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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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Bloom! Plant Food

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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Potting Soil MixIndoor!

 

 

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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Orchid Mix

Indoor!

Orchid!

 

 

 

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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Cactus Mix

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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Cactus Mix

Plant Parents: Add These Tropical Houseplants to Warm Your Soul

The brightest part of winter may just be decorating your home for the season. While hot cocoa, holiday lights and a cozy fireplace are traditional ways of warming your space, try thinking tropical this year.  Your decorating doesn’t have to be the same every year and holiday houseplants aren’t just limited to poinsettias.

It’s not a secret that many houseplants are tropical by nature. They feel right at home in places with year-round warmth and jungle-like conditions. So, bring some warmth and tropic flair to your space by adding one of these houseplants.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Anthurium

Anthuriums are elegant, easy-care plants with cheery blooms that last a long time. This show-stopping plant is a favorite for any romantic with its glossy heart-shaped, pink leaves. Anthurium stands out of the crowd with blooms on and off all year. This exotic plant loves warmth and humidity.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Bromeliad

This easy-to-grow houseplant makes for a perfect gift. It provides an exotic touch of red, orange, pink or purple to any home. Even with the thick foliage and wide leaves, it gives off a radiance that anyone will fall in love with. Be sure to use Espoma’s Orchid Potting Mix to allow proper drainage.

Palms

Majesty palms practically whisk you away to somewhere tropical.  They thrive in the humidity and like to be kept evenly moist.  Fertilize regularly with Indoor! Liquid plant food for faster growth. These are easy to grow and don’t require any pruning except for an occasional old frond.

Image courtesy of Costa Farms

Orchids

Orchids can bloom for up to four months, making them great fir add some color and flair to any home. They love indirect light, a little bit of water and to be away from any drafty windows, air vents or ducts.

Plus, they will continue to rebloom every year with a little love and patience and fertilizer.

An organic fertilizer, such as Espoma’s Orchid! liquid plant food, will help keep your blooms looking fresh and colorful year after year.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

ZZ plant

This tough houseplant can survive even with the brownest of thumbs. You can put it anywhere in your home or office and it will be happy to see you. It can even survive with only florescent lights and no natural light.  Water when the top two inches of soil are dry. Don’t worry if you forget, it may start to drop some of its leaflets to conserve the water left and will rebloom after a good drink.

Try these lowlight houseplants if you want greenery, but lack light. https://youtu.be/SYXv_EcBdEA

Products for houseplants

Espoma Organic Orchid Mix
Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix

How to Dry Herbs

A simple, inexpensive way to enjoy your herbs beyond the growing season is to dry them!

When talking about herbs, we’re referring to the leaves of certain plants that are usually green in color. Spices, on the other hand, are the flowers, fruit, seeds, bark and roots of tropical plants and  are typically more pungent than herbs.

While the best flavors come from freshly picked herbs, however there is always an abundance that you cannot use in one season. Drying your herbs is the next best thing!

Dried herbs can be used for anything from flavoring recipes to making a fragrant fire starter.

When to Harvest:

We recommend growing organic herbs in Espoma Organic’s Potting Mix. To get the most flavor from herbs you need to harvest them at just the right time. The fullest flavor comes from herbs harvested before they flower. If you use a lot of freshly picked herbs, they may never flower. If that is the case, and you want to savor that flavor during the non-growing months, be sure to harvest them by the end of summer before the weather cools to get the most flavor out of them.

Focus on one type of herb at a time and remember to only cut back what you need. Try to avoid cutting back the entire plant, unless you are ready to replace it.

8 Steps to Harvesting and Drying Herbs:

  • Cut healthy branches from your herb plant.
  • Discard any damaged leaves as they have already lost their flavor. Yellowed leaves aren’t worth saving.
  • Gently shake the cut branches to remove insects and excess soil as you won’t be washing the stems.
  • Remove the bottom inch of the stem and the lower leaves to allow room for tying. Place the leaves aside – you can add them to the bag on their own.
  • Tie 5 or 6 stems together with either string or a rubber band. Make sure to check in on them as they dry as herbs shrink down and may slip out of the band.
  • Place herbs in a paper bag, stem side up. Tie the end of the bag closed, being sure not to squish herbs.
  • Poke a few holes in the bag for ventilation.
  • Hang the bag by the top in a warm, well ventilated room.

Once your herbs are dry enough to crumble, they are ready to be stored. Keep dried herbs in an air tight container, like a small canning jar or a zippered bag.

There you have it: freshly dried herbs to enjoy all year long!

Learn what to plant next with Laura from Garden Answer.

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