Nature Never Goes Out of Style – Transition into a Fall Cutting Garden

Seeing all of your hard work and tiny seedlings bloom into amazing plants full of color is the best part about gardening. It’s easy to bring the essence of the outdoors inside. All you need is a cutting garden.

Choose blooms that will make you happy, even if they don’t look particularly pleasing next to each other in the garden. This is your place to be creative and make amazing floral bouquets to brighten your indoor spaces.

Top Autumn Plants for Cutting Gardens

Autumn brings a change of color. This list shows off vibrant fall plants that will keep your bouquets fresh and on trend.

1. Goldenrod

This filler adds a bright pop of color to any arrangement. The mustard yellow flower can vary from short, packed blooms to long, spacious blooms. Goldenrods require minimal care and can grow almost anywhere.

2. Blue Mist Spirea

A reliable performer, blue mist spireas are the perfect addition to any fall cutting garden. Use individual stems or entire branches of this purple-blue flower. Blue mist spirea will grow about 2’ to 3’ tall and wide with 1” clusters of flowers.

3. Sunflower

Since sunflowers come in a variety of colors, keep autumn tones in mind. Seeds are easily germinated and will bloom within 60 days after germination. Pollen-free sunflowers are best for bouquets.

Where to Start:

1. Choose Your Site

Scope out an open, well-drained, sunny spot for your cutting plants. The size of the space depends on how many plants you want to grow. Don’t think you have space? Plant cutting flowers between your vegetables rows. Or add them to containers on your patio or balcony!

2. Plan Your Plants

Check plant tags to see if your site meets the requirements for sun exposure and growing conditions. Be sure to keep the layout of the garden in mind. Leave spaces between the rows to make cutting and collecting easier. Plants that are the same height work better together— for you and the plant.

3. Prepare the Ground

Make sure your soil is clear of any debris and weeds – you don’t want your flowers competing with anything else. Work in several scoops of Espoma’s Bio-Tone Starter Plus in to the soil, to give your plants a good head start.

4. Planting Your Garden

Planting with seeds or seedlings are both great options for this garden. They are planted an inch into loose soil. Fertilize regularly with Espoma’s Liquid Bloom! Plant Food for the best results. Make sure to water flowers at least weekly.

As your plants start to bloom, keep cutting. The more you cut the more flowers you will get! It’s as easy as that.

Looking for more inspiration? Learn how to plant this easy fall flower container with Laura from Garden Answer.

Don’t Stop Believing – Your Garden Reinvented!

So you just finished harvesting all of your crops, you have tomatoes in every drawer in your kitchen and your garden is cut back. What now?

With enough time left before the first frost, you can still get another crop in the ground.

Whether you are a planner or a fly by the seat of your pants kind of gardener, succession planting is something to try.

What is Succession Planting?

Succession planting is a way of planting that maximizes your harvest. You plant one vegetable right as another finishes. There are a few ways to do this:

  1. Harvest Crop – Using the same plot for another set of vegetables after harvest. When a crop is finished, plant another, with a shorter maturity date, in its place. Leafy greens, followed by potatoes, are a great example of harvesting and replanting.
  2. Companion Crop – Plant two or more crops with varying maturity dates around each other. After the first crop is harvested, your garden will continue flourishing. Radishes next to cucumbers are great companions. Radishes will be harvested before the cucumbers start to produce too much shade.
  3. Staggered Crop – Plant the same crop every few weeks in order to not be bombarded by the entire crop at once. Tomatoes and peas are crops you’d want in small batches through the whole season.
  4. Same Crop – Plant the same crop with different maturity dates. Seed packets will display the days to maturity on the packets. Broccoli is an example crop with various maturity dates.

Now you know what succession planting is, here are a few steps to send you in the right direction.

