The Garden Plot

I Can Compost THAT?

Garden Media Group

You can make compost in as little as four to six weeks with a compost tumbler. The secret is in the sauce.

Photo by Mantis

Tips for Adding Material to a Compost Tumbler

• Collect a variety of organic waste materials from your yard and garden.

• Be sure to include a mix of both nitrogen (green) and carbon (brown) ingredients for good balance.

• Do not add products that have been treated with chemical fertilizers or pest control products.

• If you have bulky items, such as corn cobs, melon rinds, or shrub clippings, shred before composting.

• Fill the compost tumbler with compostable ingredients, close the door, then turn the tumbler four or five times. Be sure to turn it daily.

List of Most Common Things to Compost

• Fresh grass Clippings

• Shredded leaves

• Kitchen trimmings and peels from vegetables and fruits

• Garden debris such as dead flowers and plants

• Black and white newspaper

• Rotted fruits and vegetables

• Pine needles

• Coffee grounds

• Tea leaves and bags (remove the staples)

Things You May Not Have Known You Could Compost

• Burned toast

• Citrus wastes

• Crab, shrimp and lobster shells

• Nut shells

• Potato peels

Photo by Mantis

Wait, I can Compost That?

You can add almost any organic material to your compost, and in small quantities you're unlikely to upset the balance of "greens" and "browns."

• Cardboard cereal boxes

• Human hair and animal fur

• Elmer's glue

• Fingernail and toenail clippings

• Fish bones

• Greeting card envelopes

• Grocery receipts

• Ivory soap scraps

• Kleenex tissues

• Lint from clothes dryer

• Manure (From horses, cows, chickens, rabbits, pigs or sheep. Do not add waste from dogs or cats)

• Milk (in small amounts)

• Old leather gardening gloves

• Old or outdated seeds

• Q-tips (cardboard, only)

• Weeds (Yes! The temperature inside the ComposTumbler gets hot enough to kill weed seeds!)

• Wooden toothpicks

2018 Edible Gardening Trends

Garden Media GroupToday it is almost impossible to escape social media, instant news, 24/7 connectivity and the mental exhaustion that follows. In Garden Media Group's 17th annual Garden Trends Report for 2018: Nature's Rx for Mental Wellness, nature is the best medicine.

The rising trend of wellness isn't just about what you put in your body; it's about keeping the mind and spirit healthy, too.

Here's a snapshot of the 2018 Garden Trends: Nature's Rx for Mental Wellness. The complete report is available for free download on Garden Media's Grow! blog (link to blog at bottom of page).

gardening trends

Grow Your Own Protein

There is a new consumer in town: The Flexitarian. Flexitarians are eating more plants and eating meat less often. Growing clean, sustainable, protein-rich foods at home is providing more control to the consumer. Keeping a balanced diet starts with feeding plants the right nutrients such as Espoma's new organic liquid plant food line.

Gardeners tend to plant more transplants as they are introducing something new to a garden. Growing healthy seedlings that are rich in protein, such as edamame, peas and quinoa, will help keep profits up and consumers happy.

gardening trends

Purple Reign

Purple is the color of 2018, mirroring Pantone's 2018 Ultra Violet. Purple goes beyond the vibrant color and often indicates nutrient density and antioxidants in food.

Grow more purple plants and colorful shrubs such as Bushel and Berry's new compact blueberry and blackberry plants. Purple foods promote mental focus which is the first step in achieving mental wellness.

Climate Controlled

People can no longer rely on historical data to predict the climate in their own backyards. To adjust to these unpredictable times, Garden Media has outlined four climate controlled garden types. From wind-resistant gardens and desert gardens to rain gardens and freeze-proof gardens, each collection is designed to guide garden centers and gardeners toward successful choices for their climates.

Keeping up with the climate conditions and changes will make gardeners more confident in their purchases.

The complete 2018 Garden Trends Report: Nature's Rx for Mental Wellness is available for free download now. Read Garden Media's GROW! blog for weekly trend updates and industry news.

Lily: Introducing the 2018 Summer Bulb of the Year

Garden Media GroupDazzling lilies set off colorful fireworks in the garden. Garden? Yes, in the garden! Many people are familiar with lilies as cut flowers but don't know that they can also add sparkle to the garden.

This is why the lily was selected to be the Summer Bulb of 2018.


Lilies, native to the Northern Hemisphere, have been a flower of significance for thousands of years. They are surrounded by symbolism.

