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By AUDREY BLUMBERG
January 30, 2021 at 9: 00 AM
BRIDGEWATER, NJ - For Bridgewater resident Resh Gala, a series of accomplishments and new work began with a simple failure.
Gala began gardening in 2016, when she purchased two tomato plants for the first time and tried to grow them in containers on her patio.
“I knew nothing about soil quality, fertilizing or watering, and that year I only harvested two small tomatoes,” she said. “I was completely perplexed. How could someone from Jersey not be able to grow Jersey tomatoes?”
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Gala said that led her to read and research about growing her own food, and, today, she considers herself an urban organic gardener with a speciality in maximizing harvests from small spaces.
“My 84-square-foot raised bed garden is a testament to that,” she said.
Gala is now a kitchen garden consultant who helps people grow their own food organically.
“To me, gardening is a sustainable lifestyle,” she said. “It helps me relax when I’m out in nature, nurturing my plants. Watching them grow from seed to harvest gives me an immense joy and also a sense of accomplishment. As we all know, having fresh organic food right in your backyard has tremendous health benefits for sure.”
“The best part is watching my kids enthusiastically try a variety of veggies, including spinach, peas and radishes too,” she added.
Gala said the highlight of 2020 was being selected by Burpee Home Gardens as one of their Gardeners of the Year. She said it was a complete surprise because one of her friends submitted her name for nomination in December 2019.
“Burpee had seen my previous gardening work on my Instagram handle, @reshgala, and contacted me via a DM,” she said. “They sent me 11 of their 2021 varieties to try and test in my garden, before it became available to the public.”
Gala said she was excited for the opportunity.
“I got tremendous exposure, as they featured me on their blog, website and social media accounts,” she said. “Suddenly, my following grew, and I began to get noticed by other major brands and national gardening companies too.”
And recently, Gala said, she was contacted by Kellogg Garden Products and hired to create YouTube videos on gardening. The videos launched in January.
Gala said she is very grateful to be able to share her knowledge and skills with the gardening community on social media, as well as with those who are looking to create their own kitchen gardens.
“I primarily share my gardening knowledge, tips and tricks on my Instagram handle and my website, www.reshgala.com,” she said. “My company, Hundred Tomatoes, offers gardens consults, installations and maintenance services to help people grow their own food. We have transformed many gardens in New Jersey and around the country too.”
Gala said she has lived in Bridgewater for 10 years.
“It has some of the nicest, friendliest and most helpful people I know,” she said. “I love being able to live in the suburbs while still being at the center of activity.”
With the pandemic taking its toll on so many businesses and families, Gala said the gardening industry actually saw a huge resurgence, as people dealt with the lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, working from home and the fear of food scarcity and rationing in grocery stores.
“Many people renovated their homes and backyards to build their own vegetable gardens,” she said. “Just like working from home, the gardening trend is definitely here to stay. Once people get a taste of their sweet home-grown tomatoes and crispy lettuce, they may not want to go back to the bland stuff ever again.”
Gala said gardening is also a huge stress reliever.
“We could all use more of that for sure,” she said. “My mission for the future is to have everyone grow their own food, and for kitchen gardens to become a part of everyday life.”
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