Better Soils From A Better Biochar

ARBORChar®, A Better Way to Grow

ARBORChar® is uniquely built to be a soil amendment and fertilizer, blending nutrients to target specific plant needs with biochar to help improve leaf vigor, root and fruit growth, and soil structure, while aiding in the proliferation of soil microorganisms. ARBORChar is designed to have neutral pH and produce minimal dust and it will not burn plant tissue. It’s made with biochar sourced from sustainably grown, untreated, unpainted, hardwood trees, and loaded with organic nutrients, minerals, blood meal, and bone meal. ARBORChar All Purpose Grow 5-6-4 and Root, Flower & Fruit 3-6-4 go above and beyond traditional biochar products.

What is Biochar?

Biochar is an extremely porous charcoal, rich in carbon, which enhances soils through retention of water and nutrients and increased soil biodiversity. The use of biochar to enhance soil productivity goes back 2000 years, when Amazonians smoldered agricultural waste in pits or trenches. Today, biochar is made through a modern process called pyrolysis, the thermal decomposition of organic matter in the absence of oxygen, producing a porous and activated carbon material which helps to build soil, conserve water, and sequester carbon.

Carbon Sequestration

The burning and natural decomposition of organic matter and agricultural waste adds large amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere. Biochar can reduce the growth in atmospheric greenhouse gas levels by holding carbon in soils for thousands of years. The production of biochar is a carbon-negative process which removes more CO2 from the atmosphere than released.

Water Retention & Soil Amendment

Biochar is recognized as offering several benefits to soil related to its porous nature and high surface area. The structure of biochar can attract and retain both water and water-soluble nutrients. Thus, nutrients, are retained for the plants benefit instead of leaching into water. The porous structure is also an extremely suitable habitat for beneficial micro-organisms, which play an essential role in soil fertility and plant growth.

Soil pH & Cation Exchange Capacity

Nutrients are more plant available in acid soils. Optimum soil’s pH range from 5.5 to 7.0. Biochar generally has high pH (e.g. 6 – 10), so in areas where a soil pH is low, biochar can help to buffer the acidity in the soil, making nutrients like Iron and Phosphorus available for plants to take up through their roots and minimizing deficiencies.

Biochar can help create soils with high Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC). Surfaces that are negatively charged like biochar and organic matter hold on to positively charged nutrients because opposite charges attract. The soil can then “exchange” these nutrients with plant roots.

Using ARBORChar:

Use ARBORChar on indoor and outdoor vegetables, herbs, annuals, perennials, trees, and shrubs. Add 1 to 4 tsp of ARBORChar per container or use 3 cups to cover 200 sq. ft. Mix in 1 to 6 inches below the soil surface in new planting beds, around established plants, or in root zone when planting. Repeat applications throughout the growing season every two to four weeks to maintain optimal nutrition. Water in thoroughly after applications. For best results, plant with compost and water with NutriRoot.

All Purpose Grow 5-6-4 offers a balanced package of NPK for general plant growth as well as 6% Calcium to help inhibit Blossom End Rot and 2% Magnesium to prevent yellowing. Root, Flower & Fruit 3-6-4 has a reduced nitrogen percentage to allow plants to focus on rooting and fruiting and contains 10% Calcium, and 2.5% Magnesium.

ARBORChar is available in 1 & 4 lbs. bags and covers 200 to 800 sq. ft. Offer your customers the Fertilizer & Water Manager Display. Stocked with NutriRoot and ARBORChar, this display is designed with extra messaging to help you sell these unique products. Earn more profit with the FREE, corrugated display, without taking up a lot of space. It also comes pre-stocked for an easy and time saving set up.

About Arborjet®, Inc.

Founded in 1999, Arborjet has developed the leading tree injection equipment and formulations to protect trees while supporting the landscape industry. After years of research, Arborjet is pleased to also bring effective and sustainable solutions to the home gardener.

