, and she plans to do some garden projects with them.
Singer said one of the gardens has been installed recently at
"It's important for them to know that vegetables don't come from grocery store shelves," she said.
The gardens come in three sizes: 8 by 8 feet, 6 by 12 feet and 8 by 12 feet, models that are designed to fit into a backyard as easily as a child's swing set.
A professional can assemble them on-site, but if you're handy, you can do the job yourself, Singer said. "Some people like to make it a family project," she said.
The gardens can be assembled on dirt or sand. Most are made from the highest grade of redwood, which can last 15 to 20 years. Models in white, gray or green plastic also are available.
Customers can plant the garden or it can be done for them, but the Singers recommend a special type of soil that contains worm castings, rock dust and an all-purpose vegetable fertilizer that Singer calls "rocket fuel."
Indeed, the Smiths' garden, which had been planted for one month prior, was thriving: The corn was -- almost -- as high as an elephant's eye.
The customer can water it or the garden can be set to be watered automatically, even if the gardener needs to be gone for several weeks.
Locally, the growing season is not over after the summer harvest, because
To learn more about Gardens to Gro, call (877) GRO-VEGGIES, (877) 476-8344, or visit www.gardenstogro.com.
Patty McCormac is a freelance writer.