Scientists, doctors and trend spotters agree that stress and anxiety are at an all-time high in our society. We are so digitally connected, that there is really no “down time”. According to Garden Media Group’s 2018 Garden Trends Report, it has actually become a health concern. People are craving ways to disconnect, and surround themselves with nature. What better way than to visit your garden center?  But how do you get them in your door?

Benary has created an innovative consumer “magazine” called Be Inspired to help you get your customers excited about coming into your garden center and buying pansies. Be Inspired is chock-full of ideas for new ways to market pansies and irresistible craft projects for in-store events. The visual assets are free for you to download at Be_Inspired_Pansy.pdf . Just copy and paste it in your newsletter; print out a single project or print the whole magazine. It’s your choice. Here is a sneak peek at what you will find.

 

  • According to the “2015 Real Wedding Study” by TheKnot.com, fall and spring are now the most popular times of year for weddings. Why? They speculate it could be the cooler temperatures, lower venue prices and romantic colors- a perfect match for pansies and violas! Check out the creative boutonnieres, wedding favors and wedding flower ideas in Be Inspired.
  • Looking for Girls’ Night Out ideas? Be Inspired has lots of fun activities like making pansy ice cubes and bath bombs.
  • Back-to-school is a great time for a teacher’s gift. Just have your customers’ little ones follow the simple instructions in Be Inspired to create an adorable low-cost gift planter. This project also works as a thank you at the end of the school year.
  • Do you serve coffee and food in your garden center? Pansies and violas are edible! First, make sure your pansies haven’t been sprayed with anything harmful, and then create a memorable day by letting your customers decorate a doughnut with blooms or dress up an amazing salad.
  • With your help, your customers can enjoy pansies and violas all year. At the end of the season they can even share their garden memories by making pansy gift cards and gift wrap.

 

For more information on Inspire Plus™ and Inspire DeluXXe™ Pansies go to www.Benary.com.  You can also download our latest Do It BIG magazine with fun crafts and recipes for BIG® Begonias.

 

For me, seasons pass too quickly. In mid-December, it always feels like the growing season is a long time off and the short days and long nights seem endless. Once winter breaks, the action picks up fast and there are no dull moments. Suddenly, here we are at the first of July. Spring planting is done and, while anticipating the summer harvest, it’s already time to plan for fall harvest.

Where I live in hardiness zone 5, we have about 75 days until the first frost. Fall crops to sow NOW are Brussels Sprouts, Peas, Cauliflower, Cilantro, Green Onions, Cabbage and Broccoli. Based on my experience over many, many trials (and years) my current recommendations are…

Brussels Sprouts: If sown now, the best choice is Catskill Green. This heirloom type is full of traditional Brussels flavor and forms abundant heads in time for the late fall market.

Peas: Snap peas are by far the most popular type of pea showing up in the fall markets. Shoppers like them because they are string less and both the pod and the pea are sweet, crisp and edible. Sugar Sprint with its diminished string and sweet crisp flavor is our number one Fall harvest variety.

Cauliflower:  I prefer Snow Crown because this hybrid forms a good size crown that holds is color, shape and flavor and can remain in the field and follow an extended fall with ever increasing head size.

Cilantro: The trick to market fresh Cilantro is to harvest often and seed often. Your last crop of the season can be sown now and you will have fresh bunches for the fall market. The winner is Tasty Ole.

Green Onions: Like cilantro, the trick to green onions is to always have tender young coming on so harvest often and seed often. I prefer the variety White Bunching which is a real work horse and by far the most widely grown commercial variety.

Cabbage:  This is a wide category and our farm market growers have success with growing all four of the major types for fall. Green, Red, Oriental, Savoy.

  • Green: If you have grown FM Tasty Early Green Cabbage you know that the color, texture and flavor are what make it popular in the fresh market. Growers repeat the success with a fall crop sown directly in the field in early July.
  • Red: For a red cabbage for fall produce grow Red Express, great, eyecatching color and long post-harvest shelf life.
  • Savoy: Along with great color, here is one that you should offer as a premium novelty, Purple Savoy.

Broccoli: I’m going to suggest this novelty selection because “foodies” are all a buzz about it, it is best when harvested fresh and your average fall fresh market does not have it on board. The variety is called Artwork. It is a stem type with an abundance of tender small flower heads that form after the harvest of the terminal crown. Harvest and keep them on ice in the market and they command a premium price.

Basil: There is plenty of time to sow basil seeds. I suggest at least 3 sowing from now through August 21, each will yield fresh, no flower crops, perfect for the local market. I recommend two outstanding new cultivars. One: Dolce Fresca, traditional spicy flavor, broad deep green foliage and compact nodes, great for fresh bunching or in blister packs. Two: Sweet Dani Lemon, as the name suggests it has a lemon scented bouquet. The harvest is plentiful. Offer both types as micro greens or fresh bunching.

The following is a chart that I offer because it is requested so often.The type category is not intended to be botanically correct, instead it refers more to how I feel the consumer looks at the way that the product is packaged and sold.

CROP TYPE DAYS TO HARVEST FROST SURVIVAL
Brussels Sprouts Fruit 90-100 YES
Peas Fruit 70-80 YES
Cauliflower Fruit 60-80 NO
Cilantro Leaf 60-70 NO
Green Onions Fruit 60-70 YES
Cabbage Fruit 50-90 YES
Broccoli Fruit 50-70 YES
Beets Root 50-60 YES
Kohlrabi Fruit 50-60 YES
Turnips Root 50-60 YES
Bush Beans Fruit 45-65 NO
Collards Leaf 40-65 YES
Kale Leaf 40-65 YES
Leaf Lettuce Leaf 40-60 NO
Swiss Chard Leaf 40-60 NO
Spinach Leaf 35-45 YES
Basil Leaf 30-60 NO
Radishes Root 30-60 YES
Mustard Greens Leaf 30-40 NO