Water is costly. Too costly to just water you're landscaping and look at it.
What if, instead you could plant beautiful, attractive landscaping that could make you money?
That's the idea behind "harvestable landscaping."
The brainchild of Jim White Orchard Maintenance and
Ben Gill of California Protea Management
White is in citrus and Gill is in cut flowers,
which he buys from local growers and markets
all over the country.
"I know flowers," says Gill. "Jim knows the installation of irrigation,
farming and care of landscaping. We linked up together."
"I was talking at church to some friends and someone said he was spending $300.00 a
month to water the lawn," says White. "Being a farmer
I have a real problem putting water on something that
won't offset the cost of watering it."
With their combined expertise they can go look at someone's property
and say, "This would be the best for the site."
The idea is not to exactly duplicate crops at other locations.
"You don't want to plant all the same thing so you flood the market.
This is a custom endeavor from the get go," says Gill
There's a huge market for fruits, vegetables, flowers, foliages and wook products.
Any type of consumer market. This called niche marketing.
An example is berries. "Not many people are doing extensive things with berries,"
says White. "Yet there's a market for them. People are looking for retirement income,
where they can handle it for themselves or a few family members.
A lot of people out here growing citrus are really tired of growing citrus because there's no money in it."
A light went off in White's brain. "A thought stuck! So many new people are moving into
Valley Center from small lots. Suddenly they have two acres and they don't know what to do with it."
"If you're going to landscape anyway, why not plant something that has potential
of offset the costs, instead of a typical lawn," says Gill.
Crops that look good yet can be sold are endless, says Gill; some examples
are lilacs, grapples and some protea. For instance, there are 800 kinds of eucalyptus
Valley Center has a variety of "microclimates." Harvestable landscaping should be
tailored to the particular microclimate.
"What's exciting to me is that there's so many commodities out there that
Ben has the potential to market. He's been in the business for 30 years," says White.
White and Gill are flexible. " We offer management services or harvesting, or not.
We customize to what out want," says White.
They install drip irrigation systems, which save water and they also work with
polymers that release water slowly back into the soil. Gill points out that the
cut flower industry uses a third of the water per acre that citrus does.
"We're trying to mix true science with farmer's footprints."
"If they don't want to market it they still have the beauty of the landscape. But if you want to go into commercial fields, that's available," says White.
"If you're going to spend money on that kind of water anyway, why not have the option of
something that's marketable and aesthetically pleasing?"
They have already begun to install some harvestable landscapes.
They've planted a couple of acres of protea in Poway. They've installed lilacs and crabapples on a horse ranch on Lilac Meadows.
But each project will be different.
as seen in the Valley Center Roadrunner
If this idea appeals to you, call Jim White at 749-3093 or Ben Gill at 749-9559.