Order Now Using Program Number: A93E2

Espoma: Plan Now For A Profitable Spring Selling Season

Digital Marketing:

Digital has become one of the most effective ways to communicate with your customers and drive foot traffic into your stores. However, this new style of communication is not just taking product or price promotions from print vehicles and placing them on digital communication platforms. The optimum format for these – whether blog entry, email message or Facebook post – is to educate the reader on the selected topic, weaving the associated products into the text and positioning your store and associates as THE experts in any gardening project. That means content is critical to the success of these efforts. Espoma Organic posts blogs weekly and this content is available for you to use in your digital advertising campaigns. Visit the blog at http://www.espoma.com/espoma-blog/.

There is also great video content for you to share and embed in your own campaigns at www.youtube.com/espomavideo.

Ask your Espoma Territory Sales Manager how to get started with this fresh new content.

Late Winter:

There are still sales to be made indoors with the four new Espoma Organic indoor plant foods. These 8 oz. liquid concentrates contain natural proteins and beneficial microbes that provide beautiful results. Each has the new innovative Easy Dose cap for a perfect pour every time with no measuring and no mess.

Watch the Easy Dose video here.

Be sure the new Organic Indoor! Houseplant Food, Organic Cactus! Succulent Plant Food, Organic Orchid! Bloom Booster, and Organic Violet! African Violet Plant Food are all on your winter sets now!

Getting Set for Spring:

Bio-tone Starter Plus:

Talk to your Arett Sales Representative about Espoma Organic’s Bio-tone Starter Plusthe ultimate starter plant food. Bio-tone Starter Plus combines all natural and organic plant nutrients with humates, exclusive Bio-tone Microbes and both Endo and Ecto mycorrhizae. The result is a plant food that grows new root mass very quickly to ensure transplant success. It’s like an insurance policy for your customers, reducing returns and costly replacements.

Final thought:

Soon, there will be new hires that will need training and old hands that might need a refresher on organic gardening products. Be sure to sign up and complete the Espoma Organic Certified Dealer program to train staff. This innovative program is available 24/7 at espomadealer.com to keep associates current on how and why Espoma Organic products can help customers succeed in all of their gardening projects.

Plan now for a profitable spring selling season!

Order Now Using Program Number: E60E1

What Makes Dave Thompson’s Organic Healthy Grow® Different?

Pearl Valley Farms™, one of the nation’s first self-sustaining egg farms, is home to nearly two million chickens. Their chicken litter – based fertilizer, Dave Thompson’s Organic Healthy Grow®, is just one component of full-circle sustainability and vertical integration at Pearl Valley Farms.

Whether your customers are elbow-deep in their vegetable garden or simply enjoying the view from their backyard patio, there’s no denying the power of plants in enriching our lives.

Healthy Grow is proud to provide a full line of fertilizers that are made with only the purest, most wholesome ingredients possible to ensure vigorous growth throughout a plant’s lifecycle. Dave Thompson’s Organic Healthy Grow Fertilizer:

  • Tomato – 3 lb., 6 lb. bag
  • All Purpose – 3 lb., 6 lb. bag
  • Early Start – 3 lb., 6 lb. bag
  • Bulbs & Bloom – 3 lb., 6 lb. bag
  • Tomato – 3 lb., 6 lb. bag
  • Rose & Flower – 3 lb., 6 lb. bag
  • Acid Loving Plants –6 lb. bag

“The Way It’s Made Matters™

Dave Thompson’s Organic Healthy Grow starts simply – with chicken litter from healthy, egg-laying chickens fed a calcium-rich diet. The litter is collected and left to air-dry and break down in an indoor, state-of-the-art, composting facility. Healthy Grow compost is regularly and carefully turned during the 45-day long process to ensure complete aeration, a vital aspect behind promoting microbial growth. The aerobically composted chicken manure is then combined with organic inputs to reach their specific formulation. Many of Dave Thompson’s Organic Healthy Grow products are OMRI listed approved for organic gardening and lawns.

 How Is Dave Thompson’s Organic Healthy Grow® Different?

