Video: Garden Answer’s Two New Perennials for 2023: Heliopsis & Agastache!

Who else is excited two see Garden Answer’s two beautiful new perennials in the ground? Follow along and see how a bit of Espoma Organic Land & Sea Gourmet Compost gets the soil just right prior to planting.

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VIDEO: Planting Bush Clematis, Ornamental Oregano and a Bloomerang Lilac Tree!

Espoma Organic Land & Sea Compost and Bio-tone Starter Plus will help ensure these different perennials and lilac trees establish fast and live long and happy lives. Join Garden Answer and see how it’s done!

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Why Gardening Should Always be a Team Effort

people gardening together

Spring is here, and there’s no better way to celebrate the new season than by getting outside and gardening. Even better, why not garden with your friends, families, and community members? It’s the perfect way to help our planet while also connecting with the people closest in your life. Don’t believe it? Here’s why gardening with other people should be at the top of your to-do list this spring.

Woman and child in garden

1. It benefits your health.

Verywell Family says that gardening is a moderately intense form of exercise. It’s a great way to burn some calories without feeling like you’ve just run a marathon. This also means it’s a fun way to get your family physically active as well. The website states that, “Kids ages three to five need to get three hours of physical activity each day, and older kids need a minimum of an hour daily.” You and your family can bond over planting onions, corn, potatoes, you name it! As a bonus, Espoma’s Garden-tone Natural & Organic Fertilizer will have your family fawning over your healthy crops all season long.

basket of carrots

2. It benefits the environment.

It goes without saying that when you plant a garden, you’re significantly doing good for the environment. Greenmatters claims that gardening improves air quality, protects soil, lessens global warming, minimizes landfills, and saves different kinds of wildlife. These might seem like daunting tasks, but it’s really easier than you think. Verywell Family suggests that when gardening with your family, “You might invest in a rain barrel and start a compost pile to make your garden more Earth-friendly, too.” 

Gardens for kids are an easy, engaging way to learn more about sustainability and its importance for our planet. And even for those who aren’t children, you’re never too late to learn something new. Gardening can teach your friends, family, and fellow neighbors about all the green benefits of growing plants and crops.

child taking picture of a flower

3. It’s just plain fun.

Whoever you plant your garden with, you go on a journey together to grow something entirely new. 

Harddy explains that Watching the plants start to grow is an incredible achievement. When the planting is done together as a family, it makes the entire process even more meaningful from start to finish.” 

This rewarding process is a bonding experience that can strengthen your relationship with your family and local community. There’s also tons of ways to spice up your garden to make it a fun time for everyone involved. 

Playful Acre thinks that adding themes to your garden can make your children more engaged and interested in helping out. The blog tells us that having garden bed ideas spanning from “fairy tales to stories to favorite vacations abroad” can make your time outside all the more fulfilling.

Once your luscious garden is complete, the fun does not end there. There’s lots of ways afterwards to enhance the beauty of all your hard work.

Harddy recommends to “Use this time to come up with some beautiful decor you and your children can make together. Buy some terra cotta pots and have everyone paint one in their own unique designs. You can also clip the flowers you’ve grown to make gorgeous decorative arrangements for the dinner table.”

Flower arrangements

No matter who you garden with, whether your family, friends, or other local green thumbs, social gardening is your answer to springtime fun. Just as importantly, there are health benefits to gardening that keeps you and your close circle physically active on a daily basis. And of course, we need to upkeep our planet to make it a safe, beautiful place for everyone, and gardening helps us accomplish exactly that.

We can’t wait to see you and your squad planting seeds and growing meaningful relationships. Check out all our products ranging from fertilizers, to soils, and everything in between to make your next planting party a success. Happy gardening!

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Video: Planting Spring Shrubs!

Follow along with Laura from @gardenanswer as she plants her very first shrubs of the season with the help of Espoma.

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Video: Planting Moss Containers for Spring

Take a look at how Laura from @GardenAnswer plants spring moss containers with the help of Espoma! 

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Video: Moving Roses and Planting Boxwoods with Garden Answer

It’s time for a little garden rearranging at the @Garden Answer household. Follow along to find out which Espoma products help get the job done!

 

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Seed Starter Tips for a Successful Spring Harvest

With the arrival of spring just around the corner, it’s time to learn how you can properly prepare your seeds for the best outcome possible! Seed starting is most commonly used by flower and vegetable farmers to get the best variety of plants while saving time and money. By allowing the seeds to germinate inside before transferring them to your outside garden, there is a greater chance of a successful outcome. Read more to learn how to get started!

Photo via @rebeccamaterasso on Instagram

1. Read the Packet

Seed starting allows you to get a head start on your warm weather gardening. When you purchase your desired seeds, the packet will instruct you when you can start your plants indoors and when you must move them outside. If you’re still unsure about specifics, you can double check with Epic Gardening’s guide to seed starting methods. Make sure to only start a project that is achievable within your space!

