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Video: Winter Seed Sowing with Garden Answer

Interested in trying your hand at the winter seed sowing method? Follow along with @Garden Answer in this new video for some tips, tricks, and other learnings!

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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!

 

5 Ways to Make Your Garden More Festive

purple flower covered with snow

The holidays are officially underway, and while you’re probably already in the process of decorating your tree and other indoor spaces, have you stopped to think about your garden? Decorating the outside of your house can bring even more joy to your community and will give your greenery some extra love during the colder months.

Here are 5 ways to decorate your garden for the ultimate holiday curb appeal.

 

1. Start with the basics

You don’t have to run out and buy new decorations right away! Instead, use what you already have. If you have a few plants in pots, that’s a perfect place to start. Add some festive flair to your containers by painting them with holiday images and colors, or just tie some gift bows around them. If filling new containers, use Espoma Potting Mix to give plants a healthy start with our Myco-tone Advantage

snowman and santa claus near house decor

2. Light it up!

You can’t go wrong with string lights during the holidays. While you might be used to lining walkways or hanging them from your roof, try changing things up and wrapping the lights around your shrubs or lining the garden with them. This will bring a festive feeling to your garden while also bringing more attention to your hardy plant babies. (Give them the credit they deserve for making it through this chilly time of year!)

green tree leaves

3. Bring the tree outside

Why keep the glory of your Christmas tree limited to indoors? Plant an evergreen outside and decorate it just the same to bring the holiday cheer where even more people can appreciate it. Now you have the opportunity to decorate two of them in completely different ways! Maybe the outdoor version will have a theme and be more photogenic while the kids can have free reign of the one indoors. Plus, you can never go wrong with adding a tree to your property if you have the space!

gold bauble

4. Decorations everywhere!

Similar to the tree, why keep the fun decor inside? Treat the rest of your garden the same and let loose with ribbon, tinsel, and decorations galore. Stick candy canes in the soil for that classic holiday vibe or strew about pinecones for a more rustic look. Try placing old ornaments on any plants with strong enough stems to replicate a mini Christmas tree. Get creative with this one and make it your own!

red poinsettia flowers near photo frame

5. Include your mailbox

Whether or not your mailbox is near your garden, extend your greenery to it to tie it together with your home’s festive look. This can be done simply by draping or wrapping a garland around it, but you can also fancy it up with some of the same bits of decor used in the garden like lights or bows. If there’s enough space, bring a potted plant or two over to show the neighborhood that this is a plant-loving home!

Go ahead and pick and choose which decor tips you want to incorporate, or go wild and use them all! Remember that curb appeal shouldn’t be reserved just for the warmer months. Even if you’re spending your holidays social-distance style, adding outdoor decor will extend your festive spirit to all who pass by!

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Video: Caladiums for Christmas with Garden Answer

Laura from Garden Answer got her hands on some gorgeous new caladiums just in time for Christmas. Follow along for some keys to transitioning to holiday decor using Potting Mix!

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4 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Poinsettias

‘Tis the season of poinsettias! These jolly red plants are a classic holiday gift and household decoration all across the country during the winter months. Unfortunately, for many people, the leaves quickly turn lackluster and the plant dies soon afterward. But you can avoid this outcome with proper care and maintenance! Here are 4 ways yours can thrive this holiday season, as told by Garden Answer.

1. Get a healthy start

Did you know poinsettias are actually tropical plants? These festive spurges have somehow become a staple during the colder months, but they very much still appreciate their native climate! That means you should try to avoid the ones that are placed near the entrance of your local grocery store, since the draft from outside and the dry heat from inside are already harming the plants’ health. If you find them elsewhere, be sure to check that the foliage has solid colors and is not showing any green as this could mean they’re finished flowering for the season.