Dave Thompson’s Organic Healthy Grow controls every aspect of the manufacturing process, raw material, and are committed to independents garden centers.

  • Perfectly designed packaging that sits well at the shelf level
  • Granular, low odor fertilizer that is naturally high in calcium and high microbe activity
  • A competitively priced, high performance product that results in higher margins for you
  • An integrated marketing plan developed to build brand equity and drive awareness in order to boost sales at retail

An Integrated Marketing Plan Designed for Retailers

Healthy Grow has developed a robust integrated marketing plan to increase sales and be a solution provider to you. Their integrated marketing programming, combined with their cost-effective, high-margin product will help drive consideration and trial at the point of purchase. Healthy Grow also provides a variety of additional marketing programs.

  • POP material
  • Hassle free digital Rebate program – Healthy Grow handles 100% of the redemption process
  • Pandora radio advertising
  • Community garden cause initiatives
  • Local television partnerships
  • Digital advertising
  • Social advertising
  • Easy to navigate, mobile friendly website
  • Product locator

These are just some of the tools they have in their arsenal to drive Healthy Grow sales at the retail level. For questions or additional information on Healthy Grow products or marketing, please contact your Arett sales rep or email marketing@pearlvalleyfarms.com.

Order Now Using Program Number: P84E1

Balanced & Fast Nutrition With Dr. Earth® Life® All Purpose Fertilizer

Dr. Earth® Life® All Purpose Fertilizer is a true pelletized and homogenous organic all purpose fertilizer that produces remarkable results because nutrients are released quickly yet continue to feed for several months. The ultra-premium scientific formula provides optimum levels of primary essential plant nutrients, including micronutrients and multi-minerals. TruBiotic® ensures organic nutrients are thoroughly broken down then released in the soil for plant roots to absorb them as they are needed. Feeds for several months. Great for every plant in the garden. This is Dr. Earth’s easiest to use fertilizer and can be applied to the soil without having to be worked in.

Life is infused with Advanced TruBiotic® – consisting of “Five Champion Strains” of beneficial soil microbes and eighteen select strains of ecto and endo mycorrhizae – which contributes to drought tolerance, enhanced nutrient availability, and increased plant performance. The Dr. Earth® probiotics are a most complete “broad-spectrum” bio-active package designed to work synergistically with the raw organic nutrients that make up the Life® formula. This spectacular blend builds soil health, promotes disease resistance, and assists growth for remarkable plants every time.

Dr. Earth® Life® All Purpose Fertilizer is rich in wild-caught Alaskan fish bone meal, wild-caught Alaskan fish meal, valley-grown alfalfa meal, high country feather meal, naturally-mined potassium sulfate, aged bat guano, cold water kelp meal, and MicroActive™ micronutrient-rich seaweed extract (synergistically boosted with 11% micronized humic acids for maximum bioavailability).

Dr. Earth® Life® All Purpose Fertilizer is ideal for providing balanced and fast nutrition for all vegetables, flowers, bedding plants, potted plants, all trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials, and even spot treating lawns.

Order Now Using Program Number: D71E1

Bring A Dose Of Nature Indoors

As the temperatures fall and days get shorter, your customers are bringing their passion for growing indoors. Be ready for this new wave of gardening business by stocking up with everything they will need to keep things growing, including containers, flowering plants, herbs, seeds, microgreens, and organic products. What organic products will they need?

Help them bring a dose of nature indoors with four new Espoma Organic indoor plant foods. These 8 oz. liquid concentrates contain natural proteins and beneficial microbes that provide beautiful results. Each has the new innovative Easy Dose cap for a perfect pour every time with no measuring and no mess.

Watch the Easy Dose video:

Be sure to add the new Indoor! – Cactus! – Orchid! & Violet! to your fall / winter mix today.

And be sure to help them keep their plants pest free with the new Insect! Insect Spray. This dual action formula contains pyrethrins and canola oil botanical insecticides and kills aphids, mealybugs, scale and whitefly.

