Sun Gro’er Blog

Gro Your Own! Growing Business through Edible Gardening

Gro your own! LogoEdible gardening is hot! Lawn and garden spending reached $36.1 billion dollars in 2015 according to the National Gardening Survey, bouncing back from a five-year low. In 2015, the average homeowner spent $401 per household on yard or balcony gardens, as opposed to an average of $317 in 2014, and the numbers continue to grow. Heightened interest in green living, healthier eating, and food independence has driven this trend, inspiring homeowners to favor natural and organic growing methods. To support this growing industry, Sun Gro® Horticulture created its Gro Your Own™ edible lifestyle marketing campaign for OMRI Listed® skus representing its premium Black Gold®, Fafard®, and Sunshine® brands.
This NEW edible lifestyle campaign employs promotional how-to and product videos, trade ads, contests & sweepstakes, and web articles to help homeowners grow outstanding food crops with Sun Gro’s OMRI Listed® products. Gro Your Own™ promotional materials and resources allow retailers to better promote the Sun Gro products they sell. And, the campaign’s focus on year-round edible gardening seeks to extend the growing season and boost sales in the fall and winter, when most edible gardening subsides. This is an asset to independent garden centers that remain open through the year or exist in states with milder winters.

Videos and Web Articles

The Gro Your Own™ video series offers practical guides to edible gardening and features professional horticulturist and edible gardening expert, Jessie Keith. The short videos cover a variety of topics, from amending soil to growing artichokes and container tomatoes. Each is designed to offer accessible yet expert information to gardeners at all experience levels.
Last year over 375,000 gardeners accessed online gardening articles on Sun Gro retail webpages, with edible gardening topics being the most popular. Over 900 expert-driven gardening articles, written by nationally and regionally recognized horticulturists, cover many popular edible gardening trends. They also promote best-use practices and show great gardening results using Sun Gro retail products.
Videos and articles also create promotional opportunities for retail vendors. Direct your customers to Black Gold, Fafard, or Sunshine Advanced websites to help them grow better with Sun Gro.

Contests and Sweepstakes

Contests and Sweepstakes
Everyone loves a chance to win! That’s why we created a new series of bi-monthly Black Gold contests and sweepstakes designed to get the public excited about gardening. These promotions have quickly gained ground, since they were first launched February of 2017!
Black Gold sweepstakes winnings are made in partnership with other respected horticultural companies, including Gronomics®, Smart Pot®, Proven Winners®, and High Mowing Seeds. We have offered everything from raised bed kits to fall vegetable garden packages that engage and motivate our customer base to consider new products and ways to garden. Our winners follow up and share their successes with their winnings, inspiring further engagement and interest in our sweeps products. (Interested in partnering with us? Send an email to Bruce Adams.)
Garden photo contests have offered Black Gold customers another opportunity to win while showing off their beautiful gardens and produce! These have proven to be a great way to show how average gardeners find success with Black Gold.
(Visit our Black Gold Contests and Sweepstakes page to get the latest updates.)

Trade Ads Gro your own ad

Gro Your Own™ trade ads in top growing magazines give our products and campaign further visibility and leverage. They are designed to resonate with gardeners seeking to grow their own garden-fresh food.

High-Performing OMRI Listed® Mixes and Amendments

OMRI Listed LogoGardening success starts with great soil, and success yields repeat customers. Our diverse OMRI Listed® mixes and amendments are proven to help gardeners increase food production, naturally and organically. And, select products contain sustainably sourced and innovative ingredients, such as coconut coir, earthworm castings, and our proprietary blend of endomycorrhizae. Our mixes also contain Sun Gro’s patented Silicon RESiLIENCE®. Retailers and gardeners can also visit the our new website and product database to find natural and organic products that best fit their needs.
Eleven OMRI Listed® mix and soil amendment skus will be promoted in the Gro Your Own™ campaign

