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  • Writer's pictureJeff Robbins

A Surfer’s Paradise “Revolution Landscape” – Cardiff Kook

April 20, 2012 by Michael Drentea

SAN DIEGO – I had a chance to catch up with Ari Tenenbaum of Revolution Landscape and find out what exactly is the “Revolution” all about? Revolution Landscape is one of San Diego’s leaders in edible and eco-friendly landscape design, installation, and ongoing organic maintenance. Their designs emulate natural systems that only grow stronger and more productive over time. With each project, Revolution strives to artfully and innovatively meet the needs of their clients, community, and environment.

Ari says, “The Revolution” as we see it has to do with managing our landscapes more like the natural resources that they are. Currently many landscapes contribute to environmental problems like wasteful water use and pollution from harmful pesticides and herbicides. About 55% of household water use is on the landscape”. Revolution Landscape imagines San Diego and the world where our landscapes become part of the solution and evolve from being sources of waste and pollution to thriving eco-systems that help heal our environments.

Revolution Landscape has been in business since summer of 2008 and is located primarily in Central San Diego County and currently services the communities of La Jolla, University City, and Solana Beach. Ari says,” We do sometimes venture out to other parts of the county to work on larger projects”. So your probably all wondering what makes San Diego the ideal place for an edible garden. An ideal mederterrian desert climate with coastal winds and deep inland valleys, to mountain and desert terrains, San Diego County has it all. Revolution Landscape can transform your yard into a surfer’s garden paradise per se, using many local plants customers can look forward to abundance and of fruits and vegetables including a wide variety of apple, citrus, stone fruit, fig, bananas, passion fruit, and guavas. Many local native plants as San Diego Sage, White Sage, Cleveland Sage, Coast Buckwheat, Red Flowering Buckwheat, Muhlenberg Deer Grass, Toyon Christmas Berry.

Surfers in my mind have pretty lean diets. Most surfers I know eat pretty healthy. Eating fruits and veggies or, nuts and berries is a great way to get the nutrition you need with natural ingredients while having the freedom of knowing exactly where it came from, your garden!

One thing I love that Revolution Landscape does is incorporate many innovative and creative ways to use and save water. Using recycled reclaimed water helps to make an edible self-sustainable garden. One way that Revolution Landscape helps save water is by using mulch with 2-4” of organic material like wood chips or compost and use drip irrigation. Ari says, “We are also doing some trials and experimenting with new weather control stations that adjust automatically based on current conditions, we won’t know for a few more months if those systems are effective for our needs.”

One thing is for sure…Revolution Landscape pushes the envelope for self-sustainable landscape design. Ari Tenenbaum a surfer and local La Jolla resident and graduate of the University of California Santa Cruz with a B.S. in Plant Science, Ari has always been environmentally aware of the ocean and how runoff from our land pollutes our oceans. Runoff comes from a variety of non-point sources. Much of the concern comes from oil and gas spilled on street. Revolution Landscape mitigates this issue by using only electric powered tools. The other major source for surface water contamination is pesticide and fertilizer runoff from homes and agriculture. Ari says, “Revolution Landscape only uses organic fertilizer that is not readily leached like common conventional fertilizers. We also try to reduce the amount of water that leaves a given site during storm events by creating rain gardens that allow rainwater to soak in and penetrate soil on the site”

Certain things need more heat that the coast has to offer. For veggies and annuals try out different varieties and see which work well for you. For fruit trees and other perennials consult your nursery for advice on which cultivars perform well on the coast. I always heard that nighttime is important to plant growth, but street light have not been demonstrated to have any significant effect because they do not put out a complete spectrum. Most plants only need red and blue light for photosynthesis to occur. Recently on CNBC there was a segment that showed a new produce company in the San Francisco area that only uses these lighting systems and only 1 full cup of water, which is and that’s all the plant needs to grow…Thus reducing water use and reducing the amount of electricity too! These potentially go out to markets all over the country as the highest end fruits and vegetables on the market right now. But Ari Tenenbaum has mixed feeling about indoor growing solutions and hydroponic dreams of solving world hunger. Hydroponic technologies have been around for a long time but have never seemed to gain real traction (at least not for residential consumers) because it takes careful monitoring and care to maintain proper nutrient levels. These options, in his opinion, should only be looked at when growing in the ground is not an option.

We all go grocery shopping, so I asked Ari, what makes a product certified organic as we see at the market? Can people achieve the same quality in their own home gardens? “Certified organic is nowhere close to our version of organic. “Organic” legislation has unfortunately been very watered down over the years and it’s unclear what exactly it does mean at this point”. I have a small patio myself where I do container growing. When a customer calls you, where do you start? Do you survey there yard? Is having home and yard required? Or do you also work with residents that live in apartments with small spaces? When customer calls we start with a brief phone conversation and then set up a preliminary site consultation to generate ideas and figure out next steps. For large projects we generally then move through a design phase to plan out the space. Following the design completion we provide full service construction services and ongoing maintenance. The growing season in San Diego is all year long and with larger projects customers can enjoy a fresh basket of fruits and vegetables from their own garden every week. It doesn’t happen usually but sometimes depending on weather and climate changes, some gardens may not have a good harvest thus not producing enough fruits and vegetables for a year. It rarely happens but it happens.

Ari Tenenbaum has one of the most rewarding jobs in San Diego. He says, “What I like most about my job are the clients and employees who I get to work with every day. They are all great, smart people, who care about our environment and want to make our communities better places to live”. Revolution Landscape is a licensed company and you can find Ari and team every Sunday at the La Jolla farmers market from 9am -1pm at La Jolla Elementary on Girard. You can also like them on Facebook to stay up to date on their projects and pick up great garden tips! Rencently Revolution Landscape was featured in “San Diego Magazine” also a segment with Fox 5 San Diego news reporter Heather Ford. They will also be featured in the pring edition of “Edible San Diego” and “Pacific San Diego“!

The Cardiff Kook is honored to have the opportunity to interview Ari Tenenbaum of “Revolution Landscape” we wish him and the Revolution Landscape team all the success in 2012 and beyond!

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