We’re pleased to have our colleague, Jenny Gomez, join us as a guest blogger to share her passion and tips with us on gardening as a way to bring families together in this time of social distancing. Jenny is part of Cisco’s Global Customer Advocacy organization. Outside work, she’s developed quite the green thumb and has even shared the fruits (literally!) of her labor with lucky coworkers. I received a surprise shipment of star fruit from Jenny this past December and the delightful little tropical treats, in the shape of stars after I sliced them, were a burst of fresh Florida sunshine that Jenny picked from a tree in her back yard. The best part is, you don’t need acres of land or years of experience. Start with a packet of seeds, an empty egg carton, a sunny window, some water, and most importantly, lots of love. Take it away, Jenny!


Photo of containers for garden seeds.
Starting seeds from scratch.

In these unprecedented times with the coronavirus, the way we see the world is changing. Feeling helpless right now is understandable. Yet, many of us want to project calm as a way to reassure our families, our children, and yes, ourselves.

One way I manage stress is by going outside to work in my garden. Before I started a few years ago, I had a green manicured lawn and knew nothing about growing fruits and veggies. Now, I’ve created an oasis of peace, an organic garden that has reduced my carbon footprint and saves me trips to the market to buy greens. After my initial expense to get started, my garden has more than paid for itself.

Starting a small garden can be one way to help you and your family feel like you have some control when news reports overwhelm us—while providing a relaxing and fun way to spend time together.

Green therapy

It’s easier than you think to get a garden paying you dividends. Sound like something you’d like to try? Great! Let’s get started.


  1. Contrary to what you may think, you don’t need a lot of land to start. Do you have a patio with planters? A sunny windowsill? What about seeds of any kind? Even celery root, a tomato, a strawberry, or the lower part of a green onion will work. You can start new plants from any of these items!
  2. Next, you’ll need a few pots for your seeds and dirt. The next time you have an empty yogurt container or egg carton, don’t throw it out. These make excellent seed containers.
  3. Now, get your family together and develop a plan. YouTube tutorials can show you what grows fast and can be harvested in weeks. Here’s one that shares the 9 fastest-growing veggies, with some reaching maturity in as little as 14 days.
  4. Order your seeds online. Large retailers may be out of toilet paper at this time, but they have plenty of seeds, plants, and potting soil! Check out these seed retailers here, here, and here.
Photo of lamb's ear plant.
Lamb’s ear plant.


If you’d rather try your hand at growing flowers, giant milkweed is an easy plant to start. Bonus: Milkweed attracts caterpillars and is an important food source for them. And, who doesn’t want to see more butterflies?

As a last resort, if you run out of toilet paper you can always grow your own soft lamb’s ears.

Happy planting!




Guest Blogger: Jenny Gomez, Marketing Manager

Jenny Gomez is part of Cisco’s Global Customer Advocacy organization, leading third-party peer review and customer insights programs across the enterprise. Jenny works with multiple vendors and architectures to develop and manage a strategic approach and consistent customer experience for these important peer review programs. Jenny joined Cisco in 2011 to support Cisco’s entry into the energy market. She later moved to Cisco’s Internet of Things team, before joining our Global Customer Advocacy organization. Jenny holds an MBA from New York University Stern School of Business and a BS in Electrical Engineering from New York Institute of Technology. She is fluent in Spanish.


Ann Kelly

Communications Manager

Global Advocacy