Complete the indoor offering with Shine! Leaf Polish to keep their plants healthy and looking their best.

The easiest and most effective way to present these new and innovative organic indoor gardening products is the new Espoma Organic LD6 Indoor Display. This small footprint display is like a vending machine in your store to present all six new Espoma Organic Indoor SKUs and maximize sales.

And Don’t Forget Organic Potting Soils:

Be sure to keep your shelves full of the soils they will need to keep their homes green through fall and the winter months. Look to the Espoma Organic line of potting soils to give them the best results and keep them coming back for more. Espoma Organic Potting soils are rich blends of only the finest ingredients to ensure success.

Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix is a rich, premium blend of sphagnum peat moss, peat humus and perlite that has been enriched with Myco-tone® and fortified with worm castings.

  • For all indoor and outdoor containers
  • Enhanced with Myco-tone®
  • Fortified with worm castings

Espoma Organic Orchid Mix is a blend of chunky western fir bark, perlite and charcoal to provide the ideal growing environment for orchids.

  • Improves drainage and aeration
  • Promotes growth and blooming
  • For orchids and other epiphytes

Espoma Organic Cactus Potting Soil Mix is a rich, premium blend of sphagnum peat humus, peat moss, sand and perlite that has been enriched with Myco-tone®.

  • All natural potting soil mix for cactus, palm, and citrus.
  • Provides optimum aeration and drainage
  • Reduces drought stress
  • Promotes root growth

Espoma Organic African Violet Mix is a rich, premium blend of sphagnum peat moss, peat humus and perlite. All natural premium soil mix for African Violets.

  • Improves aeration and moisture retention
  • For African violets and other house plants
  • Promotes root growth

Planning for Spring 2017:

Don’t forget to take advantage of current programs to be sure you’re in stock for spring 2017. Contact the Espoma Company to learn about our most profitable drop ship programs available through Arett Sales. Also, the Arett Sales warehouse early order program is open now – look for program E60S1 to order today. Be sure to see all the product categories Espoma Organic can offer:

  • Organic Plant Foods – the ‘tones.’
  • New Easy Dose Liquids
  • Espoma Organic Potting Mixes
  • Espoma Organic Lawn Foods
  • Earth-tone Pesticides
  • Organic supplements and plant foods

Final thought:

Soon there will be new hires that will need training and old hands that might need a refresher on organic gardening products. Be sure to sign up and complete the Espoma Organic Certified Dealer program to train staff. This innovative program is available 24/7 at espomadealer.com to keep associates current on how and why Espoma Organic products can help customers be successful in all of their gardening projects.

Plan now for a profitable spring selling season!

Check out our VOH booth to shop now!

Industry Applauds New Black Gold Packaging from Sun Gro Horticulture

From coast to coast distributors and dealers have congratulated Sun Gro on the packaging refresh of their premium, high-quality Black Gold potting mix line.

The dynamic new packaging features:

  • A stylized Black Gold logo incorporating the existing gold vignette
  • Bold, modern, attention-grabbing fonts
  • Dynamic photographic flower, vegetable and plant images that are easily identifiable and “pop” in contrast to the black background of the packaging
  • Large, color-coded label “shields” similar to the existing packaging to differentiate at the shelf
  • Strong feature “call outs” such as 6-month feed, all natural and the Sun Gro patented RESiLIENCE® logo

Sun Gro is quick to point out that although the packaging is new, it’s the same high-quality, professional ingredients on the inside that count; hence the launch theme Beauty on the Outside. Quality on the Inside™.

Black Gold® is Sun Gro’s top-selling retail line of premium potting mixes, specialty mixes and garden amendments. The widely successful brand is in great demand by gardening retailers and consumers across the U.S. The family of Black Gold products consistently yields great gardens, services almost every gardening need and comes in a variety of package sizes.