2. Give them a loving home

Since poinsettias appreciate that tropical climate, be sure to place them somewhere with lots of light that’s away from cold glass. As mentioned before, keep them away from any drafts — warm or cold. Be sure to check their soil moisture regularly as heated homes often lack moisture in the air. You can water them when the top layer of soil feels dry. As a finishing touch, feel free to mist them regularly and use Espoma Bloom! to give them a boost.

3. Stay safe this holiday season

A widely believed myth is that poinsettias are incredibly toxic to pets and humans. But the truth is that you would have to ingest an exorbitant amount of it for it to actually be dangerous! You should still err on the side of caution since the white sap that’s produced when the stems break can be a skin irritant, and it’s best to set them somewhere pets and kids can’t reach as with all houseplants.

4. Start anew next year

No matter how devoted you are to your beloved poinsettias, you should still think of them as annual plants that need to be replaced each year. It can be very difficult to get them to bloom again a year later and it involves much stricter care than the tips listed above. 

Now that you have all the necessary knowledge, go find the biggest and brightest poinsettias you can locally buy — and rest assured that they’ll last much longer than last year’s!

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Create Your Own Fall Centerpiece for Thanksgiving

Your Thanksgiving dinner may look different this year with a smaller number of attendees, but that’s all the more reason to stun them with holiday decor! It’s more important than ever to relax with members of your household and find ways to put everyone in that classic festive mood. Here are some ways to make a beautiful table centerpiece to help this holiday season be as cheerful as the last.

1. Pumpkins everywhere

Not sure what to do with all the pumpkins you got for Halloween? Turn them into flower pots and get the full effect of fall! Hollow them out and put in some of your favorite flowers. You can even paint them to match any decor color you already have.

2. Create your own cornucopia

Thanksgiving is celebrated to give thanks for the harvest for the year and all the food you’re going to eat, so it’s fitting to display your harvest on the table too! If you took part in growing fruits and vegetables over the summer, why not display your hard work on the table in the form of a cornucopia?

3. Flower arrangements

Another creative trick you can try is creating flower arrangements! If you’ve been growing flowers, you already have everything you need. But if you haven’t, hop on over to your local florist and pick out some fall-colored bouquets and arrange them however you want. There’s no wrong way to do it!

4. Shrubs and leaves

If you’re looking for an inexpensive yet effective way to get it done, your backyard is your oyster! Don’t want to pluck out your flowers? Simply bring in some fallen leaves that are bound to be a mix of red, yellow, and orange. This will definitely give your home a more rustic look. Add some branches and evergreen shrubs for some texture!

5. Don’t forget houseplants

If you’re a dedicated plant parent, you probably already have some unusual houseplants around your house. Now all you need to do is re-pot them into something more festive to brighten up everyone’s spirits! Make sure to add some potting mix while repotting and some Indoor! Houseplant food to keep them perky throughout dinner.

Whether you’re going all out or only want to make a small arrangement, adding some festive decoration is sure to get everyone feeling more festive and joyful this holiday season. Even if Thanksgiving is dinner for one — remember that plant care is self-care!

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Best Indoor and Outdoor Plants for Halloween Decor

Halloween is on our heels and we can’t wait! The spooky season is a great time to go all out decorating your home, and here at Espoma, we believe in adding so much more to your decor than just pumpkins. Get in the holiday spirit by throwing these plants into the mix!

 

1. Red Spider Lily

 

Red in color with spider-like flowers, this plant is perfect for your spooky yard! One of the best parts of it is that it’s virtually pest and disease-free. It’s great for late summer and early fall and needs well-draining soil to grow.

2. Bat Flower

This flower personifies the spookiness of Halloween perfectly and will make your house one to look out for! While the flower barely resembles a bat, the black color makes it look like it belongs to the Addams family. Keep this flower indoors to match your outside decor — and make sure to keep it in indirect sunlight or partial shade.

