Monday, October 1, 2012

Spotlight Entrepreneur: Susan Cannella and Helen Denny of Gardening Gals

This month I am so pleased to introduce you to The Gardening Gals.  Meet Susan Cannella and Helen Denny, founders of the Charlotte-based raised bed gardening company.  Whether you're looking to have a little vegetative guidance or want the gals to jump in and get dirty- Susan and Helen are there for you! From rain barrels to compost and all the blooms in between the gals are there to walk you through the process.

How did the two of you decide it would be a good idea to go into business together?
Helen: Susan and I have been friends for almost 10 years.  About three years ago, the two of us worked together as camp counselors for a summer camp at our swim and racquet club.  We found that we really enjoyed working together and that we made a good team.
Susan Cannella

Helen Denny

Do you find the gardening industry to be a male-dominated field, and if so have you had to overcome any obstacles?
Susan: We primarily build raised bed gardens, and deal mostly with men as far as purchasing materials such as lumber through a building supply company and soil through a landscaping company.  On the other hand, our customers have been mainly women from whom we have gotten a lot of positive feedback for owning our own business and offering the service that we do.  We do come across the occasion quizzical look from a customer after having explained that WE would be the ones building the bed and filling it with soil.  I suppose they have a moment of disbelief that two women would be doing the labor.  

With Fall approaching, what are some things that we should think about doing in our gardens? 
Helen: Some plants might still be producing.  I am still getting tomatoes, peppers and egg plant.  I will freeze most of tomatoes I harvest at this point by blanching them in boiling water just until the skin starts to split and peel away. Once they reach that point, remove from the water, let cool, then peel.  The skin will slip right off.  I freeze the tomatoes in zipper lock freezer bags and use them in recipes throughout the year.

If your plants have finished producing, now is a great time to clean up the summer garden by pulling up the old vegetation, work organic plant food into the soil, and plant fall vegetables.  Spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage are just a few vegetables that can be planted at this time.
Home Page Bed

You don't have to have a green thumb to have a great garden...
I love to garden with my kids, what are some tips you could provide on getting children excited about gardening?
Susan: Most children love the idea of helping with a garden, and they can participate and just about every aspect of tending to a home garden.  The more involved they are, the more rewarding the experience will be and the more dedicated they will be.  Let your child choose some of the types of plants you plan to grow.  Let the garden be a science experiment.  Plant some items by seed and some by plant and make observations.  Children love to water but should have some guidance.  I find my own children are sometimes too eager to pick vegetables.  Remind them to harvest the vegetables when they are truly ripe.

What advice would you give to a friend who was thinking about starting her own business?
Helen: I would certainly encourage anyone to start a business.  In our case, we turned a hobby into a small business where we can make a little money, but more importantly have fun! We truly love working together and helping our customers.  I would encourage any friend to stick with an area of business that they feel passionate about.  Keeping an open mind and knowing that your business might change or offer different services over time is also important. 

Thinking about sprucing up your yard and investing in a raised bed garden? Give the Gals a shout!  

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Gardening Gals, LLC