Black Gold mixes are positioned as a higher end and a better quality product than their competition; patented beneficial plant nutrient that results in more vigorous plants, delayed wilt, stronger roots and earlier flowering. RESiLIENCE provided meaningful differentiation and a competitive advantage when comparing one brand of potting mix to another – and only Sun Gro mixes have RESiLIENCE.

The new Black Gold packaging retail story is being supported with a new web site www.blackgold.bz, digital and social media including: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube, monthly e-newsletters and web articles, in-store point of sale materials, radio and TV sponsorship.

Sun Gro’s Black Gold®, Fafard®, and Sunshine® retail potting mixes, specialty mixes, and amendment products are available through Arett Sales, making them fast and easy to order.

And for 2017, Greg Kokaska, Sun Gro District Sales Manager, has worked with the Arett buyers to create these fabulous, money saving deals. The response from IGCs at the Arett Open House was positive and overwhelming. Greg is reminding all to take advantage of these hot offers. See your Arett sales rep to take advantage of these specials!

Here’s a recap:

Black Gold® and Fafard® Big Bag Mix & match Truckload Drop Ship Promo

  • 20% OFF Black Gold All Purpose Potting Mix, Natural & Organic Potting Mix and Moisture Supreme Container Mix – 16 qt, 1 cu. ft. and 2 cu. ft.
  • 10% OFF Black Gold 1 cu. ft. Garden Soil and 1 cu. ft. Black Gold Garden Compost
  • 20% OFF Fafard Ultra Container, Fafard Ultra Planting, Fafard Natural & Organic and Fafard Professional Potting Mix, 1 cu. ft. and 2 cu. ft.
  • 10% OFF Fafard Premium Top Soil and Fafard Natural & Organic Compost

Greg also noted that there are specials available out of the Arett Warehouse, including small package sizes for indoor sets “one case at a time.” In addition, there are extra discounts for the 1 cu. ft. and 2 cu. ft. bags of Black Gold and Fafard for dealers who cannot place a drop ship order. And for those dealers who cater to the hydro indoor growing segment, there is a special warehouse offering at pallet price of Sunshine® Mix #4 with Mycorrhizae, 3.0 cu. ft. – Sun Gro’s most popular grow mix for extreme performance.

Check out our VOH booth to shop now!

Meeting The Demand For Harsh-Ingredient-Free Lawn & Gardening Products

As consumers increasingly shun chemicals and embrace natural products, the demand for harsh ingredient-free fertilizers and plant food products continues to grow. Companies, like Purely Organic Products, LLC are meeting the need for effective lawn and gardening products. With no harsh ingredients, no biosolids and no manure, Purely Organic Products, LLC line of fertilizers, plant food products and yard sprays, provides consumers with a much-needed, convenient, family-friendly alternative.

The company has devoted over 10 years to formulating plant-based products that work.

For years, professional sports stadiums and municipalities have been utilizing Purely Organic Products, LLC fertilizers to keep their fields green and pristine. And growers have been utilizing the plant management products to boost their crop yields, without using harsh ingredients.

With the 2013 launch of Purely Organic Products, LLC consumer products line, homeowners can now take advantage of the same proven, harsh-ingredient-free products that professional sports stadiums and agricultural growers have been relying on for years.

All of Purely Organic Products, LLC lawn and gardening products are based on their mission of, “caring for your yard while keeping children, pets and the environment in mind.”

According to market research company, Packaged Facts, sales of natural and organic lawn and garden supplies reached $475 million in 2014, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.4% since 2010.

“The majority of sales come from fertilizers and growth media products, with faster growth coming from pesticides, especially those related to edible gardening,” says David Sprinkle, research director at Packaged Facts. “Natural and organic product sales growth is being partly driven by increased interest in edible gardening particularly by younger consumers who are most concerned over the health and safety of chemical products.”