3. Indian Pipe/Ghost Plant

This plant grows white instead of green because it has no chlorophyll and is a parasite that takes from nearby trees. (Anyone else spooked just from that description?) From afar it looks like melting candles or finger bones sticking out from the ground — it doesn’t get scarier than that! As if it knows where it belongs, the plant prefers dark, damp places to grow, so make sure you plant it accordingly. Even though it doesn’t require sunlight, it’s best to plant it outside. But don’t forget to give nearby plants lots of nutrients so the ghost plant can take from them without depleting their food!

4. Corpse Flower

The corpse flower can take years or even decades before it blooms for the first time. This flower earned its name from the odorous smell it emits that has been compared to body odor or sweaty socks. This smell is meant to attract insects to spread the flower’s pollen to start new blooms. If the smell doesn’t scare you, maybe the size will. The corpse flower can grow to a height of 8 feet!

5. Devil’s Claw

This plant grows out curved with pointed ends, making it look like the devil’s claw, hence the name. You might think it’s another poisonous plant that you have to stay away from, but on the contrary, this plant is a popular medicine for back pain arthritis. 

Mixing and matching these plants with your other Halloween decorations is sure to make your house look like the most haunted on the block. Which ones made it onto your shopping list? Don’t forget, as many of these plants are quite uncommon, they may require some extra upkeep. So be sure to take care of them accordingly!

 

Unusual Houseplants to Add Life to Your Home This Fall

With fall underway and winter on our heels, you’re probably putting away your gardening tools for the season and taking the last bits of veggies and fruits you can harvest before the ground freezes over. And if you’re anything like us, you’re probably sad to see all the greenery and colors go. But don’t let that crush your spirits! While you’re waiting for spring to arrive, you can stay busy raising colorful houseplants.

This plant has green leaves with red, yellow, and orange hues in them, so you get the greenery and some beautiful colors all in one! Direct sunlight may burn their leaves, but bright light will produce the beautiful red and pink colors — so be sure they’re receiving bright indirect light. But don’t fret if your home is low light! Your Aglaonema can still grow, it will just be less colorful.

1. Colorful Aglaonema

 

2. Prayer Plant

Don’t have space on the windowsill to put the plants? Try hanging them up! Prayer plant is a favorite of ours because it has the habit of sprawling out. It can make any room you put it up in look cozy! It has dark green leaves and purple-mauve stems and veins that give your space a classy look.

3. Neon Pothos

If you’re someone who’s going to get the blues in winter from the lack of color outside, this plant is just what you need! Neon pothos adds a pop of color to your living space and will brighten up your day every time you look at it. This will also present a good contrast to any darker colored plants like the prayer plant or calathea. It’s an easy to grow plant that you can hang up or put it on your coffee table and let the vines take over. It needs direct sunlight to grow, but you can swap that out with fluorescent lights if your house isn’t very sunlight-heavy.

4. Anthurium

Want a plant that’ll bloom every season? If you take care of this plant right, you can have shades of pink and red residing in your house all year long! All you need to do is keep it in a well-lit place and water it regularly. This valentine’s day favorite will definitely give your house a more quirky look.

5. Monstera

You might’ve seen this one on aesthetic Instagram accounts or have it pinned on one of your “dream room” Pinterest boards. This plant has been a popular go-to for a lot of people in recent years, and we totally get why. It’s a plant with big green leaves that can be placed anywhere without taking up too much space! They can also grow in almost any atmosphere. If you’re looking to add some simple green to your room, monstera is the way to go.

Ready to head to your local plant shop yet? Stock up now so you can sit back and relax with your indoor green space this fall and winter. They’re sure to bring colorful life to your home and remind you of the upcoming spring and all of the beautiful outdoor blooms that are yet to come!

 

 

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.

Video: Ultimate Guide to Anthurium Care with Homestead Brooklyn

Anthurium – commonly known as flamingo flower – is a super common and super beloved houseplant. Learn everything you need to know about caring for them with this ultimate guide from Summer Rayne Oakes.

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