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5 Garden Tasks to Complete this June

Summer is finally here! And we can’t wait to spend more time outdoors enjoying Mother Nature. What better way to get in some quality time outdoors than by prepping your garden for the exciting growing season that lies ahead. Check these five simple tasks off your list and prepare to have a picture perfect summer garden in no time.

Be Water Wise

In a short time, you’ll finally start feeling the heat – and so will your plants. As temps increase, be sure to keep an eye on your plants and ensure they’re getting exactly the right amount of water. If you live in an especially hot climate or simply can’t keep up with watering by hand, invest in some sprinklers or an irrigation system.

Last Call for Seedlings

If you haven’t already transferred your indoor seedlings, now is the time. You can also start planting those heat-loving veggies, like tomatoes, squash, eggplant and peppers.

Tidy Up

Tidying up your garden gives you a fresh start for the growing season ahead. Prune plants to encourage healthy growth. Weeds are very persistent, so you should be too. A little bit of weeding here and there will prevent your garden from becoming overrun with invasive weeds.

Welcome Pollinators

Bees and butterflies play an extremely important role in the garden and their pollination provides us with many of our favorite foods. Create a pollinator friendly garden with a variety of native plants. And don’t forget to celebrate National Pollinator Week June 19-25!

Lawn Care

Nothing says summer like the sight of a lush, green lawn. While maintaining a healthy lawn may seem challenging, it’s definitely possible with a little bit of work. With kids and pets playing in the yard all summer long, you’ll want to make sure to stay safe. Choose Espoma’s Organic Lawn Foods for a beautiful green lawn that is safe for the whole family – and the environment.

Double Duty: Pet-friendly Plants that also Keep Pests Away

Landscapes that are both beautiful and functional earn extra points in any gardeners’ book. But gardens that are beautiful, pet-friendly and repel pests take the cake. Luckily, it doesn’t take too much effort to petscape for a Safe Paws yard.

While some pest-fighting plants like citronella and eucalyptus are poisonous to pets, there are other options that are more pet-friendly. Repel pests naturally in your yard with these pet-safe plants.

Three plants to repel pests

  1. Easy and fast-growing mint oil is proven to repel ticks, ants, mice and moths. Add mint to containers or plant it in an area where you can control its spread. Easy and fast-growing, mint needs little care as long as it’s grown in full sun. Pinch off flower buds as they appear and thin plants regularly.
  2. Rosemary, a member of the mint family, can keep mosquitoes at bay. This Mediterranean favorite is one of the most aromatic herbs you can grow. Grow in full sun and water when dry. Although you don’t need to prune, you can cut back branches to help your rosemary bush stay in shape.
  3. Chamomile is said to improve the plant health of any garden, plus its strong scent keeps fleas away. This plant grows best in cool conditions and should be planted in part shade, however, it will also grow full sun.

Keep your pet-friendly, pest-repelling garden growing strong by feeding with Espoma’s liquid Grow! plant food.

Ready to learn more? Learn how to keep pets safe outdoors in summer.

 

The Best Pet-friendly Houseplants

For most, pets are a member of the family. And like any other family member, we’ll do whatever it takes to keep them happy and safe. Since our furry friends don’t always know what’s best for themselves, it’s up to us to petscape and create a safe environment they can roam freely in.

To remove some of the guesswork, we have comprised a list of plants that add beauty to your home and are problem-free for your pets. Just because these plants are pet-safe, doesn’t mean a mischievous cat still won’t knock your favorite plant off the table or dog might decide to take a bite. If your pet does get into any plants, even the nontoxic kind, be alert for signs of an allergic reaction.

5 Houseplants Safe to Have Around Pets

  1. Spider plant

This classic, indoor plant is a staple in many households because it grows fast growers and improves indoor air quality. Spider plants do need regular waterings, but can live in most light conditions and temperatures.

  1. Bamboo

In addition to being non-toxic to dogs, cats and horses, bamboo adds beauty to any household. The plant prefers a location with indirect, bright light, but can thrive under artificial lighting as well.

  1. African violet

The blooms of African Violets are delicate and come in hues of vibrant purples and pinks. They can thrive in windowsill container gardens and are very easy to care for. Keep them in a warm place in the house where they can get lots of sunlight to ensure year-round flowers.