The lily represents femininity, love, purity and a sense of transience. But lilies also have a wonderful history. In 1150, King Louis of France used an image of a lily on his shield as a symbol of his name (Louis or Loys) and power. The lily is also portrayed as a focal point in many historical paintings.

Plant the 2018 Summer Bulb of the Year

Summer flowers

Lilies are one of the most popular spring-planted flower bulbs. If you plant different varieties, you can have impressive flowers growing in the garden from June through September.

If you would like to enjoy lilies in your garden all summer, here are the varieties to choose and their flowering periods:

• Early June: Madonna Lily (Lilium candidum), 2-3 weeks in bloom

• Mid-June: Asian lilies, 2-3 weeks in full bloom

• Late June: Trumpet lilies, 2-4 weeks in bloom

• Early August: Oriental lilies, 3-4 weeks in bloom

• Mid-August: Nepalese lilies, 2-3 weeks in bloom

• September: Speciosum hybrid lilies, 3-4 weeks in bloom

There are lilies of every color, height and size to choose from

Planting lily bulbs

Planting lilies is easy. If you've ever planted daffodils or tulips, then you already know how to plant lilies. Follow these five steps:

1) Choose a spot that gets 4-6 hours of sun per day.

2) Dig a hole 4 to 6 inches deep. It's better to plant lily bulbs too deep rather than too shallow since planting them deep keeps them nice and cool and also encourages sturdy stems.

3) Loosen the soil at the bottom of the planting hole and place the lily bulbs in the hole. Keep a distance of 6 inches between the bulbs so the plants will receive enough sunlight when they start to grow.

4) Back fill the hole with soil.

5) Water the bulbs right away. This will ensure that their roots start growing more quickly.

Interesting facts

• Plant lilies as soon as you can after purchasing. The warmer it gets, the less likely they will grow tall and strong.

• If you can't plant immediately after purchase, store them in a cool, dark place such as in the refrigerator. This will keep shoots from emerging.

• The best time of year to plant Madonna lilies and Trumpet lilies is in the fall. This ensures the best flowering display. Plant other kinds of lilies in spring.

• During the flowering season, snip off spent flowers but leave 2/3 of the stem standing. This will keep lilies strong and healthy for years to come.

• Lily bulbs will also thrive in pots and plant containers. Just be sure that they have holes in the bottom so that excess water can drain away.

• Most importantly, have fun!

Composting in Winter: The Answers

Garden Media Group

Composting in winter is possible. By following a few simple tricks to control temperature and moisture, your compost tumbler will remain active and productive all winter long. Here are answers to some FAQ's about winter composting.

Composting in Winter — Can I Do it?

Regardless of where you live, you can compost all winter long! Active composting requires a consistent outside temperature of 40 degrees or more. And when temperatures fall below freezing, the decomposition process comes to a stop but as temperatures warm up in the spring, microbial activity will resume. So keep composting!

If you live in an area with mild winters, the process may slow down a bit, but there is no reason for you to stop or change your method.

In parts of the country where winters are colder, the best composters for all-year composting are those that are enclosed. They block out freezing elements such as rain and snow, and they store heat. Covers are even available for some composter models.

Composting can be a year-round activity

What is the Best Material to Compost During the Winter?

The key to winter composting is to add things that will keep your compost warm such as leaves, kitchen scraps and paper products, aka the "brown materials." You also need to continue feeding green matter to your compost to keep the bacteria alive and working.

By shredding material into small pieces, it will help speed up the decomposition process. Shredding organic waste speeds the composting process by 1,000 percent and "is the key to successful composting," says UC Berkeley. And Texas AgriLife Extension Service says, "Shredding material in the pile to particles less than two inches in size will allow [the pile] to heat more uniformly and will insulate it from outside temperature extremes."

Are Compost Tumblers Better for Winter Composting?

Compost tumblers are the most efficient systems for winter composting, and they also make year-round composting easier. A tumbler can be spun to mix the compost, has aeration, is self-contained and protects compost from hungry wildlife and harsh winter elements.

Compost tumblers come with a single drum or two compartments so one batch can be added to while the other matures. Because they are enclosed and elevated from the ground, compost tumblers are the easiest way to help keep compost active through cold winter months.

Create compost all winter to set your spring garden up for success

Does Compost Need to be Turned and Covered in the Winter?

