When Bella Collina put the call out for volunteers to help manage the newly built Bella Gardens, longtime member Don Echelberger stepped up to the plate. Don met with Chef Leonel to see what kinds of vegetables could be used in the kitchen and began taking horticulture classes at Saddleback college to further his learning.
Bella Collina's summer vegetable garden boasts Jalapenos, Carmen Peppers, Green Beans, Yellow Bell Peppers, Sweet Corn, Red Onions, Radishes, Cherry Tomatoes, Tomatoes, Tomatillos, Red Bell Peppers, Zucchini Squash, Garlic, Summer Squash, Cayenne Peppers, and Banana Peppers. What doesn't get used in the kitchen is usually set out in a basket for members to enjoy at home.
Strategy in Design:
As Don learned in his horticulture classes, there is a strategy to designing a good vegetable garden. Planting Marigolds near your tomatoes has shown to repel nematodes , slugs, tomato horn worms and other garden pests. Sunflowers provide dramatic and cheerful flair to Bella Collina's vegetable garden. They also serve a very practical purpose. Sunflowers attract pollinators, provide shade, act as a living trellis and can even assist in the cleaning of contaminated soil. Next time you're in the area, stop by Bella Gardens and say hi to Don: You might be able to pick up a few pointers for your vegetable garden at home!