My Experience with Avalow
Before Avalow, I had attempted gardening about five or six different times. My first attempt was a small spice and herb garden-- only the tall curry lasted. My next attempt turned solely into free food for squirrels and other pests, which ate almost all of my plants down to the root. In my third attempt, I lost interest because none of my produce ever ripened enough for consumption, though I had poured countless hours and hundreds of dollars into my sad, droopy tomato plants. My attempts continued like this, over and over.
I’ve always liked gardening; I love the smell of wet soil, and the gratification of watching the life I fostered grow to fruition. But the reality is that it can often feel like there are too many barriers to gardening, particularly if you have a small or urban backyard (or perhaps no backyard at all).
One extremely frustrating point of gardening is the oversaturation and often contradictory information available online and elsewhere. For every plant and every seed, I had 20 questions, but I found countless answers to each, many of which offering conflicting advice.
What do I plant when? But I live in San Francisco, so do I account for my microclimate? Do I have pests? If so, what do I use for them-- mild chemicals or cayenne? What kind of wood do I build a garden box from? There are mixed findings about certain types of treated wood and their effects on the soil. Does my plant look like this because it’s overwatered or not watered enough? Is it sunburned? Are those flowers a good sign or does that mean it’s bolting? Should I actually play them classical music? Does lettuce grow well next to broccoli? This publication says I’m supposed to plant something “two weeks before the first frost” but how do I know when that is?!
At the end of all the research and endless trips to the nursery, I was left with soil in every crevice of my car, a massive dent in my bank account, and hard, green tomatoes-- unfit for even my squirrels to eat.
My Garden Renaissance
Perhaps I had too much excitement and not enough patience-- but I’m going to chalk it up to my conflicting external sources.
Fast forward to 2018. I started my morning today by harvesting kale, arugula, edible flowers, sugar snap peas, chives, and oregano. I had to take two trips inside to carry all my food, and my garden bed is hardly longer than 3 feet. What changed? Avalow finally put a stop to all my meager gardening attempts by installing one of their self-watering beds in my concrete backyard.
Here’s a list of my favorite things about my Avalow garden:
One Source of Truth
No more conflicting information, vague answers, guessing games, or trying to articulate in a search bar the exact color brown my plants are turning. Instead, I ask the Avalow Grow Team and they work with me to troubleshoot my garden issue.
Look at the holes in my broccoli leaves— what’s eating them?
Caterpillars. Here how to deal with them.
What are these little black spots inside my lettuce leaves?
Aphids— easy to take care of with these 2 simple steps.
Should I harvest my kale now?
Yes. Here are some kale recipes to try!
One of Avalow’s core values and goals is gardening education. Not only will the Avalow Grow Team come to my apartment with boxes of new starts and seeds for each season, but they will walk me through everything we’re planting. They plant the first start of spinach and I plant the remaining three. They explain to me how to harvest my sugar snap peas, and I retrieve the knife and get started. I show them, again, the holes in my broccoli leaves and together we go through each plant to find the pesky caterpillars I missed.
The result of gardening with the Grow Team is that at the end of the process, it still feels like my garden. I know what I’m growing, I know my garden bed map by heart, I know when to harvest each crop, and what pests are eating my leaves. And that sense of accomplishment makes all the leafy greens taste even better.
My backyard, as aforementioned, is just a small square of concrete. We’ve hung Christmas lights and added a picnic table, but what we really needed was some greenery to break up all the gray. Avalow’s unique metal bed with polished wood edges is elegant, modern, and perpetually looks new.
Expands My Diet
While Avalow allows me to select which crops I want in my garden each season, they also recommend a lot of plants, some of which I have never heard of let alone had experience with. They also offer recipes that include every part of your plants. Shall I try eating pea shoots? Carrot tops? Broccoli leaves and stems? Edible flowers? Why not.
Avalow is by far the easiest way to install and keep a beautiful garden. The onboarding process took me 15 minutes at most, and the team used a combination of satellite photos and solar intensity maps with onsite tweaking to identify the corner of my backyard which receives the most sunlight for year-round growing. They had everything planned out by the time they arrived at my San Francisco apartment for the first time.
I don’t spend as much time laboring in my garden as I used to, and I have undoubtedly better results (not to mention, it looks beautiful). Avalow is the perfect midway point between hiring gardeners and doing everything yourself. It’s your garden-- with a little help!