Video: How to Grow Strawberries (Part 1) with Epic Gardening

Epic Gardening would like to bestow upon you the power to grow the most juicy and epic strawberries of all time. Pick up some Espoma Organic Berry-tone and watch to learn how it’s done!

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6 Vegetables to Sow During Early Spring

The weather is getting warmer, which means it’s time to start thinking about sowing spring veggies and planning ahead! Cool season crops can be directly sown into the ground as soon as the soil temperature is at or above 40˚F, but ensure you’re not working with wet or muddy soil since those are not favorable conditions for plant growth. Don’t forget to include Espoma Organic Garden-Tone to give your new vegetables the nutrients they need to grow big and delicious!

1. Spinach

Fresh baby spinach is not only delicious, but it’s also loaded with vitamins and minerals. This vegetable is versatile because you can eat it alone in a springtime salad or mix it into something like a smoothie! Now is a great time to sow spinach since it usually sprouts quickly and is somewhat frost-resistant in the face of unpredictable spring weather.

2. Swiss Chard

You may not be familiar with this beet relative, but it’s another amazing plant that is easy to grow from seed in the early springtime. You can eat chard raw or cooked and feel good knowing it contains 3 times the recommended daily intake of vitamin K and 44 percent of the recommended amount of vitamin A! Remember to harvest only the outer leaves during the spring and leave the inside for a later harvest.

3. Lettuce

Lettuce may seem simple, but did you know it actually comes in a variety of colors, species, shapes, and sizes? Gardeners love this plant lettuce because harvesting the baby greens is quick and easy — sometimes it can be ready after just 30 days! Lettuce is low in calories, fat, and sodium and is also a good source of fiber, iron, folate, and vitamin C. You can use your lettuce in a traditional salad, or spice things up by putting it in soup, making a wrap, or even grilling it.

4. Radishes

Radishes are the quickest vegetable to grow on this list if you truly want an early spring harvest. They’re also rich in antioxidants and minerals like calcium and potassium. Did you know these nutrients can help lower high blood pressure and reduce your risks for heart disease? You can put radishes in salads or even add them to stir fry or tacos.

5. Kale

Kale is the perfect vegetable if you want to produce a lot of food with little effort. It’s known as a “super food” for a reason — because cooked kale actually produces more iron than beef! It grows easily from a seed, so all you have to do is harvest the outer leaves for baby kale and let the rest of the foliage grow to full size. Kale, like spinach, is a great ingredient to add to your next salad or smoothie. Try a kale salad, or add it to a smoothie to make it healthier!

6. Peas

If you want to get your kids interested in gardening, the simplicity of planting peas is a great start. Fresh grown peas are a sweet and delicious side for any dish, or you can use them to make pea soup. They’re a good source of vitamins C and E, zinc, and other antioxidants that strengthen your immune system. You’ll want to read the seed packets closely to see if there are any specific growing directions and to get an idea of how tall this plant will grow. If you don’t want to do all the shelling regular peas require, you should opt for sugar snaps or snow peas.

 

It’s much easier than you may think to grow delicious and nutritious veggies in your own backyard. Plus, it’s fun and simple enough for the whole family to help! Which ones are you going to include in your early spring garden?

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How to Prepare Your Garden for the Winter Season

Winter is afoot! With the nights becoming chilly, now is the time to start thinking about what to do with your garden until springtime. Soon enough soil will freeze and many plants will stop growing or die. But there are steps you can take to preserve what you have! Read on to find out how to prepare your garden and save any vegetables you might’ve been growing.

 

 

 

1. Take care of your root crops

 

If you have root crops like carrots, beets, or turnips in your garden, you’re in luck! These require less maintenance because they are able to stay inside the ground after a frost. However, make sure you’re taking them out before the ground freezes over or they may die. Some root crops like parsnips even taste better when kept buried in near freezing weather for 2 to 4 weeks!

 

 

2. What to do with your leafy greens

 

If you’ve been following us for a while and took our advice in August to plant these leafy vegetables, you now get to reap the rewards! It’s time to harvest those sweet greens for some fresh homemade salads and dishes. If you’re willing to wait a little bit, veggies like kale and collards get sweeter with a little light frost. Cabbages and Swiss chard can handle the frost, if you want to harvest them all at once, but their outer covering may get a little damaged. Lettuces, however, cannot withstand the cold. Take them out before the frost hits.

