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May 2020

Espoma Organic Products

By Gardening Blog No Comments

At Himmel’s, we take pride in carrying products that are safe for our neighbors and for our planet. Plus, our goal is for our customers to find great joy – and success – in their gardening endeavors. That is why we love carrying a wide selection of Espoma Organic gardening products!

One of our favorite products is Espoma Biotone Starter Plus. This granular fertilizer contains both endo and ecto mycorrhizae, which are beneficial microbes that result in larger root mass and bigger blooms. Application of Biotone Starter Plus at planting time reduces transplant loss, and is recommended for use on trees, shrubs, flowers, herbs, and veggies.

For vegetable, herb and flower gardening, we recommend a top-dressing of Espoma’s Organic Mushroom Compost. This rich and beneficial compost improves poor soils, which helps plants flourish as they are nourished at the root. You can check out results in our raised bed gardens, featured in our ‘What’s in the Garden’ video series.

We especially love Espoma’s Garden Tone which does wonders for vegetable and fruit plants due to its perfect blend of important nutrients including: Nitrogen, Phosphate, Soluble Potash, Calcium, and Magnesium. The science behind this special combination guarantees bigger and more delicious vegetables!

At Himmel’s, we carry a large selection of rose bushes, from beautiful and floriferous knockout roses to fragrant, old-fashioned roses like those from grandma’s garden. Many of our neighbors ask us how to keep these gorgeous flowers blooming and healthy. We recommend Espoma Rose Tone, a slow-release granular fertilizer that can be used the entire growing season to encourage prize-winning blooms. To combat pesky Japanese beetles and rose slugs, or treat for powdery mildew or other fungal diseases, we recommend Espoma’s Organic Neem Oil. Neem oil is an all-natural and highly effective 3- in- 1 fungicide, miticide, and insecticide that works to kill eggs, larvae and adult insects which may cause damage and lead to other problems.

Whether it’s for your summer palms and tropicals, acid-loving rhododendrons and azaleas, blooming annuals and perennials, or to grow the biggest and juiciest tomatoes in town, Espoma has the perfect fertilizer to suit your gardening needs.

Some of the other organic products that we carry include Espoma’s:

  • Lawn Starter
  • Seed Starter
  • Potting Mix (in 3 different sizes)
  • Multi-use Fungicides
  • Assorted Insecticides
  • Liquid Plant and Cactus Food
  • Weed Preventer
  • Lawn food for every season
  • All-purpose Garden Soil
  • Veggie and Flower Garden Soil
  • Raised Bed Mix Soil

And many others!

Come in today and shop our large selection of plants and products. And if you want to learn more about Espoma’s great selection, visit their website, and check out their cool blog Garden Answer featuring the smart and savvy Laura LeBoutillier!

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms, 2 Ways

By Gardening Blog No Comments

We have been loving the fresh produce now available in our store, arriving weekly from a co-op of Maryland and Pennsylvania based farms and organized by AgriChicks. This past week we were fortunate to receive gorgeous portobello mushroom caps, some the size of a dessert plate! Kathy and I shared our excitement and potential recipes with one another and decided to try crab-stuffed portobello caps-two different ways.

Luckily living in the Bay area, we had fresh lump crab meat at our disposal and were both able to create something similarly delicious yet unique. Kathy and her husband, Tom, are experts on eating gluten-free. Whereas I enjoy more than my fair share of carbs on the daily! But it was fun to see how delicious both interpretations of the same dish came out. I knew I had to share our recipes in hopes of inspiring a fun and easy summer dish to impress your loved ones and blow away your taste buds.

  • Tom’s Gorgeous Gluten Free Crab Cake Portobello’s

Can be found here:

  • Madi’s Creamy and Cheesy Crab Portobello’s

Can be found here:

The best part about both interpretations is the base of a healthy, fresh, and sustainable main ingredient. Portobello mushrooms are fairly easy to grow. They do well in deep beds of rich compost soil and are meant to be kept in a dark place until you see the white cap pop through the ground. As a health benefit they also contain lots of protein, fiber, and vitamin B. Research suggests that eating mushrooms often can help with weight management, immune function, and regulating glucose levels.

Although neither of us crafted our recipes ourselves, it was fun to try out these creative interpretations and compare results. Kathy was kind enough to bring me a sample of Tom’s recipe so I could try it for myself and figure out how I wanted to make my own. Although times are tough and it can be hard to express our appreciation for one another, the simple act of kindness Kathy showed made me feel loved as we bonded over the joy of cooking! I encourage everyone reading this to have a friendly cook-off with a loved one and share with us your creations!

As for sourcing fresh portobellos, check out our weekly produce list on Facebook @himmelsgardencenter, or sign up for a monthly CSA subscription directly through Agrichicks at!

Best Regards,


The Benefits of Local Honey

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In recent years we have all seen the craze buzzing around honey! But one benefit not many people are talking about is the advantage of local honey on our immune systems. Research has proven that only a teaspoon of local honey a day can help your body adapt to regional allergies. This is due to the pollinators (bees) absorbing the local plant’s pollen and adapting it into an edible and healthy antioxidant. No need to fear, the reverse does not occur, you won’t develop regional and seasonal allergies from eating local honey.

We also know that in comparison to sugar or artificial sweeteners honey can be used as a natural substitute that gives a delicious flavor with less health risks. Honey is even recommended as a substitute for those diagnosed with diabetes!

I love to mix my local honey in with a cup of herbal tea before bed or drizzle it over vanilla Greek yogurt with fresh blackberries. I have even used it on pancakes in place of syrup. Local Maryland honey is light and sweet, making you feel less guilty about enjoying a treat.

As someone who went from living in Virginia, to South Carolina, and now on the Chesapeake shore in Maryland all within two years, my allergies shot through the roof and I had a hard time adjusting to three very different regions. But enjoying a spoonful of honey daily quickly helped me adapt to life on the bay and I was able to switch out my over the counter medicine for a natural alternative.

A few other fun facts about honey:
  • Honey is Medicinal; in ancient times it was used to heal cuts because bacteria has a hard time surviving in it.
  • Honey’s color and depth is dependent on the type of nectar it is produced from and the type of plants the pollinators harvest from.
  • Wasps can also create honey, not just bees!
  • Bees eat honey in the winter to survive, so beekeepers only take what the bees don’t need and produce it for us to eat.

Himmel’s is proud to share honey produced within just a few miles of our garden center, and harvested by local beekeeper Kevin Vasquez! For more information, check out