5 Tips for Succession Planting

  1. Plan Accordingly – Growing based on maturity can be a little tricky if you aren’t planning for your region. Make sure to check the seed packet or plant tag to find out how long the plant will take to mature and what temperature it will grow best in. Make sure you have enough seeds to keep you going through the season.
  2. Plant Transplants – Speed up the growing process by starting seeds This will allow you to harvest and quickly plant to keep your garden at optimum level all the way up to those winter months. Or, purchase plants as seedlings from your local garden center.
  3. Feed Regularly – Add Espoma’s Garden Tone to the soil between plantings to keep the soil rich and crops thriving.
  4. Don’t Hesitate – As you see plants starting to reduce or cease harvest, don’t hesitate to pull them to make room for a new crop.
  5. Rotate Crops – Try not to plant the same vegetable in the same spot year after year. This causes the soil to lose essential nutrients and increases the likelihood for diseases to develop. Rotate crops every three years.

Succession planting can ensure your garden is in working production all season long. Learn what veggies it’s not too late to plant.

Stop and smell the roses… Right outside your door!

Do you love roses but are stuck with limited space? Is your rose collection growing faster than your raised beds?

Container roses are a great solution for gardeners short on space or those who want the freedom to move their roses around. They give you the option of having roses wherever you want them.

So whether you are trying to cover up some unsightly spot or wanting sweet-smelling roses near your front door, we’re here to help you figure out the best roses for you.

Depending on the size and structure of your container, most roses won’t be a problem. Just be sure the container can hold the roots and soil needed for your roses. Be sure to choose roses recommended for your USDA Hardiness Zone.

Best Types of Roses for Containers

Miniature Roses – Don’t let the name fool you — these roses may be small in bloom size but still produce radiant color. Miniature refers to the size of the bloom, not the size of the bush. Typically they grow between 12”-18”, depending on growing conditions. These roses also love to hangout in window boxes. Choose a container that is at least 10” deep.

Small Roses – These low-growing roses help show off gorgeous containers. Small roses usually reach up to 2’. The variety of small roses is expansive and offer different styles, colors and smells to keep your garden rocking. Due to their small stature, they are perfect for the urban gardener — use these to spruce up your balcony or front stoop. Choose a container that is at least 12” deep.

Patio Roses – With big, colorful and robust blooms, you cannot go wrong with patio roses. They have a neat, bushy growth and regularly blooming rosette flowers. Choose a container that is at least 12” deep.

Floribundas – These one-of-a-kind hybrid roses have vibrant, colorful blooms that will dress up your yard. Grown in clusters, floribundas are wonderful to keep your guests in awe. They require a little more breathing room, so make sure to pick a larger container to keep them comfortable. Choose a container that is at least 15” deep.

6 Steps to Planting Your Rose Bush in a Container

  1. Select a container with drainage holes. The taller the containers the better since roses are deep-rooted.
  2. Fill container one third of the way with Espoma’s organic potting mix.
  3. Take the rose out of the pot and gently loosen its roots.
  4. Add 3 cups of Espoma’s Rose-tone to the soil and mix thoroughly.
  5. Place the rose in the soil no deeper than it was growing in the container. Planting depth should be such that the graft knuckle is just below the soil level. Add more potting mix to the container and level out soil.
  6. Water thoroughly.

 

Feel like you need more container plants? Learn what hydrangeas need to thrive in containers!

Petscape and Play This Summer

With summer weather comes plenty of great opportunities to play some fetch or take a walk through the park or on the beach. Fido wants to be right by your side all summer long. Dogs love all of these outdoor activities, but they also need you to look out for them. Keep pets safe this summer by taking an extra few minutes to pet-proof your yard and keep them cool on summer’s hottest days.

Here are 7 tips to have a Safe Paws summer with your pet.

  1. Swim Test. If your dog loves swimming, invest in a doggie life jacket. Even the best swimmers can get tired and this will make sure nothing happens to your furry friend as he jumps off the dock or chases a tennis ball on the beach.
  2. Go Organic. Your dog loves to play on the lawn, so keep paws safe by using Espoma’s organic lawn care Dogs whose owners applied chemical herbicides were 4.4 times more likely to develop bladder cancer.
  3. Create boundaries. Some pets always want to be by their parents’ sides. Others can’t wait to run out in the open. If your dog needs some boundaries, consider adding a fence or petscaping to make sure dogs play where they’re meant to.
  4. Use Sunscreen. Dogs can get sunburned, too. Use an organic dog-formulate sunscreen to keep the rays at bay. Short-haired dogs are especially susceptible to sunburns and skin cancer.
  5. Keep Cool. Brush your dog’s hair and keep it free of mats to provide good circulation and regulate body temperature.
  6. Beat the Heat. Always carry a water bottle with you for walks on hot days. Skip walking outdoors between 1 and 4 pm when heat and humidity can stress dogs the most.
  7. Keep it out of reach. Dogs love to grab charcoal briquettes from the grill. Keep these out of reach since they can cause vomiting and require surgery to remove.

