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!

Featured Products:

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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.

Featured Products:

Bio-tone Starter Plus  Bloom!

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.

Featured Products

Garden-tone
Bio-tone Starter Plus
Land & Sea Gourmet Compost

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!

Products Featured

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Meet the Team: Q&A with Dave Jackson

We’re thrilled to jump back into our Q&A series where we highlight the talented folks who are working hard behind the scene to make Espoma so great. Today we’re shining the spotlight on Dave Jackson, Vice President of National Accounts! We’ve been lucky enough to have him with us for just over three years now during which he’s continually impressed his colleagues and customers alike.

Let’s learn a bit more about Dave’s day-to-day life and his favorite Espoma products! Keep reading to find out his secret is for the ultimate curb appeal.

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

A. My favorite part of my job is presenting new products and merchandising ideas to customers and helping them grow their business.

Q. How has COVID-19 affected your day-to-day?

A. Interacting face-to-face with customers has been replaced with virtual meetings and digital presentations. I miss the customer interaction and store visits.

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

A. It has been nice to spend more time with my kids who are taking classes from home. They can’t escape!

Q. What are you most looking forward to when the world gets back to normal?

A. I look forward to visiting my parents and family and getting to a few favorite restaurants.

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

A. I maintain my own lawn and landscaping, including a rock garden and a few containers on the patio.

Q. What is your top gardening tip?

A. Make sure you get your kids to help when it’s time to do the mulching!

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

A. I’m amazed by how well my flowers look soon after using Bloom! Liquid Plant Food. It’s quick and easy.

Q. What do you enjoy most about caring for your gardens?

A. I enjoy trying different containers of annuals, perennials, and herbs. I also enjoy watching one of my kids mow the backyard!

Q. What made you want to enter the gardening industry?

A. I started my career with a seed company and haven’t left the industry since. It’s a great group of people!

Q. What made you want to work at Espoma?

A. I’ve always admired Espoma’s great products and packaging and jumped at the opportunity to join the team.

As always, we’re proud to have such loyal, hard-working employees that keep our company running. Stay tuned to learn more about the great folks behind the brand at Espoma.

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Meet the Team: Q&A with Bonnie Satterthwaite

Here at Espoma, our products are only as great as the team behind them. That’s why we’re excited to begin our Q&A series where you’ll get to learn a bit more about the talented folks behind the brand. We want you to see for yourself just how our company is comprised of hard-working people who genuinely care about our customers and everything plant- and garden-related!

First up is our Southeast Territory Sales Manager, Bonnie Satterthwaite. Bonnie has been with us for 14 years! We’d love to tell you about all her and the amazing things she has done for Espoma over the years, but we figured it would be best to hear it straight from the source. So, we sat down with Bonnie and let her put it in her own words.

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

A: Developing relationships and often becoming friends with our customers. And, of course, the opportunity to visit all of the fabulous garden centers in my area.

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

A: I purchased a rowing machine, but have yet to leave the dock…

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

A: I truly love gardening, and I know that passion resonates with my dealers. I maintain a floral cutting garden, a white/night garden, over 150 hydrangeas, and a hydrangea graveyard.

Q: What is your top gardening tip? 

A: Never think you are finally finished and get rid of non-performers!

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

A: Without hesitation, BioTone Starter Plus. I do not plant without it. I have seen what it does for plants and transplants. I have seen unsolicited “with and without” trials by garden centers who use the “trust and verify” model. It is an amazing product. I am proud to recommend all of the Espoma line, because of our dedication to quality, the environment, and the safety of children and pets.

Q: What is your favorite aspect of gardening?

A: My favorite aspect is certainly the seasonal outdoor garden beds — just tending the garden beds and the joy of watching things flourish. There comes, for me, great satisfaction from the hard work — and I find the whole process relaxing.  I love a morning and late evening stroll around the garden.

Q: What made you want to enter the gardening industry? 

A: I was a stay-at-home mom and my sister was a grower for a local garden center. She asked me to come and help her plant 10,000 geraniums during school hours. The owner of both the growing operation and garden center told me I talked too much to be in the greenhouse and asked if I would come to his garden shop during the busy season and talk to customers. And there you go….

Q: Tell us what made you want to work at Espoma and what makes it a special place to work?

A: I met Jeremy Brunner on a garden center bus tour and, unbeknownst to me, my Espoma adventure was about to start. I was very happy at my previous job, but Jeremy’s passion and vision for the growth of the Espoma company was something that was missing from my previous job. I wanted to be a part of something that I could see and feel was going to be spectacular. Espoma cares just as deeply for their work family as they do for their products. So, for me, there was just no question on where I wanted to continue my career.

We were so fortunate to have Bonnie join us when she did — and we hope to keep her around for as long as possible! At Espoma, we definitely pride ourselves on being able to congregate hard-working employees who genuinely enjoy the gardening industry the same way our loyal customers do. Thanks for all you do, Bonnie!