  1. Black Gold® Natural & Organic Potting Mix with RESiLIENCE®
  2. Black Gold® Seedling Mix with RESiLIENCE®
  3. Black Gold® Waterhold Cocoblend Potting Mix with RESiLIENCE®
  4. Fafard® Natural & Organic Potting Soil with RESiLIENCE®
  5. Sunshine® Natural & Organic Professional Growing Mix with RESiLIENCE®
  6. Sunshine® Advanced Mix #4 Growing Mix with RESiLIENCE®
  7. Sunshine® Advanced Rain Forest Blend with RESiLIENCE®
  8. Sunshine® Advanced Ultra Coir with RESiLIENCE®

Soil Amendments

  1. Black Gold® Just Coir
  2. Black Gold® Earthworm Castings
  3. Black Gold® Garden Compost Blend
© 2016 Sun Gro Horticulture Canada Ltd. All rights reserved. No materials contained herein may be duplicated or used in any way without the express written permission of Sun Gro Horticulture or its legal representatives.
® Black Gold is a registered trademark of ODIN Enterprises II, LLC. Used under license.
® Fafard, Sunshine Advanced, Sunshine and Sun Gro are registered trademarks of Sun Gro Horticulture Canada Ltd.
™RESiLIENCE and Our Expertise is Growing are being used as trademarks of Sun Gro Horticulture Canada Ltd.
Not all products available in all markets.

Sun Gro’s PAR Vegetable Garden, Since 2000

Sun Gro Employees and volunteers caring for our PAR garden in 2016
Sun Gro Employees and volunteers caring for our PAR garden in 2016.

Back in 2000, the Sun Gro® Horticulture corporate office in Agawam, MA moved to a new site that included a garden. The garden was originally used for display, but eventually, we transformed into the Plant a Row for the Hungry (PAR) vegetable garden. [The Plant a Row for the Hungry (PAR) program was launched in 1995 by the Association for Garden Communicators (GWA) and GWA Foundation as a public service to encourage gardeners to grow fresh produce for community food banks and soup kitchens.] The garden was expanded and upgraded in 2010 and has been yielding produce for our local food pantry ever since.

Sun Gro employees and our first PAR garden in 2001
Sun Gro employees and our first PAR garden in 2001.

Over the years, the Sun Gro® PAR garden volunteers/employees have planted, weeded, watered, and fertilized the garden and reaped the harvest. As the company has changed with time, so have our employees who volunteer in the garden. Plenty of longstanding staff have participated in the garden since the beginning, and there are always new employees willing to get their hands dirty to support the effort. Sometimes family members help out, too. It’s a community effort!

More recently, we invited outside volunteers to help keep our PAR garden productive. Our biggest help comes from the horticultural students from Westfield Technical Academy in nearby Westfield, MA. Our garden gives them hands-on training in garden prep and planting, and we are grateful for the help!  They come in spring to help us get the garden prepped and sometimes they help plant. They also help at harvest time when we weigh in our crops and deliver them to the Westfield Food Pantry, also in Westfield, MA.

Westfield Technical Academy students ready to volunteer in 2017
Westfield Technical Academy students ready to volunteer in 2017.

Like most gardens, we have bountiful harvests some years and other years the weather and weeds get out of hand, but it’s not just about our gardening success. Our PAR garden also teaches us about working together and committing time to our local community.

In our best harvest year we weighed in nearly 450 pounds of fresh produce, so we know our garden is making a difference! This year, we plan to do much better. Our volunteers have signed up for 2017 and are scheduled to start planting vegetables in late May. We will also be installing three raised beds (filled with Black Gold® container mixes), with lumber donated from Lucia Lumber Co. Inc. (Agawam, MA), and fencing to keep out unwanted wildlife.

Garden volunteers prepping beds in 2016
Garden volunteers prepping beds in 2016.
A thriving tomato in our 2016 PAR vegetable garden
A thriving tomato in our 2016 PAR vegetable garden.