 

 

3. Reduce irrigation

 

If you’re someone who has their sprinklers on overnight or all hours of the day, we have some good news! You can lower the use of sprinklers if you’re in a warmer weather and stop it altogether if you’re in a cooler weather. Now you can save your water usage and lower your water bill without compromising the quality of your lawn. Win-win!

 

 

4. Herbs for winter

 

Herbs may seem like very delicate plants that would be unlikely to survive winter, but that’s not true! Herbs like sage, thyme and chives are hardy perennials that will survive the harsh weather with no problem. Some other herbs like rosemary and basil need to be dug up and brought inside where they will happily continue to grow.

 

 

5. Preparing the soil for spring

 

Preparing your soil in advance will make your work much easier come spring. Adding things like compost, manure, bone meal, and kelp will add nutrients to your soil and keep it healthy until spring. You can start working on it right as spring comes instead of having to fill it up with nutrients and wait for them to get incorporated! Add a layer of organic mulch for extra protection from winter rains and keeping your enriched soil safe.

Winter doesn’t have to mean everything dies until the spring! Taking the proper precautions and using the right products can help keep your favorite herbs and veggies growing throughout the colder months. Get started on these steps while the weather is still mild — and if you haven’t already, make sure you’re also caring for your tools and keeping them safe from the icy cold.

5 Ways to Get Your Children Involved in Gardening

It’s never too early to teach your children about gardening! From learning about nature to developing patience, horticulture can benefit everyone, no matter their age. But it can be difficult to decide what your little gardener is capable of doing. We pulled together a list to help you get your whole family involved — just in time before the colder months take over.

1. Decorate flower pots

A great place to start is with potted plants. A benefit of this activity is that it works year-round — even when it’s too cold to be out in the garden. Let them express their creative side with a little acrylic paint on some clay pots. The acrylic will last long and hold up in harsh weather if you plan to keep them outside. With the upcoming holidays, you can encourage them to get festive with their designs and colors!

2. Grow some easy fall vegetables

Do your children know where the food they eat comes from? Use these last few months of warm weather to show them how their favorite veggies are grown. Fall plants like arugula, spinach, and kale can grow from a seed within a month! Your little one will be able to see for themselves how food makes its way to their plate, and they’ll feel super proud that their hard work helped it get there.

3. Plant future spring blooms

Ready to teach your little one about patience? Right now is the best time to plant spring perennials. Be sure to give your future flowers enough time to establish roots in warm enough soil before it gets too cold out. We recommend tulips and hyacinths since they actually need a period of cold weather in order to bloom later! Just don’t forget to help them along with some bulb-specific fertilizer. Your child will soon understand how hard work and patience pays off when your garden turns into a wonderland of flowers in the spring.

 

4. Carve pumpkins

It doesn’t feel like fall until you break out the pumpkins! But instead of carving them out as porch decorations, try to add a gardening twist this year. You can actually hollow them out and use them as biodegradable flower pots! This is a great time to teach your children about resourcefulness and composting. When you’re done with them, throw them into your fertilizer mix for your soil.

5. Let them decide

Gardening can be a very creative and personal hobby, so let your child have the freedom to explore and choose how they want the garden to look. Teach them what kinds of flowers and vegetables are able to grow at certain times of the year, but let them have the final say. It can also be helpful for you to have a second opinion when you get in your own habits. You’d be surprised to see how it turns out! 

The only thing that can make your gardening hobby better is to get your loved ones involved — no matter how young they are. And it’s never too late in the season for them to jump in and help out! All you need is some patience and quality products to help you along the way. Even in the midst of winter, there are plenty of indoor plants that they can learn from in the meantime. Before you know it, they’ll be counting down the days until they can get outside and start gardening once spring comes around!

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Meet the Team: Q&A with David Mountford

It’s time for another installment of our Q&A series with the wonderful folks who make Espoma such a great place to work! Up next is David Mountford, our Senior Logistic Manager. We’re so proud to say he’s been with us for 32 years and still going strong! Read on to find out the details of his backyard oasis and the gardening product he can’t live without.


Q: What’s your favorite part of your job?

A: The collaboration between ownership, management, salesforce, and plant. Everyone across the board communicates very well and has created an awesome culture.

Q: How are you approaching things differently now either at home and with work as a result of COVID-19?

A: I find myself working longer and harder as my computer is always on and easier to access. There are times after dinner that I will just walk by my laptop and check my email. I try to stay in the same routine as if I was waking up to travel to work.

Q: What about your personal life? Any new hobbies and/or habits helping to pass the time?

A: I live in South Jersey with my wife and two daughters, and we spend a lot of time gardening as a family.