Proven Plant Food Products for Growing Edible Gardens Without Harsh Ingredients
From growing tomatoes and vegetables to feeding plants, flowers and culinary herb gardens, Purely Organic Products, LLC line of plant food products meet a wide-range of gardening needs. All of the products are designed for both indoor and outdoor use and enable consumers to nourish their flowers and plants without turning to harsh ingredients. Tomato & Vegetable Plant Food 8-8-8 and Fish Packs are ideal for feeding produce gardens. Purely Herb is designed for feeding culinary herb gardens and Solo Packs All-Purpose Plant Food is perfect for nourishing plants and flowers. And both Fish Packs and Solo Packs boast dissolvable packs, for pre-measured, mess-free feeding.

Lawn Care Products that Promote a Lush, Green Lawn
Achieving a lush, green lawn without utilizing synthetic fertilizers is finally a reality thanks to Purely Organic Products, LLC line of plant-based lawn care products. With Lawn Food and Liquid Lawn Food, the company’s plant-based granular and liquid fertilizers and Turf Restore, their lawn repair product, homeowners can achieve an enviable, green lawn. And with no restrictions on re-entry time, children and pets are free to play on the lawn immediately after application.

Pure Defense- For Warding Off the Most Common Pests and Weeds
Weeds and crabgrass can wreak havoc on a lush lawn; and ticks, mosquitoes and grubs can put a damper on backyard fun. Purely Organic Products, LLC Pure Defense product line allows consumers to combat these common culprits without utilizing harsh ingredients. The Pure Defense product line includes 4 proven products- Tick & Mosquito Guard, Grub Shield, Crabgrass Barrier and Weed Shield– all of which are made from effective, botanical oil blends and contain no harsh ingredients.

Whether consumers are interested in growing an edible garden without relying on synthetic plant food products, or they are caring for their lawns, and combating pests and weeds, Purely Organic Products, LLC lawn and gardening sought-after products are meeting the growing demand for harsh ingredient-free alternatives that work.

Order now using program number: P96S1

Bringing Gardening Indoors

By Abby Kleckler
Managing Editor, Lawn & Garden Retailer

In a seasonal industry, a non-seasonal department that has a modern look and attracts customers of all ages, particularly a younger shopper, seems promising.

This is exactly what Brian Riddle, owner of Homestead Gardens near Annapolis, Maryland, has created with its Modern Homesteading department.

The 2,500-square-foot area opened in March and features products for indoor gardening, food production, beekeeping, aquaponics and much more.

In this Q&A, Lawn & Garden Retailer spoke with Riddle about what he’s seen so far and the potential he sees for the industry in this emerging category.

L&GR: What got you started and why did the idea of “modern homesteading” appeal to you and your business?

Brian Riddle: Since I rejoined the family business in 2011 I’ve been naturally taking a fresh look at all the things that we do and trying to find ways to improve what works and how to maybe move away from things that aren’t working and restructure them. And I’ve always been keen on trying to create year-round departments that help bring foot traffic in the door.

I’ve felt strongly that our store does a great job with conversion but getting them in the door is the largest challenge, and I think from what I’ve learned from my contacts and study in our industry is that’s where we’re all having the greatest challenge is maintaining that foot traffic.

In that realization we have been looking at ways to reconfigure the store, and Clint Albin [from Garden Media Group] started to share this idea in the indoor gardening category about a year and a half ago, so we started to explore some other indoor gardening retail businesses and get a little better understanding of what the category involves.

I was very skeptical and sort of fell into the stereotype where I just didn’t think that that was the category I was interested in until I better understood it.

Through this journey I’ve realized there was a huge opportunity not only to create a year-round category but to also introduce a different customer to our store and also take our existing customers and introduce them to an entirely different way to garden that’s in many ways more flexible and more conducive to the community that we are growing into as the density where our business is based is pretty dense.

The traditional growth in our garden center is kind of subsiding with virtually no more housing developments being put in; it’s more going apartments and condos. This gives us an opportunity to serve people in those types of residential settings that still have a passion and a desire to grow.

L&GR: What type of customer does this department appeal to?

Riddle: It’s still very preliminary, so I don’t want to be overconfident in my evaluation, but what I’m seeing right now and the biggest highlight is that we’re seeing a younger customer and certainly creating a younger audience that’s interested.

