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Cutting Flowers and Planting Fall Crops with Garden Answer

Follow along as Laura from @Garden Answer cuts some especially beautiful flowers for some friends! Stick around as she provides some helpful tips for cutting flowers and to see which Espoma products she uses while planting fall crops!

 

 

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Video: Planting Vegetable with Garden Answer

It’s time to plant some corn, beans, and tomatoes at the @Garden Answer household! Tag along to see how Laura gets her vegetable gardening done with some Espoma products.

 

 

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Video: Planting Peppers with Garden Answer!

Laura from @Garden Answer is planting sweet and spicy peppers in her garden! Watch to find out which Espoma products help her get the job done.

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Video: How to Care for Tomatoes with Epic Gardening

Kevin from @Epic Gardening is walking us through how he plans to maintain those tomatoes he recently planted with the help of Espoma. Follow along to hear his top tips!

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6 Vegetables to Sow During Early Spring

The weather is getting warmer, which means it’s time to start thinking about sowing spring veggies and planning ahead! Cool season crops can be directly sown into the ground as soon as the soil temperature is at or above 40˚F, but ensure you’re not working with wet or muddy soil since those are not favorable conditions for plant growth. Don’t forget to include Espoma Organic Garden-Tone to give your new vegetables the nutrients they need to grow big and delicious!

1. Spinach

Fresh baby spinach is not only delicious, but it’s also loaded with vitamins and minerals. This vegetable is versatile because you can eat it alone in a springtime salad or mix it into something like a smoothie! Now is a great time to sow spinach since it usually sprouts quickly and is somewhat frost-resistant in the face of unpredictable spring weather.

2. Swiss Chard

You may not be familiar with this beet relative, but it’s another amazing plant that is easy to grow from seed in the early springtime. You can eat chard raw or cooked and feel good knowing it contains 3 times the recommended daily intake of vitamin K and 44 percent of the recommended amount of vitamin A! Remember to harvest only the outer leaves during the spring and leave the inside for a later harvest.

3. Lettuce

Lettuce may seem simple, but did you know it actually comes in a variety of colors, species, shapes, and sizes? Gardeners love this plant lettuce because harvesting the baby greens is quick and easy — sometimes it can be ready after just 30 days! Lettuce is low in calories, fat, and sodium and is also a good source of fiber, iron, folate, and vitamin C. You can use your lettuce in a traditional salad, or spice things up by putting it in soup, making a wrap, or even grilling it.

4. Radishes

Radishes are the quickest vegetable to grow on this list if you truly want an early spring harvest. They’re also rich in antioxidants and minerals like calcium and potassium. Did you know these nutrients can help lower high blood pressure and reduce your risks for heart disease? You can put radishes in salads or even add them to stir fry or tacos.

5. Kale

Kale is the perfect vegetable if you want to produce a lot of food with little effort. It’s known as a “super food” for a reason — because cooked kale actually produces more iron than beef! It grows easily from a seed, so all you have to do is harvest the outer leaves for baby kale and let the rest of the foliage grow to full size. Kale, like spinach, is a great ingredient to add to your next salad or smoothie. Try a kale salad, or add it to a smoothie to make it healthier!

6. Peas

If you want to get your kids interested in gardening, the simplicity of planting peas is a great start. Fresh grown peas are a sweet and delicious side for any dish, or you can use them to make pea soup. They’re a good source of vitamins C and E, zinc, and other antioxidants that strengthen your immune system. You’ll want to read the seed packets closely to see if there are any specific growing directions and to get an idea of how tall this plant will grow. If you don’t want to do all the shelling regular peas require, you should opt for sugar snaps or snow peas.

 

It’s much easier than you may think to grow delicious and nutritious veggies in your own backyard. Plus, it’s fun and simple enough for the whole family to help! Which ones are you going to include in your early spring garden?

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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: Tying up & Fertilizing Tomatoes with Bloom and Grow Radio!

Are your tomato plants growing out of control? Time to tie them up with Bloom and Grow Radio‘s Tying and Fertilizing Tomatoes video featuring Tomato-tone!

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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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Build Your Own Vertical Strawberry Planter (Extended Version)

Need a new and updated way to grow your strawberries? Try growing them vertically!

This windchime inspired planter will add life to your garden while adding an element of design to your home. Watch as Laura from Garden Answer shows us how to make vertical strawberry planters.

Be sure to keep the materials in mind – even Laura almost used toxic tubing for the project.