Photo via @jazzybutterflygarden on Instagram

2. Gather Your Supplies

You can develop a seed starter in any type of container that has drainage (some people even use egg shells!), but there are also kits that can be purchased to help you start. Once you have your seed starter tray, you’re going to need soil. We recommend our Organic Seed Starter Potting Mix.

Photo via @jeradtb on Instagram

3. Plant Your Seeds

Once the starter soil is in the container, the seeds will be pressed down into the soil or placed on top to be able to germinate (the seed packet should indicate how far under the soil the seed needs to be placed). You want to make sure that your seeds aren’t too compact in the tray, so be sure to add Vermiculite to help with loosening heavy soil for better root growth. If you’re a visual learner, check out this step-by-step video!

Photo via @sowinginsuburbia on Instagram

4. Label Your Seeds

You want to make sure that all of the seeds get labeled during the starter process so that you can identify them when it’s time to move them outside. Once the plants develop, it can be difficult to tell them apart while you transfer them. When you’re ready to move them, be sure to add our Bio-tone Starter Plus to the soil to help your new plants stay strong during the transfer process.

Photo via @living.life.zerowaste on Instagram

5. Double Check Everything

Ensure you know which types of seeds can be started indoors and when the correct time will be to relocate them outdoors. It’s important to always read the instructions as different seeds may require different care. For example, vegetable seeds have different care than flower seeds! Consulting The Old Farmer’s Almanac can help you figure out what’s best for your seeds if you’re still unsure.

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Gardening Resolutions with Team Espoma

Here at Espoma, we’re constantly making plans and growing. But the new year is always a good time to slow down and decide on your most important intentions for the next round of seasons. That’s why we got in touch with some of our hardworking team members and partners to find out what their 2021 gardening goals look like. Read on if you’re looking for some inspiration for your own resolutions!

Lauren Boissonnault, How’s It Growing NJ, Brand Ambassador

2020 was a wonderful year to get a ton accomplished in the garden! I think we can all agree that our gardens were our safe space, escape, and motivation to get outside. It really helped me keep my sanity intact this year. Creating something beautiful and watching it grow and flourish was a blessing — I think that is really the best takeaway.

We spent some of the year revamping our driveway and installing raised veggie beds, which I enjoyed so much. I grew veggies I would have never had the space to try, and I have garlic tucked in right now looking wonderful. We have lots of plans for that space in 2021.

As I look out upon my garden covered with a beautiful blanket of snow, I’m now wishing I got all of those spring bulbs in the ground! I do this every year, and every time I promise myself that I will have bulbs planted before our Christmas tree goes up. But being a mom of two little ones and a web developer limits my time that I can spend playing in the dirt. This year, I promise to get them planted before I hear sleigh bells ring. It’s better late than never because that spring display is so worth it. If you can get a shovel in the ground, it is not too late to plant bulbs — trust me!

Another thing I’d like to challenge myself to do this year is to plant more from seeds. I buy lots of petunias every year, so I hope growing them from seeds will help save money. Lastly, I’d like to add a small greenhouse or revamp our existing potting shed into one. My 2021 will be filled with greenhouse goals, seed-grown gardens, and bulbs planted by November. I trust you to hold me to it!

Bonnie Satterthwaite, Espoma Organic, Territory Sales Manager

This year will be all about leaf mulching for me! It’s a technique that I’ve been looking to learn more about, and I hope to finally master it in 2021. I think once I get the hang of it, it’ll make my overall garden maintenance much easier. I’m also going to make things easier for myself by removing some of my rose bushes as they’re too labor-intensive and I’m just not loving them anymore. 

Some other things that won’t make the cut this year are many of the different types of annuals I normally have. Instead, I plan to select a few stellar performers and mass them. Given all the fabulous garden centers I get to visit throughout the spring on behalf of Espoma, picking just a few may be the most difficult resolution on my list.

I think these changes will be worth it, since I genuinely find every part of gardening to be so much fun —  and I’d like to keep it that way! I think it’s important not to overexert yourself in your horticulture hobby. I plan to end my long days of work with a nice glass of wine and a stroll around the garden — and maybe pluck just one or two more weeds.

Nick Cutsumpas, Farmer Nick NYC, Influencer

This year I am focusing on drought-tolerant plants that can also handle intense summer temperatures. I just moved to LA, which means I’m still adapting to a warm and dry climate. It’s much different than the wet and cool climate in NYC, and learning this new plant palette will be an exciting challenge. 

I also want to grow more flowers in 2021. I grow a ton of sunflower varieties, but I want to expand the diversity a bit and introduce new colors that will attract more pollinators to the garden. My garden has traditionally been green, yellow, and orange, but it’s time to throw in reds, blues and pinks into the mix.