I think that is yet another problem that many garden centers are faced with; our core customer is an aging customer and so I think we’ve seen a very diverse customer and at this point we’ve seen very little of the assumed customer, if you would, or the stereotype.

Through our educational programs and our introduction, we’ve seen a very broad base of people coming and certainly we’re getting some younger people, and I think that’s a real win.

L&GR: Speaking of educational programs, you have 15 seminars that go through the end of July. What role does the educational component play in getting people interested in modern homesteading?

Riddle: I think we’re trying to create an information/educational series of events to really help highlight all of the different applications of what we call modern homesteading. To give this new department sort of a full-circle, well-rounded approach, we knew indoor in itself was not going to be enough to support what we have, an entire department and the staff that comes with it.

It’s beekeeping, it’s composting, it’s various aspects of indoor gardening — it could be lighting, it could be nutrient management, it could be temperature, environmental control. Seminars give us another way to talk about all the different aspects of what we’re doing and sort of validate to our current base of customers that this is a commitment on our part and we really are aiming to serve at a very high level with all the support that’s needed. It’s a fresh way to sort of bring attention back to some of the things that we’ve been doing, but not necessarily highlighting, all under the brand of modern homesteading.

Teachers are another major source or target for us as we evolve our marketing with our “Thursdays are for Teachers.” We eventually want to get it into the schools and into the classroom, and I think it’s a great way to get young people exposed. Hopefully the school will put a system of some sort in the classroom but it’s also something students can bring home, and they can do it on the kitchen counter or in their bedroom.

I think the applications of these products are virtually limitless and something that’s not intimidating and something they’d be comfortable bringing home.

Many of our schools in the market that Homestead serves may not even have a space that’s available on the outside, so the accessibility is universal. The growing season and the school year do not overlap all that well, and this is year-round and can be adapted to their calendar at any time.

From a school standpoint, I think it’s really an ideal way to garden.

L&GR: Do you see this as a category other garden centers should be embracing, and do you have any tips for them?

Riddle: I think that all garden centers need to continuously explore new categories that naturally fit in the current product mix. In the case of Homestead, we’re very much a lifestyle store and outdoor living super center, so I think the definition of a garden center needs to be sort of revisited and open minded.

I think this particular category is such a natural fit because for our current customer this plays right to their passions and things that they love to do, so I think there’s a world of opportunity to develop our current customers into it.

For the smaller, urban customer, I think it is such a great way to serve a segment of the community that a large part of the products that we sell have very little if any opportunity in those settings.

The nice part about this department, and there are not many things in my store that are this way, is that once it’s set up, it doesn’t have the seasonal reconfiguring that we have to do in the rest of our store.

We are constantly transforming our store from season to season and although this department will have some merchandising changes, for the most part it’s a pleasure to have something that once you put it together, the bulk of it stays in its configuration. I think that we are happy to not have to break it down every three months.

I do want to stress that this category is coming and it’s not exclusive to small independents.

I do think that this trend is identified, and the larger chain retailers are going to be moving into this as well, so I think the opportunity is now to get in front of this and take advantage of it and really be established as the expert in your marketplace before they get out in front of you. I do think there’s a lot to be said for being the first in your space.

I personally believe this is going to be a tremendous success and add-on to our business, and all of the reservations and sort of concern that I had as I went through the decision-making process; none of my worries have ever been materialized.

It has been nothing but positive from all those who have seen it, and we have had nobody question the legitimacy of what we were doing. It’s been pretty remarkable.

(Article provided by Lawn & Garden Retailer)

New Black Gold® Packaging From Sun Gro Horticulture

black_gold_packaging

Beauty on the Outside. Quality on the Inside.™

All the Riches of the Earth®

Sun Gro Horticulture is pleased to announce that their premium, high-quality Black Gold Potting Mix brand has been refreshed with dynamic, attention–getting packaging.