Materials she used includes:

  • Galvanized Duct Work and Cap
  • Self-Tapping Sheet Metal Screws
  • Drill, Bits and 2.5″ Bi-Metal Saw
  • 1/8 inch Quick Links (x6 pieces)
  • Chain (x3 pieces)
  • 1.5 inch Ring
  • Espoma Organic Potting Mix
  • Espoma Organic Bio-Tone
  • Strawberries of your choice
  • Moss
  • Hook

Step-By-Step Instructions:

Construction

  1. Connect your galvanized tubing. There is a rivet on where they should connect – be sure to work from one end to the other to make sure it is secure.
  2. Drill a drainage hole in the bottom of the cap with a metal drill bit. Place the cap on the corrugated end and use 5 self-tapping screws to secure.
  3. Measure your planting holes. Start an inch away from the seam to keep the integrity of the tubing. Each hole should be 7.5″ away from each other. Use a pencil to mark where to drill. This will be your starting place.
  4. Drill your holes with a 2.5″ bi-metal hole saw. Ask one person to hold the tubing while the other saws. You will end up with about 15-16 holes. Safety tip: Wear long sleeves, gloves and eye protection to protect yourself from the metal.
  5. Keep your gloves on while handling the tube as it is sharp.
  6. Drill 3 holes in the top to get it ready to hang.
  7. Attach 1/8″ quick links to each of the holes. Connect your chain to the quick links. Add one more quick link to the end of each chain and each of those will go into one 1.5″ ring.

Planting:

  1. Starting from the bottom hole, add in Espoma Organic Potting Mix and Bio-Tone Fertilizer. Pro Tip: Mixing Espoma Organic Potting Mix with the Organic Bio-Tone Fertilizer allows the strawberries to get a boost in their new container while releasing nutrients slowly to ensure the edibles are being fed for a long time.
  2. Plant each hole with a strawberry and move your way up! You can also add a plant at the very top!
  3. Take little pieces of moss and add them around the strawberry plant. This will help keep the plant inside of the planter and help clean up your project.
  4. Hang your planter with a hook (Laura uses an S-hook).
  5. Slowly water in your new planter – watering too fast can make the plants fall out since their roots haven’t been established yet.

Enjoy!

3 Common Seed Starting Problems and How to Fix Them

Keywords: starting plants indoors, can you grow tomatoes indoors, growing vegetables indoors

Starting seeds indoors is great way to make your garden successful from the start. Nurturing and watching seedlings grow from nothing into a fully grown plant can be incredibly rewarding.

Gardeners have asked how to be more successful with starting their own seeds and the problems usually boil down to simple, common mistakes. Here are the three most common mistakes and how to fix them.

In a few short weeks your seedlings will be ready to transplanted into the garden!

1. Problem: Not Enough Light

A common mistake beginner seed starters make is not giving their seeds enough light. New seeds need a lot of light to get growing. You can start with a south facing window, but if it doesn’t get 6+ hours a day, it probably won’t do.

Solution: Artificial lights.

Using grow lights, found at your local garden center, can provide the ample amount of light your seedlings need. Hang lights from chains, so you can lower and raise them as they grow. Keep lights about 2-3 inches above the seedlings.

2. Problem: Too Much or Not Enough Water

This is the most challenging part about starting seeds. Seedlings are incredibly delicate and need to be watered just right. Keep potting mix moist, but not wet.

Solution: Check seedlings regularly.

First, cover your seed starting container with plastic until the seeds germinate. This will trap any moisture in and will help keep the soil moist. Use a misting spray bottle until seedlings appear to avoid overwatering. Once your seedlings are established, water from the bottom. Your container should have drainage holes, so let your plants soak up the water from the holes to minimalize the risk of overwatering. Lastly, check your plants every day.

3. Problem: Starting Too Soon

Many beginners try to start seeds as soon as they buy them, instead of when the package advises. We all get a little excited to have green plants growing again, but if started too soon, they can die off from the cold.

Solution: Find out when your expected last frost is.

Seeds should usually be started four to six weeks before your last frost date. This will ensure that by the time your seedlings are ready to be transplanted, your soil will have started to warm up.  You may need to place your seedlings outside during the day and bring them in at night for a few days to get them acclimated to the outside temperatures. Before you plant your seedlings in the ground, use Espoma’s Bio-Tone Starter Fertilizer to give your soil and new seedlings the head start they deserve.

In a few short weeks you’ll be ready to transplant!