Something else I’d like to incorporate this year is bottom watering. It’s a great technique to keep the top of your soil dry and allow the plant the drink at its own pace. Plus you will avoid annoying pests like fungus gnats which love the moist soil!

My biggest project I’ll be focusing on is building an edible rooftop for my new home. LA is water-deprived, so instituting a sustainable ecosystem for pollinators, drought-tolerant species, and native plants will be vital!

Ambrose & Angie Salazar, Garden Obsessions, Brand Ambassador

This year, we plan to have fun in the garden by continuing to include the whole family. Considering how 2020 has been — including our kids having to do school at home — we feel it can be just as much of a stress reliever for children as it is for adults.

Gardening with the family is not only a way to relax, but it’s also a big educational opportunity that gives a sense of ownership and responsibility. Learning to work in a small space garden helps our family grow as gardeners, keep an open mind to new gardening methods, and learn how to face these challenges in the future. In 2020, we took on landscaping a slope and felt a big sense of accomplishment with the end results.

Something we have in mind for 2021 is to include some of our neighbors with our gardening. We plan to put together some basic containers for them to enjoy at their home. With more people getting interested in plants and gardening in 2020, we feel that this would be a perfect opportunity to put a smile on other faces!

Our biggest focus this year is welcoming nature into the garden and educating others on how important it is to have plants that attract pollinators.

We’re feeling pretty inspired by these 2021 resolutions! Here’s to a year of growing and blooming alongside our plants. Have you decided on your gardening goals for this year? We’d love to hear them!

 

Perlite vs. Vermiculite

Perlite or Vermiculite? How do you choose which one to use?

For Drainage and Aeration: Choose perlite
For Water Retention: Choose vermiculite

In this video, Laura from Garden Answer breaks down when to use which.

Perlite

  • Great for or Seed Starting or blending a custom potting mix
  • Helps loosen heavy soils and prevents compaction
  • White granular particles contain about 6% water
  • Neutral pH
  • Holds nutrients and 3-4 times it’s weight in water
  • Clean, odorless, sterile and non-toxic
  • Will not rot or mold
  • Lightweight substitute for sand
  • Can float to the top of potted plants due to its light weight

Vermiculite

  • Great for or Seed Starting or blending a custom potting mix
  • Helps loosen heavy soils and prevents compaction
  • Retains moisture and plant nutrients
  • Mixes well with soil
  • Clean, sterile, odorless, non-toxic

Are You Ready To Plant?

You’ve waited all winter, and spring is so close! It’s just about time to start sowing early spring crops.

You can sow cool season crops directly in the ground as soon as the soil temperature is at or above 40ºF. If the soil is wet and muddy, you’ll want to wait a few days until things dry out. Working wet soil can ruin its structure. Some people use polythene tunnels to warm the soil and give them an even bigger head start.

While you sow, don’t forget to feed your soil. Use Espoma Organic’s Garden-Tone, it is perfectly formulated for your vegetable garden.

Here are our top vegetables for early spring:

Spinach

Spinach sprouts fairly quickly and is remarkably frost resistant, especially when grown under cover. Plants like the morning sun and are happy to have some afternoon shade. Fresh baby spinach is tasty and loaded with vitamins and minerals. Try a springtime salad with spinach and strawberries or put them in your favorite breakfast smoothie.

Swiss Chard

This beet relative is another excellent early spring crop that is easy to grow from seed. Once the leaves are 6 inches tall, you can begin to harvest the outer leaves. Let inner leaves stand for a later harvest. Chard contains 3 times the recommended daily intake of vitamin K and 44 percent of the recommended amount of vitamin A. Eat it raw or cooked.

Lettuce

There are hundreds of different kinds of lettuce; they come in all colors, shapes and sizes. Harvesting baby greens is quick and easy. Look for varieties  you can cut back that will regrow. Many can be harvested in just 30 days. They won’t flourish during cold snaps, but they won’t die unless temperatures dip below 28ºF.

Radishes

Radishes are one of the fastest vegetables you can grow. They’re fun to grow with little ones because they come up before you know it. You can plant radishes alongside lettuce or other spring greens. As you harvest the radishes, the greens have more room to grow. Use them as an addition to salads and tacos or roast them for a delicious treat.

Kale

We all know kale is a super food — cooked kale delivers more iron than beef. Lucky for us it grows easily from seed. Harvest the outer leaves for baby kale and let the rest of the foliage grow to full size. It can produce a great deal of food with little effort. Sow kale early and protect from hard frosts.

Peas

Fresh grown peas are so sweet and delicious, even your kids will love them. And, the seeds are big enough for little hands to plant them. Plant them in the ground around St. Patrick’s Day or 4 to 6 weeks before that last frost free date. Some varieties will need a low trellis. Check the seed packet to see how tall they’ll grow. Grow sugar snaps or snow peas if you don’t want to do all the shelling regular peas require.

 Learn more about starting a kid friendly vegetable garden.

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