  1. Boston ferns

Only true ferns are safe for pets, so when shopping make sure to look for this fern. These non-toxic plants can survive in cool, humid, dark places. Humidity is key for these plants, so lightly mist them once or twice a week and be sure to monitor the soil and keep moist.

  1. Phalaenopsis orchids

These orchids are great because they are both pet safe and human safe. This popular edible flower is found often in Hawaiian dishes and tropical drinks. They require indirect, bright light and need water once a week, but don’t overwater.

Now that you’ve taken care of indoor plants, learn how to petscape your yard.

A Little Lightning Lime Does a Lawn Fine

Refreshing, invigorating and energizing — your lawn loves limes as much as you do!

Lawns also benefit from limestone if their soil pH is too low. Organic Lightning Lime restores patchy areas and helps your lawn get its green glow back.

organic lawn care, safe paws, lawn care tips, lawn lime

Lightning Lime works by correcting soil acidity and adding calcium and magnesium to your soil to help preserve that luscious green color and protect grass from stress caused by heat, drought or traffic. Calcium helps regulate nutrients such as zinc, copper and phosphorus.

Find out if your lawn needs Lightning Lime.

Lawns Like Lightning Lime: How and Why to Apply Lightning Lime in the Lawn

A dash of Lightning Lime can do wonders. It’s one of those organic lawn care tips you’ll wish you always knew!

 The Lawn Stress Test. Perform a soil test to see if your lawn’s soil pH is too low. A low soil pH leads to patchy, yellow spots.

organic lawn care, safe paws, lawn care tips, lawn lime

Lime It or Leave It. Only add Lightning Lime if your soil pH is low. Lawns thrive in soil with a pH between 6 and 7. And if your soil pH is below 5.5, your lawn will suffer since it can’t absorb nutrients properly.

Cool Like a Lime. Only use a pelletized, organic Lightning Lime for a Safe Paws lawn. Espoma’s Lightning Lime contains no hydrated lime, so it’s safe to use around pets and children. And that’s a big deal! Other lawn limes contain hydrated lime, which can be harmful.

Time to Lime! Apply organic Lightning Lime in early spring or fall. See how much Lightning Lime to use here. Then water. Never apply Lightning Lime if the ground is frozen or the grass is wilted.

Wait It Out. This organic lawn care trick takes time to kick in! You’ll see a lusher, greener lawn in a season or two.

You went right to the root of the problem — and solved it! Your lawn thanks you for that revitalizing Lightning Lime. It’ll repay you with lush, green color soon!

The Grass is Always Greener with Lawn Starter

The big reveal. The snow melts, and your grass emerges. But wait a second… are those bare spots?

If you need to repair your lawn this season with seed, early spring is best! Later on, lawn seed won’t survive the summer heat – and you won’t survive that water bill! If you can, wait until fall to seed. That’s when the soil, temperature and sunlight are just right for lawn seed.

organic lawn care, safe paws, lawn care tips,

Update old grass and worn-out lawns by reseeding and then encourage strong root systems by feeding it. It’s an easy and quick way to give your lawn the update it needs without starting from scratch.

Can’t bear to stare at those patchy brown spots any longer? Here’s how to reseed successfully in spring.

Hit the Lawn Seed Sweet Spot: Start Seeds with Organic Lawn Starter

 Order Organic. Help lawn seed take root by applying an organic fertilizer made specifically for lawn seed and sod. This used to be impossible to find, but you asked, and we delivered! We made the first and only organic lawn starter. Now you and your pets are free to roam, play and enjoy your Safe Paws lawn. Together, we can keep pets safe with organic lawn care from start to finish.

organic lawn care, safe paws, lawn care tips,

Know How to Mow. If overseeding an established lawn, mow grass to at least 3”. This helps grass to develop strong roots.

Smart Seed Start. After you’ve spread lawn seed or sod, apply organic lawn starter. This helps your lawn seed establish faster and grow stronger roots. The secret is in our Organic Lawn Starter’s powerful Bio-tone microbes. Yes, the same Bio-tone you use to strengthen new plants!