While turning a compost pile is important when temperatures are above 40 degrees, in winter, you don't have to turn your pile as much, if at all. The rain or snow will keep it moist and by not turning you will keep any heat in and the bacteria inside as warm as possible.

To preserve any heat during the winter months, keep your compost covered with a generous layer of leaves, tarp, newspaper or cardboard. Surprisingly, snow on the top can also provide a nice insulating cover.

Can I Compost Indoors Instead?

Yes! You do not have to brave the cold in order to compost all winter long. If you have a heated shed or garage, you can move your Compost Tumbler indoors. You'll want to be sure to put it in an area where it's okay to get a little messy from loading/unloading and liquid drainage (compost tea).

Whatever you decide, be sure to have your compost tumbler ready for spring gardening. It will give you a head start on your garden chores!

Savor the Flavor of Summer Herbs Year-Round

Garden Media GroupWinter is right around the corner, which means for many, it’s time to prepare for the cold and put the garden to bed. Even though the outdoor garden is dormant, there is still a world of opportunity to grow indoors. Flavors of summer are one step away when you grow herbs on your kitchen counter.

You don’t need a yard to cultivate a garden — you can have it all indoors.

To savor the flavor of summer, all you need to do is, find a space indoors, choose your growing medium – soil, coco coir, sand, gravel or water – and begin growing your favorite herbs.

Almost any plant can be grown indoors, as long as the growing environment is suited to the plant’s needs. Traditional soil can be traded for water and other soil-less mixes.

And you’re not limited to herbs that love cold weather. Common herbs such as dill, parsley and rosemary thrive under grow lights and can provide flavorful flair all year long. Other easy to grow herbs include basil, mint, oregano, chives, thyme, and cilantro.

Starting an indoor fall herb garden is simple. Maintaining a healthy growing environment is the key to success.

It’s easy to grow food year-round in an indoor hydroponic garden.

Five Steps to Indoor Gardening Success

1. Turn on the lights. There are a lot of different options when it comes to the lights you can use in your indoor gardening system. The best light for your needs depends on the type of plants you want to grow. Large fruiting and flowering plants need more intense light compared to herbs. Choose a grow light approximately the same width as the shelving unit. When selecting your lights, consider the following light sources:

Fluorescent: Full-spectrum tubes such as T5, T8 and T12, use 75 percent less energy and last 10 times longer than traditional bulbs. Best for starting seeds and growing greens and herbs indoors.

Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs): Similar in size to traditional bulbs, CFLs are more efficient. CFLs do not emit much heat, so they can be placed closer to seedlings.

Light-emitting Diode (LED): Light, compact and efficient, LEDs emit only the colors plants absorb – red and blue – so they don’t waste energy.

2. Monitor the Medium. Growing plants in water? Make sure you provide plans with enough nutrients. Unlike traditional outdoor gardens, your plants depend on you and you alone – not nutrients found in the soil - to get enough food to eat. Indoor plants also grow more quickly and use less water compared to outdoor gardens. For the best results, regularly monitor and test water and soil pH levels.

3. Mimic the Outdoors. Heat, humidity and CO2 keep plants alive. Make sure your system is equipped with the proper air filtration systems that utilize the CO2 that plants use during photosynthesis. Systems vary depending on the indoor garden, but both beginners and advanced growers can benefit from products like the Ideal-Air™ Dehumidifiers for their portability and size options.

4. Feed and repeat. Feed your hungry indoor plants with an extra boost of fertilizer. Since most of the nutrients in an indoor growing system are quickly eaten by the roots, it’s important to monitor your plants to make sure they’re getting what they need. Choose organic fertilizers if you’re growing something you will eat.

5. Get to the root of it. Strong plants start from the bottom – with their roots! Help plants build a healthy root zone by combing the proper soil-less mix with the right with air pumps, stones and diffusers. Tailor your lights and feeding program to the plants you’re growing.

The key to growing a thriving garden indoors is to mimic the outdoors and monitor levels of Heat, humidity and CO2 to keep plants alive.

Now you’re ready to grow! Indoor gardening allows you to enjoy fresh food year-round. Bring the flavors of summer to your kitchen counter-top today. For more tips on how to start your own hydroponic garden, visit

Garden Media Group ignites buzz for clients, offers innovative public relations campaigns and secures top media placements and partnerships. The boutique PR and marketing firm is known as the best in the home, garden, horticulture, outdoor living, and lawn and landscape industries. The annual Garden Trends Report is one of the most published garden studies in trade and consumer news.