Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your backyard garden while using products and practices that are safe for you, your children, pets and the environment.

Success in any situation begins with understanding the location and proper soil preparation, which will lead to better results while reducing your efforts and saving you money. Your choice of plants, proper planting and feeding will lead to stronger, more durable and more productive plants.  Just like a person, proper care and nutrition will minimize health problems.

I like the benefits offered by Espoma plant foods. They are all natural, certified organic and safe for you and your pets.  Espoma plant foods offer all the nutrients a plant needs, provide beneficial microbes that help plants build stronger root systems and aid plants in uptake of nutrients.  At the same time, they are low in salts and are naturally slow releasing.  This feeds longer and minimizes any chance of fertilizer salt ( burn ) damage and all but eliminates excess nutrient running off.  There is no risk to wells or ground water.

Consider choosing the right fruits and vegetables for your space and light conditions. Read the plant tags and packages, ask the experts here at Hicks.  We can often create a lot of our own problems by not making the right choice of plants for the conditions.


Soil preparation is the first and most important step with any garden or lawn project.  Use  Soil Acidifier and Garden Lime to adjust your soils pH.  If the pH level is not correct for the plant, they cannot get nutrients from the soil they need to grow.  It is like you sitting for a meal with no utensils. When this happens you are wasting money, time and effort on material that will never be available to the plant.  In the worst case you could lose the plants as well.

Once the soil conditions are correct using Espoma BioTone Starter Plus when first planting or transplanting is like insurance for you plant and investment.  This plant food and mixture of special ingredients insures the quickest and strongest re-establishment of the plants in their new home.  This will make them more drought tolerant, more productive and stronger to fight off stress and disease on their own.

Feeding your plants regularly will keep them strong, health and more productive.  Feed established plants around you home twice a season.  Once in spring and again in fall at half the spring rate.  Feed your annuals, perennials and vegetables once a month during the growing season.  Follow the label instructions.

Stagger your vegetable plantings to extend you picking season and avoid too much being ready for harvest at one time.  Be careful how many tomatoes and zucchini plants you put in.  They are very prolific, and you could be overwhelmed.

You don’t have to have a large yard!  No problem.  Many fruits and vegetable can be grown in containers.  Be it a window sill dish garden or larger outdoor container, you can still enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables as well as lengthen you season.

The Espoma company products can provide you with soils, plant foods, both liquid and dry, as well as control products for the occasion pest.  All being natural and organic, safe for you, your children and your pets. For additional information on projects and products please refer to