The New Rule. Lightly water new grass seed or sod frequently until you’ve mowed it twice. After that, give your lawn 1” of water a week.

Patchy spots be gone. Go on, green lawn it’s your time to shine! And we’ll be here to share more lawn care tips for your new, fabulous organic lawn.   

Paw-lease Petscape the Yard this Spring

“Paw-lease, let us go outside!” your pets seem to be pleading as they flash you their saddest puppy dog eyes.

After spending most of their winter indoors, pets are springing to life – and pawing at the door.

petscaping, safe paws, organic lawn care

Before you let your pets frolic outside this spring, petscape and create a safe and pet-friendly outdoor landscape.

Who Let the Dogs Out?

Pass on Pesticides. The most important way to keep pets safe outside is to use organic lawn care products. It’s scary to hear, but dogs whose owners applied chemical herbicides were 4.4 times more likely to develop bladder cancer, according to research. Remind your friends and families to grow a Safe Paws lawn. Always.

No-No Cocoa. Skip the cocoa mulch when petscaping. While this mulch is a true beauty, dogs can’t resist its chocolatey smell. As you may have guessed, cocoa mulch is dangerous and toxic to dogs when eaten.

petscaping, safe paws, organic lawn care

Flower Power. Curious dogs and cats often want to see what those fragrant, colorful flowers taste like. While some plants are fine for pets to sample, others are poisonous. Before adding another plant or shrub to your garden, check if it’s safe for your pets.

Compost Ghost. While composting is great for the planet, it’s not as great for your pets. As food and garden waste breaks down, mold may grow. So if your pets nibble your compost, they can become sick. Symptoms range from excessive drooling or panting to vomiting and seizures. Keep compost bins closed or out of pets’ reach.

Your pups and kittens will want to play fur-ever in their Safe Paws lawn. So, go what’s the harm of one more game of fetch? You did use organic lawn care products after all!

Weed Out Bad Seeds from the Lawn

It’s time to put an end to the weed invasion, for good.

Stop annoying weeds, dandelions and crabgrass from ruining your lawn. They won’t know what hit them, but, you will!

Apply a weed preventer now, in early spring, to stop weeds before they start while greening the grass.

No More Weeds Below: Stop Weed Seeds from Sprouting in the Lawn

lawn care, organic gardening, compost tips, safe paws

Start your early spring lawn care right. Apply an Organic Weed Preventer now to have more time for organic gardening later.

Tender Offenders. Pre-emergent fertilizers only affect weed seeds, so handpick visible weeds. Compost tip: When composting weeds, discard weed seeds first to prevent germination.

Born to Corn. Espoma’s Organic Weed Preventer is 100 percent corn gluten, which helps your lawn grow faster and greener. Corn gluten also organically prevents weeds from growing roots, according to numerous field trials. That’s right: science shows corn stops weeds.

Say No to Chemicals. When you use an organic weed preventer, there’s no need to worry. You’re growing a Safe Paws lawn, so children and pets can safely walk on the grass. Encourage friends and families to use only organic lawn products, too. Studies found a link between chemical lawn fertilizers and canine cancer.

Spring Fling. Apply Weed Preventer in early spring on a dry, recently mowed established lawn. Instructions here. But don’t do this if you recently seeded the lawn. Corn gluten will stop all seeds from germinating, not just weeds!

Expect to Correct. Greener grass is on the horizon! If this is your first year applying a weed preventer, you’ll see up to 58 percent fewer weeds. In your second year, you’ll see up to 85 percent weed reduction. In year three, you’ll have up to 91 percent fewer weeds, according to Iowa State University research. Plus, you’ll have healthier soil and feel better about what you’re putting into it.

Greener grass and fewer weeds – all while keeping your pets and family safe. Life is g-o-o-d with a Safe Paws lawn.

Make Like a Garden and Grow

This year, let’s grow your best garden yet! All you need is a sturdy pencil, a blank notebook and a vivid imagination. You’ll almost be able to smell wild lavender and delicate roses.

With a detailed garden plan, your organic garden blooms right off the page.

 Grow On! How to Plan Your Dream Garden

1. Reflect to Perfect. Think about last year’s garden. Jot down all your flowers, edibles and shrubs. Mark your favorite and most used plants. Cross off those that didn’t produce, succeed or required too much effort. What plants do you wish you had? What edibles did you spend too much on at the store? Add those to your plant list.

