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How Espoma Can Help Your Garden Club Grow

Garden clubs are a great way to share your horticulture hobby with other like-minded individuals. It’s a space where you can learn all about plant life and share your gardening ideas. They can be as small as a group of friends or as large as a neighborhood! Many of them take an interest in preservation of local natural habitats and general community service.

Members of garden clubs come in all shapes and sizes. Anyone can start or join one! You don’t even have to be experienced because the clubs provide a safe space for novices to learn and grow their own hobby.

Still, it’s understandable if you’re on the fence about joining one. Or maybe you are a part of a garden club, but you don’t know about the full benefits you can be taking advantage of. Luckily for us, we were able to sit down with Gay Austin, the 46th president of the National Garden Clubs (NGC), to get all the details!

“Our partnership with Espoma has been great since the start,” Gay says. “We both had a goal in mind for garden clubs. Espoma had the products, and the NGC had the programs. So we just meshed together.” One great outcome of this partnership has been our grant program. Every year we select 20 clubs to give $250 grants to, and then we get to watch their ideas flourish!

These grants help your club receive funding to complete different types of projects. Whether it’s needed for tools, disaster relief management, or education—your chosen project can be almost anything. “It can be as simple as a flowerbed in a public space,” Gay tells us, “as long as it’s providing knowledge for what plants are needed.”

Want to show hospital patients how colorful flowers can brighten their rooms? How about beautifying a local school? Whether you’re focusing on wildlife conservation or want to give back to your community with a public garden renovation, the possibilities of eligible projects are endless! Gay told us she hopes to see future projects where clubs get together to replant native plants that were destroyed from natural disasters.

If you’re interested in becoming one of our grant winners, all you need to do is complete the application. Attach some photos and explain your project. Then, wait and see if you’ve been selected. If you have, be sure you send us photos of your completed project and local press information so we can spread the word about your great work! Don’t forget to check out our recent grant winners above the application.

Gay looks back fondly on past winners who have brought wonderful projects to life using the grants. “Many clubs focus on beautifying their cities,” She says. “Some clubs bring projects to senior citizens in assisted living facilities. Those citizens go from living in a home with a garden to only being able to have potted plants. So bringing the joy of horticulture back to them is really beneficial.” These projects can affect people as old as these senior citizens to children in school.

Whether or not you’re interested in an Espoma grant, we still want to hear about your garden club! Tell us via Twitter using the hashtag #EspomaGardenClub for a chance to be featured on our social media. We’ll be spreading the word about other garden clubs in the meantime, so stay tuned for some inspiration.

 

Video: Time for Fall Wall Planters with Garden Answer

Watch as Laura from Garden Answer creates a beautiful planter for Fall using Flower-tone and Potting Soil Mix!

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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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Video: Arranging Succulents in an Urn with Garden Answer

Starting a fun new succulent project? Take a tip from Garden Answer and kick things off with Espoma Organic Cactus Mix, which is made specifically for cactuses and succulents.

 

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Video: Making Tea Tin Arrangements with Garden Answer

A rainy week calls for an awesome indoor activity like this one! Remember: Anything that contains something is a potential planter. Watch as Laura from Garden Answer makes the most of her old tea tins using Espoma Organic Cactus Mix!

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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: 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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