Bruce Adams, Sun Gro Marketing, points out that although the packaging is new, it’s the same high-quality, professional ingredients on the inside that count; hence the theme Beauty on the Outside. Quality on the Inside™.

Adams pointed out some of the design enhancements:

  • Refreshed, stylized Black Gold logo incorporating the existing gold vignette
  • Bold, modern, attention-grabbing fonts
  • Dynamic photographic flower, vegetable and plant images that are easily identifiable and “pop” in contrast to the black background of the packaging
  • Large, color-coded label “shields” similar to the existing packaging to differentiate at the shelf
  • Strong feature “call outs” such as 6-month feed, all natural and the Sun Gro patented RESiLIENCE® logo

Black Gold® is Sun Gro’s top-selling retail line of premium potting mixes, specialty mixes and garden amendments since 1983. The widely successful brand is in great demand by gardening retailers and consumers across the U.S. The family of Black Gold products consistently yields great gardens, services almost every gardening need and comes in a variety of package sizes.

Adams noted that, “Black Gold mixes are positioned as a higher end and a better quality product than our competition; now, more so than ever with the addition of RESiLIENCE®. RESiLIENCE® is our beneficial plant nutrient that can result in more vigorous plants, delayed wilt, stronger roots and earlier flowering when added to a growing medium.”

“Our new refreshed packaging conveys the contemporary imagery typically associated with higher-quality, premium products”, he said.

The new Black Gold packaging retail story will be supported with a new web site www.blackgold.bz, digital and social media including: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube, monthly e-newsletters and web articles, in-store point of sale materials, radio and TV sponsorship.

The new packaging will be phased in starting in the fall of 2016.

* OMRI Listed®, worm castings and RESiLIENCE® enriched in selected mixes

Order now using program number: S84S1

Orcon Live Beneficial Bugs

Arett Outlook May 2016

Spring is here and Orcon Ladybugs and Lacewings are ready to fly your way. We have plenty of live beneficial bugs, packaged and ready to ship – praying mantis, ladybugs, earthworm (red wigglers), grub control, flea destroyer, and beneficial nematodes, to name a few. Plus we have specialty beneficial insects you can offer without having to stock live bugs, available as pre-paid certificates (formerly known as mailbacks).

Recently the city of Irvine CA, population 236,000, voted to use organic pesticides as the first line of defense fighting bugs. It is a trend that is growing, especially with homeowners. As more and more people look to natural and organic solutions, beneficial insects can fill that need.

While Orcon/Organic Control, Inc. offers 10 live bugs, they also have a complete line of beneficial insects that you can carry without having to stock live bugs. Their Pre-Paid Certificates (Certs) are like gift cards, redeemable for live bugs. Your customer purchases the Cert from you, then contacts Orcon and Orcon sends the live bugs directly to your customers’ door. From favorites like beneficial nematodes to specialty insects like aphytis for scale control, to predatory mites for spider mite control, Orcon has 14 Pre-Paid Certificates to choose from. They also offer a free counter display, with the purchase of four or more cases.

Here are a few of the specialty beneficial insects available; see their catalog for a complete listing:

  • Predatory mites aggressively go after spider mites, other mites, and thrips, and eat them right up. They can be used indoors or out and are a popular control for cash crops. The Predatory Mite Cert has been the fastest growing Pre-Paid Certificate for the past two years.
  • Trichogramma, for caterpillar control, works on webworms, tomato horn worms, and budworms – 230 in all. An egg parasite, it is best to release when you see the moth or the first sign of damage.
  • Aphytis melinus controls scale by laying an egg under a young scale, thus killing it. Cryptolaemus is a small beetle, only about 5 mm, with a black body and an orange head. They dine on mealybug and the Cryptolaemus larvae look just like a mealybug-a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
  • Delphastus is another small beetle with a large appetite for whitefly.

Whether you choose live or Pre-Paid Certificates Orcon has the right bug for your store and your customer.

Order Now Using Program Number: O32D1