Learn more about how to get a Safe Paws lawn here.

5 Ways to Give Your Summer Garden a Boost

There’s no better way to enjoy your garden than by encouraging it to grow bigger and better. Before your summer veggies and flowers peak, take your garden to the next-level by refueling it.

Knock-out these 5 essential tasks and your garden will thank you. You’ll extend your summer season and ensure that your lawn and garden are in tip-top shape.

 

5 Ways to Give Your Summer Garden a Boost

1. Hydrate. When it’s hot, dry and muggy, the best thing is a nice cold drink. Your plants need some H2O, too. The trick to keeping your garden hydrated during the hottest days is not to water more. It’s to water smarter. Water plants deeply in the morning so they have the entire day to soak it up.

Image courtesy of Garden Answer

2. Keep plants fed. Your summer veggies and flowers are hungry. Feed hanging baskets, container gardens and annuals with liquid Bloom! plant food every 2 to 4 weeks. Vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers are heavy feeders. Continue to feed every 2 weeks with organic fertilizers Tomato-tone or Garden-tone.

3. Prune and deadhead. Extend the life of perennials by deadheading flowers as soon as they are spent. This will encourage plants to keep blooming as long as weather permits. Your roses will thank you. Prune tomato suckers and shrubs now, for fuller plants later.

4. Mow lawns strategically. When mowing, keep the mower blades high (3” or higher) to encourage healthy roots. Cut grass in the evening to give it time to recover and keep yourself cool.

5. Plant more! There are many quickly maturing plants that will thrive in summer gardens and be ready for harvest in the fall. Try planting radishes, cucumbers, beans and more.

Sit back and relax! Take a good look at your hard work and dream about the rewards and bountiful harvests you’ll enjoy in the months to come.

If you’re looking to get a better tomato harvest this summer, be sure to check out our complete tomato guide!

How to Plant Hydrangeas

In the video below, Laura from Garden Answer demonstrates how to plant hydrangeas using Espoma’s Bio-tone Starter Plus and Holly-tone.

 

Click here for our hydrangea growing guide!

Espoma Holly-tone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on image to go to the product page.

 

Plant a path – The best Ground Covers

Easy-to-grow groundcovers aren’t just limited to grass. There are plenty of attractive solutions that suppress weeds and add interest to your yard.

Groundcovers that feature variegated leaves and bright blooms bring life to areas that might otherwise go unnoticed. Plus, most groundcovers use less water than typical lawns and don’t require mowing.

To get a groundcover started, dig planting holes twice the size of the plants’ roots, fill partially with compost, add the plant and then backfill with compost enhanced with Bio-tone Starter Plus. Water plants thoroughly after planting.

5 Ground Covers for Your Yard

1. Thyme

Choose this perennial herb to create an aromatic, green carpet. Creeping thyme will grow between the cracks and crevices of stone paths and the pink or white blooms are lovely. Plant in full sun. Thyme is hardy in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 4-10.

2. Creeping Juniper

This evergreen thrives in the heat. It does especially well in poor and sandy soils, drought and hot summers. Use it to fill in slopes, hills or rocky terrain. Plant in full sun. Creeping Juniper is hardy in Zones 3-10.

3. Sedum

One of the most dependable perennials you can grow, sedum quickly establishes in any sunny spot. Some sedums provide four seasons of interest, turning red in fall and winter. This low-maintenance, fast spreading plant will grow in even the poorest soil. Plant in full sun. Sedum is hardy in Zones 4-9.