Q: Tell us about your personal garden, yard or plants.

A: We have an inground swimming pool and spend a lot of family time there. Our yard is small, but we have utilized a lot of evergreens to create privacy and integrated a lot of perennials to add color. It’s kind of like our vacation oasis.

Q: What is your top gardening tip?

A: Tend to your plants. Make it a habit to walk the property to monitor any issues before they overtake the plant.

Q: What’s one Espoma product you couldn’t live without?

A: I recommend Bio-tone Starter Plus when installing. Using Bio-tone is like an insurance policy for your plants, ensuring that they grow healthy for years. I also feed all my containers with Espoma Bloom throughout the summer.

Q: What made you want to work at Espoma?

A: My father was a salesman for Espoma for 15 years. I was working retail in the garden industry and it was tough. I only had one day off and worked 60+ hours a week. As I started a family, I felt there would be a lot I would miss with my kids. Then the logistics person retired and I knew the company well enough to know there would be stability.

We’re so lucky to have David on our team, and we hope to keep him around for many more years to come. One thing’s for sure — Espoma wouldn’t be the company that it is today without the hard work of people like him! Stick around to learn more about some of our other wonderful team members soon.

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5 Veggies to Plant in August

Have you thought ahead to your fall harvest yet? August is prime time to plant delicious and nutritious vegetables that will come to life in the cooler months. And there’s nothing better than being able to spice up your home-cooked dishes using your very own garden — no need to run to the supermarket! Read on to find out which veggies you should be planting right now.

Lettuce

Did you know  lettuce cannot be frozen, dried, pickled, or canned? That’s why you have to eat it fresh! Luckily, planting it right now means you’ll be able to enjoy it in just a few months. A fall harvest is ideal as lettuce’s sturdiness prevents any frost from destroying it. These leafy greens are a good source of vitamin C, calcium, iron and copper — making it the perfect base for a healthy salad. Keep an eye out for the dark green leaves when harvesting as they’re even healthier than the light green ones. 

Spinach

Spinach is well known for its low calorie count and high levels of vitamin A, C, and iron — making it the perfect addition to that healthy salad. This veggie also gives you the highest turnover out of all the others. If collected in small quantities, you can keep harvesting them late until May! The best time to start planting them is now, at the tail end of summer.

Parsley

Ready for another healthy addition to that salad we’re working on? Parsley is a rich source of Vitamin K, C, and A, and minerals like magnesium, potassium, iron, and calcium. It’s no wonder this veggie has been used in dishes since ancient Rome! It’s also believed to have anti-tumor, anti-bacterial, and antifungal properties. Plant your parsley now to make sure you can reap all these benefits in the fall.

Carrots

If you’re planning on sowing some veggies that aren’t leafy greens, carrots should definitely be your first choice! As this vegetable grows into the fall season, the cool weather turns the starch to sugar, making them extra delicious. This sweet flavor makes them the perfect side or snack — sauteed, roasted, or even raw! Keep in mind that this plant does need a little extra care compared to some of the others on this list, so be sure to use vegetable food like Garden-tone to provide them with the energy they need to grow.

Beets

Last but not least, beets should definitely be on your August to-plant list. Did you know beets are edible from the tip of their green leaves to the bottom of their brown roots? They also help capture some hard-to-catch toxins and flush them out. These same antioxidants provide anti-inflammatory agents that provide a wide array of health benefits. Still not convinced? Since beet juice helps cleanse your liver, it’s thought that it can even help cure hangovers! If you want to make use of the entire plant and enjoy all these delicious benefits, make sure to sow the seeds now — about 8 weeks before the first frost.

Just because summer is winding down, doesn’t mean it’s time to pack up your gardening supplies. August is the perfect time to plant some of your favorite vegetables! Cooking primarily with these veggies straight from your garden will give you some of the freshest and tastiest dishes. So get your family together, head outside, and get planting!

Video: Planting Fall Crops for Harvest with Garden Answer

Fall crops already? That’s right! Join Garden Answer and get some great ideas for food crops in the upcoming season.

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Video: Tying up & Fertilizing Tomatoes with Bloom and Grow Radio!

Are your tomato plants growing out of control? Time to tie them up with Bloom and Grow Radio‘s Tying and Fertilizing Tomatoes video featuring Tomato-tone!

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Video: Tomato Planting Tutorial with Bloom and Grow Radio

A little vitamin boost from Bio-tone Plus before amending your soil is key when planting up a fresh tomato path. More great tips from Bloom and Grow Radio in the full video!

 

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