2. Wise Size. Sketch your current garden space. Should you expand or cut back? Consider if and where you’d like to place new garden beds, raised beds, containers or another vegetable garden. If this is your first garden, plan for 50-75 square feet.

garden plan, garden design3. Site for Light. With your garden design sketched, it’s time to color coordinate! Fill in each area with a different color based on how sunny or shady it is.

4. Single or Mingle. Tweak the list of plants you want to add, keep or remove. Then decide which plants you’ll cluster and which to keep separate. Pair plants with similar water, light and soil needs. Plan where to plant them, and circle the plants you’ll start from seed.

start seeds, plan garden5. Pick to Mix. Scrutinize your list to make sure you have a good mix of: plant types, scents, bloom times, beneficial plants, texture, sizes and color. Do the Safe Paws check to make sure all plants are safe for your pets.

Step back and admire your handiwork! In just a few short months, your hands will be in the soil making your garden plan spring to life.

Pets’ Winter Safety Guide

Even with their fur coat, pets still need help keeping warm this winter. Like us, pets can only handle so much time outside during cold, snowy weather.

Keep pets safe and warm this winter by petscaping and prepping! Just like you avoid chemical lawn products because of Safe Paws, take precautions during winter, too.

Wagging Our Way to Winter Pet Safety

Alarming Antifreeze. Dogs and cats love the smell and taste of antifreeze, but it’s extremely toxic. Keep it out of their reach and quickly clean up any spills. If your pet ingests antifreeze, call a vet immediately.

petscaping winter

Dust Off Deicers. When your pet walks on paths or sidewalks, deicers stick to their paws. Deicers can burn paws and are harmful if eaten. Use a pet-safe deicer on your property. Also, apply petroleum jelly to pets’ paw pads to prevent other deicers from sticking. If deicer remains, wipe off quickly.

petscaping winter

The Chilly Check. Other than daily walks and outdoor exercise, pets shouldn’t be outside much in winter! Dogs and cats can get hypothermia or frostbite, just like us. Put a coat on short-haired dogs. If pets are outdoors most of the day, provide a dry shelter, where they can rest and warm up.

petscaping winterStack on the Snacks. When outside, pets use lots of energy to stay warm. When they head back indoors, provide them with extra food and water to help them recuperate.

winter petscaping

The Snow Shake. After playing in the snow, pets try to shake off the snow and cold. Help warm them up with a post-snow towel dry. Wipe off paws with a damp towel to get rid of stuck snowballs.

A little knowledge goes a long way! Check out our Safe Paws program that keeps your pets safe in every season.

Paw-sitively Perfect DIY Dog Treats

As you’re planning the perfect gift for everyone on your list, add a special little treat for furry friends.

DIY, organic dog treats are super easy to make, and all the special pups in your life will go bonkers for them.

After all, you do everything to keep your pet safe and healthy all year long. And, they thank you for their Safe Paws!

Now, show them how tasty the holidays can be with these homemade, organic dog treat recipes.

homemade dog treatsBetter than a Bone: DIY Organic Dog Treats

We promise dogs will love these homemade, organic and healthy treats. You know every ingredient is the best of the best.

homemade dog treats

  1. Sweet Treats. Make these easy, organic dog treats with pumpkin, sweet potato or apple and carrots. Super healthy for pups, and they only take 5 minutes of prep time!
  2. Beggin’ for Bacon. Combine dog’s two favorite snacks — bacon and peanut butter — for an irresistible treat.
  3. Choose Chicken. A little bit sweet and a little bit savory, these homemade dog treats are packed with chicken and peanut butter for lots of protein power.
  4. Gourmet Goodies. A famous LA-based chef cooked up an absolutely fabulous dog treat recipe. Sure to get 5 out of 5 barks!
  5. Sensitive Snacks. Gluten-free: check. Wheat-free: check. Delight dogs with sensitive tummies by baking this tasty treat.

Once dogs get a whiff of these tasty, all-natural treats, they’ll never want to go back to store-bought. Save big at the store, and keep your dog healthy by making these year-round.