4. Sweet Woodruff

Its star-shaped leaves and tiny white flowers make this shade-loving ground cover a favorite for many gardeners. True to its name, sweet woodruff will bring an earthy aroma to your yard. Plant in part to full shade. Sweet woodruff is hardy in Zones 4-8.

5. Pachysandra

Pachysandra is a great ground cover for areas where deer are a problem. Plus, it requires little care once it’s established. Be careful, though. While this ground cover is great for deterring deer, it can be poisonous to pets and children. Grow in shade and moist, well-drained soil. Pachysandra is hardy in Zones 4-8.

Looking for something with more blooms? Find out the top annuals to plant in containers.

Plant Perennials for Easy Curb Appeal

Summer is a great time to spruce things up, giving you the chance to make your home feel warm and welcoming.

If you want to add curb appeal or if your yard just seems a bit bare, plant perennials that will come back year after year. Look for them in many different colors, heights, and forms.

Before planting, evaluate your space for the amount of sun and shade it gets. Check to make sure the perennials you’re selecting will thrive in your space.

Here are our top six picks for the prettiest perennials.

The Best Perennials For Summer Curb Appeal:

1. Hydrangeas. There are endless options of these bright bloomers to choose from. Pick a spot where hydrangeas will get afternoon sun and be sure to water daily. For bright blue hydrangeas, you’ll need to perfect the soil’s pH level. Use Espoma’s Soil Acidifier for best results. Zones 4-9.

2. Black-eyed Susan. Black-eyed Susan blooms from midsummer to fall and always makes a strong comeback in spring. This vigorous bloomer is also a favorite of pollinators. These flowers grow best in full sun, but will tolerate partial sun as well. Zones 3-9.

3. Aster. The lovely pink or lavender blooms attract a wide range of late-season butterflies and beneficial insects. Position purple asters against a white picket fence or light colored background for a look that pops. Zone 4-8.

4. Daylillies. Daylilies are just as hardy as they are colorful. Blooming from early spring to late summer, these perennials make the perfect border or road-side addition. Since soil near roads and walkways tends to be in need of a boost, make sure to plant with Espoma’s liquid Start! plant food.

5. Hostas. Choose Hostas for their never-ending display of colorful summer foliage. You’ll find these perennials at your local garden center in a wide variety of colors, shapes and patterns. Plant under trees, near shrubs, or near your home. Hostas prefer shade, but some varieties do well in sun. Zones 3-9.

6. Sedum. One of the most dependable perennials you can grow, varieties of sedum will quickly establish themselves in any sunny spot. These creeping ground covers and low-maintenance plants will also attract pollinators. Zones 3-9.

Once you’ve chosen your perennials, all that’s left to do is plant. To get your best perennials yet, use Espoma’s new liquid Bloom! plant food.

Perk Up Summer Containers with Stunning Annuals

Give yards and patios a boost by adding containers full of summer flowers to your landscape. Revitalize your summer landscape by pulling together your yard with the addition of easy and inexpensive annuals.

Annuals instantly transform the look of a space from year to year or month to month. Choose from a variety of colors and forms that complement your exterior, your patio or even your pool area. The options are endless.

A good-looking container will set your yard apart from your neighbors. To start, choose your containers and make sure they have proper drainage holes. Check plant tags for the mature size and plan to plant accordingly.

5 Tips for Using Annuals in Containers this Summer:

  1. Add pebbles or rocks to the bottom of your container to keep dirt from escaping and use Espoma’s potting mix to keep plants healthy.
  2. Select annuals in a single color and variety repeat throughout containers in different parts of your yard. Try planting bright, purple petunias near your entrance or mailbox. Add more in containers on your front steps and finish with a pop of color in a hanging basket.
  3. Pair annuals with matching colors and like-forms. Plant purple geraniums with yellow daisies, or orange snapdragons with an edging of blueish lobelia.
  4. Stick with one color and choose an assortment of different annuals to create a monochromatic scheme.
  5. For best results, feed annuals in containers regularly with Espoma’s liquid Bloom! plant food.

Looking to expand your container garden? Learn how to plant fruits and veggies in containers.