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I named my company Cabbage Hill Fertilizer Co. after my pastoral hometown of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. At the turn of the last last century, European immigrant families like mine cooked cabbage often enough they named the steep slopes of this Lancaster downtown neighborhood Cabbage Hill. What better representation for a rowdy fertilizer company than an inexpensive, nutritious, long-lasting veggie that can handle a boiling and a pickling?

Our labels don’t look like traditional fertilizer labels! The graphic art represents a shift in the future of gardening and agriculture. Our black cat reflects Cabbage Hill’s independence from the norm and the even rebellious nature of my commitment to organic advocacy.

lab-tested • personally field-tested • community tested

We offer multiple formulas, made from plant-based agriculture by-products like soy, corn and neem, seaweed and kelp, alfalfa, and minerals like rock phosphate and sulfate potash and langbeinite. Plus humic and fulvic acid for healthy soils and mycorrhizae.

I want people to experience popping a cherry tomato or sugar snap pea off the vine and into their mouth. Organic should reflect how you want to interact with nature and with your food. And this is the beauty of a home garden. You can grow as you want to.

It’s the most hyper-local your food can get, which is also political. You see, decentralizing food production and empowering communities to feed themselves? That’s food sovereignty at its best. The ability to grow healthy food, that self-reliance, it only goes as far as you have access to accurate information. When the truth is hidden behind profit, we can’t have autonomy. Which to me is at the heart of home gardening.

So I designed my own garden fertilizer. A fertilizer I could feel good about. A fertilizer I could happily relate the ingredients of. A fertilizer from organic plant- and mineral-based inputs, that does not include any animal-byproducts.

At first this was a nice option for my vegan and vegetarian clients, but over time I realized we all deserve a safe garden fertilizer that embraces real organic standards. No one wants the detritus of animal-suffering and their unregulated inputs in their gardens. This is the beauty of creating functioning ecosystems at your home or community. You can do it your way.

Even if your garden is a basil plant on a balcony or a window of houseplants, you deserve a cruelty-free plant food. I believe anyone can have a garden and a garden can be anywhere. Just start where you are.

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“I recommend Erin 100%, without hesitation. She is professional, on-the-spot, and works tirelessly.”

“Owner Erin Riley is a visionary with a green thumb. She’s a joy to work with, creative, and talented.”

Read all reviews on yelp >

“Erin is extraordinary. She is a truly talented urban farmer. Wonderful woman, amazing gardener.”

About the Founder

photo of Erin Riley

I’m a Los Angeles-based landscaper specializing in organic vegetable gardens and native, drought-tolerant landscapes.

Education and transparency is a big part of my work. While I understand that experience and education has given me expertise in the area of gardening, I don’t want what I do to be a mystery or held up above other people’s understanding. Feeding ourselves properly and creating beautiful, healthful environments is everyone’s right.

I started out in film and spent many years in various areas of the independent film community. After having children, I wanted to dedicate more time to them while they were young and needed me. Eight years later I got divorced and quickly needed a new game plan and a source of income. Hoping not to lose my identity completely and wanting to still shape my work time around my kids, I decided to pursue my passion and I’ve been very fortunate that I can make a living and accomplish those goals!

When I first thought about starting my business, I was visiting some friends who had just planted a vegetable garden in their backyard. I was astonished and rabidly jealous that they had done this, as were other people who were there. We all couldn’t imagine where to start, how’d they know what to plant and when and how? I was at the same time equally astonished that I was a grown adult and didn’t have the first clue how to vegetable garden.

I had always been a gardener. A hobbyist. But vegetable gardening. That sounded like a challenge. If we were all standing around scratching our heads, jaws on the ground, desiring our own gardens…well, I thought we can’t be the only ones. And a lightbulb went on over my head. I would teach people how to set up vegetable gardens. Organic ones of course.

But first I had to teach myself. I read lots of books and spent long nights on the ever helpful internet. I built a raised bed in my yard and my friend’s yard and another friend’s yard. That same group of friends and I did lots of brainstorming and I did the very tedious job of writing a mission statement. My company was self-funded and self-taught and continues to run that way. There’s always something to learn and so there’s always something to teach. I thought back to days when gardens were patriotic. Victory Gardens! We put our own little twist on that and went with Hope Gardens. (Obama was running for election at the time and “hope” was in the air!)

A couple years after starting the veggie garden business I ripped out my front yard and filled my yard with natives and found myself surrounded by lovely scents and scads of hummingbirds. I started installing drought-tolerant landscaping as another side of my business.

I have to say for the first 3 years I thought about quitting all the time. I loved gardening and loved working with clients but paid work was few and far between. I was supposed to be the breadwinner but I had little bread to show for it. In fact, I was in debt! No lie, I was no business woman. I knew absolutely nada about running any kind of business and the learning curve was sharp and I was ashamed of the mistakes I made. But at the beginning of that 4th year there was finally a shift. I had a high-profile Hollywood client who recommended me to several friends who recommended me to several friends and then, I could honestly say, I was in business. Several new clients, a new Yelp page and a commitment to faithfully sharing on social media, and I never looked back.

Now that my business had grown, I still am challenged by the business side. Being the boss, dealing with customer service, billing, taxes…that’s not exactly my cup of tea. But I’m in charge of every aspect of this train so I have to be the engineer, the conductor, the bartender and the luggage girl. And I’m grateful. Beyond grateful.

My business’s mission means the world to me. This is bigger than me. One of the most rewarding parts has been donating food harvests to food bank families. Some of our clients have large gardens and when they have bumper crops they allow us to share their bounty.

I don’t know if there is anything much more important than feeding each other. We all play a part…designing thoughtful gardens, maintaining them in a responsible manner, harvesting the garden in a timely fashion, and most importantly, sharing and enjoying the bounty! Thank you for being a part of it and visiting us today.