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5 Reasons to Start a Cutting Garden

Summer weather brings with it new planting projects. If you love having a fresh bouquet of flowers to keep you happy and refreshed while you’re spending more time than usual indoors, it may be time to start your own cutting garden. And the best part about it is that it’s completely customizable to what you like. You can grow roses, shrubs, perennials, and even bulbs. Try growing berry bushes to add an accent to your next bouquet!

If you’ve always thought growing your own flowers isn’t worth the hassle, take a look at these five reasons for why you should definitely reconsider. And don’t forget to stop by your local garden center to find out which plants will work best in your yard.

1. So many blooms

If you love to spend all day staring at your vase of flowers every time there’s a special occasion, you’re going to love having a cutting garden. When all the flowers are in your backyard, you get to enjoy them inside and outside! Plus, there’s no more waiting around for special occasions. When you use Espoma’s Bio-Starter Plus, your flowers will be ready to be freshly picked every week.

2. Health benefits

Gardening really can be a great workout. All the same, it can be incredibly relaxing and meditative. Take a moment to get some fresh air, move around by digging and planting, and reap the benefits later (physical wellbeing and fresh flowers)!

3. Unlimited bouquets

Who says you have to stop at one bouquet a week? Fill your entire home with color-coated bunches of fresh flowers! Once your garden is fully bloomed, you no longer have to run to the store or tip for delivery.

4. Quality bonding time

There’s no better way to teach the kids how to care for living things and to connect with nature — all while spending quality time together. Even if you don’t have room in your yard, taking a family trip to a community garden can also help expand your circle of friends!

5. Curb appeal

If you do have room in your own yard, your cutting garden will instantly boost your curb appeal! Your home will not only be filled with beautiful flowers but will be surrounded by them too. Proper maintenance with Espoma’s liquid Bloom! will help keep your neighbors green with envy and your plants nice and bright.

Are you convinced yet? As you can see, there are numerous benefits to starting your own cutting garden, and very few cons! Who wouldn’t want unlimited access to fresh flowers? Even when you have to roll up your sleeves and put in the work, you’re still getting a great workout and great payoff. Find your nearest garden center and get started today.

Top Picks for Growing A Cutting Garden:

Use These Garden Staples to Avoid Being Bugged at Your Next Barbecue

With Memorial Day in the rearview, summer is officially here once again — and while we wish that meant nothing but sunshine and barbecues, bugs seem to always make an appearance this time of year. But did you know there are ways to avoid getting bitten and bugged every time you want to relax outside?

The fragrance of certain plants can actually block the receptors insects use to find us. It’s just another great reason to get a garden going in your backyard, around your patio, or anywhere you like to enjoy fresh air. All you really need to sustain these helpful plants is some good starter fertilizer like Espoma’s organic Bio-tone Starter Plus and to make sure they’re fed every two to four weeks with Grow! to ensure they get the proper nutrients.

So, if you’re getting some unwanted guests during those summer cookouts, try planting some of these simple staples.

Lemon Grass

Did you know many mosquito repelling candles and sprays are made from citronella oil? Lemon grass naturally produces this ingredient and doubles as a beautiful grassy plant for walkways and around tables. Alternatively, you can plant it in its own pot and use it wherever your local mosquitos tend to congregate.

Other Lemon-Scented Plants

Similar to lemongrass, other plants that give off a strong citrus fragrance — like lemon-scent geraniums, lemon thyme, and lemon balm — work well to repel bugs. These plants use their fresh scent to keep their leaves from being eaten — and in turn can help you keep from being bitten.

Lavender

Despite lavender’s sweet smell being quite popular among people, most insects hate it. Keeping this plant near seating areas will help ward away mosquitos and other pesky flies. A great thing about this plant is that you can use it fresh or dried to get the job done — or even just use the extracted oil. This way you have different options on how you want to decorate while still keeping the pests at bay.

Rosemary

Rosemary is a great addition to your cookout. Throw a few sprigs on the grill as you’re cooking to release its fragrance into the air. It’ll smell wonderful to you and your family but make the bugs fly in the other direction.

Basil

Basil is another herb that will keep the mosquitos away. It’s also toxic to mosquito larvae, so placing this plant near water can help discourage mosquitoes from laying eggs.

Mint

Mint’s fragrance is great at repelling pests like ants, mosquitoes, and even mice. It’s also always a nice addition to any dish, so incorporating it into your barbecue can be beneficial in more ways than one.

Garlic

If cabbage moths are just as pesky as mosquitoes in your backyard, garlic can be your saving grace. When crushed, the garlic bulbs release allicin — an enzyme that produces that classic garlic smell. Your local pests will definitely not enjoy your garlic breath, so go ahead and use it up all weekend long.

Any and all of these plants can be used purely to keep the bugs away, but they’re also beautiful decor for your outdoor area. Be sure to keep up with them all season long in order to reap the benefits whenever your cookouts come around.

Here are some of our other blogs we thought you might enjoy.

BUG OFF – Plants That Repel Mosquitoes

Perk Up Summer Containers with Stunning Annuals

Growing Scrumptious Tomatoes in Easy Containers

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Grow!