Tonkadale recommends

In Blog, Feature, Gardening by Samantha Karsten4 Comments

Happy Memorial Day weekend! It’s a hot one, so be sure to keep everything watered, including yourself. We’ll be open all weekend: Saturday 8 am-6 pm, Sunday 10 am-5 pm and Memorial Day 8 am-4 pm. For you brave souls doing some gardening this weekend, we’ve got some recommendations for products that will give your garden the best possible start to the season. Look for them in our Plant Solutions Center, near the fairy garden.

Perennials: New Planting

Espoma Bio-tone Starter

Bio-tone Starter Plus (Espoma) – Plant food plus Mycorrhizae. Promotes bigger blooms and stronger roots. In addition to natural and organic plant fertilizers, it contains a blend of microbes and mycorrhizae, a natural rooting hormone that increases root hair growth on transplanted plants. $12.99

Tonkadale’s premium compost-a blend of chicken manure and plant product compost, blended into existing soil. $9.99

Perennials: Existing Trees and Shrubs

Fertilome Tree and Shrub food

Fertilome Tree and Shrub Food-Granular fertilizer sprinkled at the drip line following package instructions. $12.99

Adding an organic compost or “Wiggle Worm castings” will help make the soil more welcoming for all established perennials, trees, and shrubs.

Perennials: Existing beds

Espoma Garden Food

Organic Plant Food (Espoma) $9.99 or Garden Food 10-10-10 (Espoma) $14.99
Adding an organic compost or “Wiggle Worm castings” will help make the soil more welcoming for all established perennials, trees, and shrubs.

Endless Summer Hydrangea (Blue and Pink varieties, excludes Blushing Bride)

Espoma Soil Acidifier

Soil Acidifier (Espoma) – Adds the needed acid to the soil to keep the blue color.
Add Espoma Lime to turn/keep these hydrangeas pink, our soil is naturally alkaline so it naturally turns.
Adding an organic compost or “Wiggle Worm castings” will help make the soil more welcoming for all established perennials, trees, and shrubs.


Miracle Gro Miracid

Miracid (Miracle Gro)
Tonka Terra Potting Soil

Hanging Baskets/Combo Planters

Miracle Gro Bloom Booster

Miracle Gro/Bloom Booster

Veggie Gardens

Espoma Tomato-tone

Amendments: Wiggle Worm, Purple Cow, or/and Coop Poop
Fertilizer: Tomato Tone (Espoma) or Neptune Fish Fertilizer

Warm Blooded Garden Pests

This is a topic that deserves a whole separate blog post, coming up in the next few weeks. Stay tuned.

Insect Pests

Bonide Pesticides

Bonide Neem Oil: insecticide, fungicide, miticide, organic. The neem tree grows in Africa and is naturally pest resistant. The oil is harvested and used as a pesticide.

Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew: the active ingredient, spinosad, is derived from a naturally occurring substance found in old rum factories. This is an organic pesticide.

Eight: good overall-all pesticide.


Bonide Weed Beater

Broadleaf Weeds: Weed Beater Ultra
Buckthorn: Stump Out Stump and Vine Killer


  1. Do any of you have a solution to gnats in garden? I can’t take care of my garden because they are all over me – bitting. Is there anything I can do ?

    1. Author

      You could try planting scented geranium, lavender, marigolds and lemon thyme to repel them in general.

      The best way to avoid biting insects is to wear clothing treated with Permethrin. Prepare a few sets of gardening outfits that are loose-fitting and cover your entire body, and treat them with Permethrin outside your house in a well-ventilated area. Follow the directions on the bottle.

      For your head, you could try a DEET-based insect repellent or a hat with a bug net. Try your local sporting goods store (Dick’s Sporting Goods, REI, Gander Mountain, etc.), talk to people who like to hunt and fish and how they cope with biting insects.

      Hope that helps!

  2. Please don’t kill the gnats en masse! There are many great natural products for your skin, as well as treated clothing. (e.g., REI). I’m not here to promote any one product–although I use a product from “Healin’ Hollers” that smells good, is inexpensive, and which you can buy online. My interest, I’ll admit, is in saving what few bugs remain (I know, hard to believe in the humid microclimate of one’s garden!!). Germany did a peer-reviewed study that found a 45% decline in insects–applicable to the U.S., as well.

    Gnats are part of the food web! We are all dependent upon one another.

    Tonkadale is great for helping with safely targeting other pests. Perhaps they can give specifics for gnats that are after you.

    Good luck!

  3. Gnats cannot bite through oil. Remember the old days when we used to hear about Avon Skin So Soft for gnats? Well, that’s why! I don’t like SSS because of the fragrance so I make my own bug dope from essential oils (lots of recipes online) and then I add extra oil, like light olive oil, to the bottle that I want to use specifically for gnats, like for gardening or lawn mowing. It works great!

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