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Good Earth (Hoffman) -- Topsoils, Fertilizers, Potting Soils

Quality horticultural products for the home gardener
The Hoffman brand was created in 1934. Hoffman products have been comprised of many new horticultural products and packaging designs during its history. Hoffman invented one of the first "cut and pour" designs that received a patent from the U.S. Government and is still used today. Hoffman also produced the first lightweight soilless potting mix for home gardeners. Today, the Hoffman brand is made up of a broad array of quality horticultural products for the home gardener. The company's primary products include potting soils, soil conditioners, specialty and organic fertilizers.

Address:     PO Box 290 Lancaster, NY 14086
Email:     goodearthsales@goodearth.org     Contact:    
Phone:    716-684-8111    FAX:     716-684-3722


Why Repot:
As a plant grows, its roots take up more and more space while the amount of mixture in the pot steadily diminishes. Once this occurs, plant growth will slow and the plant will eventually become unhealthy. Permanent house plants generally will require repotting once a year until they reach a mature size. Outdoor plants grown from seed will need to be repotted several times within the first few months until reaching maturity.

When to Repot:
Taking a plant out of the pot and looking at the roots is the best way to tell if it is time to repot. To remove a plant from the pot, first make sure the soil is thoroughly moistened, then:

Place your hand on top of the pot, with the main stem between two fingers. Turn the pot over and gently tap the rim against the edge of a table or tap your hand against the base of the pot. After a few taps, the root ball should loosen and the pot can be lifted away. If not, then run a knife blade around the inside of the rim.

Carefully examine the root ball. If fresh root tips are showing all over the surface, the plant is ready to be repotted. If the roots are densely matted or are forming a thick spiral around the base, repotting is overdue and should be done immediately. The best time to repot is at the beginning of the plants' growing season, unless the plant is severely root bound and showing signs of distress during the growing season, in which case it should be repotted immediately. Never move plants when they are in a dormant or rest period.

How to Repot:
Repotting is messy, so give yourself plenty of room on a surface that can handle exposure to water and soil. Choose a new pot that is a size or two larger than the existing pot. You'll want 1 to 2 inches under the roots and 1 inch on the sides and top for the fresh Hoffman potting soil.

Check root ball for dead roots and thick root spiral around the base and remove using a sharp knife. Place enough Hoffman potting soil in the bottom of the pot to position the top of the root ball 1 inch below the rim.

Add Hoffman potting soil around the sides and work it in with a stick or your fingers, compressing it lightly. Then add 1/4" of potting soil as top dressing.

Top Dressing:
Top dressing is an alternative to repotting when the plant is rather large and it is not feasible to repot into a larger container.

Gently scrape away the top inch or two of existing potting soil with a spoon or small trowel. Remove as much soil as possible without exposing major roots. Refill the pot with fresh Hoffman potting soil to the original level.

Double Potting:
Most decorative containers have no drainage holes, making it difficult to grow plants in them. In these containers it is a good idea to use double potting. To double pot: put gravel in the bottom of the decorative container. Set the plant in a proper size clay or plastic pot inside the decorative container. Then fill the sides between the two pots with Hoffman Sphagnum Peat Moss. This method allows for good drainage, reduces the frequency of watering and still makes an attractive planter.

Why Your Choice of Potting Soil is Important:
Soil is the key to a plant's ability to properly absorb air, water and nutrients the key to life, the key to being a successful gardener. A good soil mix must provide the proper balance of air and water to the plant. To produce healthy plants, the soil mix must act as a reservoir for plant nutrients, hold water, and provide aeration and anchorage. A good growing media does not happen by accident, it is designed for the environment that the plant will be growing in - Commercial Greenhouses, inside homes, outdoors - All require different mixes. Top soil straight from the garden is not a good choice for potted plants. By nature, soil is designed to drain over several feet of depth, not the several inches contained in a pot. Additionally, top soil can contain weed seeds and disease organisms.

What to Look for when selecting Potting Soil:
There is a wide range of potting soil choices in the marketplace today, from low cost, low quality dirt in a bag to higher cost, highest quality scientifically researched and formulated Peat based mixes. Don't be fooled into thinking that dirt is dirt and any soil will do. Invest in a quality soil as an insurance policy to help protect your house plant purchases.

Peat-based potting mixes, since their introduction in the 60's, have set the standard in both commercial and homeowner mixes. These soilless mixes contain ingredients which are sanitary and free of harmful salts, weeds, and plant pathogens. The primary ingredient in peat-based mixes, which out performs all other material, is CANADIAN SPHAGNUM PEAT MOSS. It's unique cell structure helps regulate moisture and air around the plants roots, creating ideal growing conditions. Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss is a key ingredient in the complete Hoffman Potting Soil line. For the home gardener, Peat based potting mixes are the safest, most convenient and fool proof mixes available today.

Always check the soil bag to see what the ingredients are that make up the mix. With bags that either do not list any ingredients or are vague and say "may contain some of the following", you do not know what you are getting. Look for soils such as Hoffman, which clearly states every ingredient on the bag and carries a money-back guarantee.

Hoffman Potting Soils are uniquely designed to meet the needs of the home gardener, providing good water holding capacity to help the plant survive infrequent and irregular waterings, balanced with proper aeration to help reduce the risk of over watering, the number 1 killer of house plants.

What is Bone Meal made from? &   What is it’s purpose?

Hoffman Organic Bone Meal is a by-product of meat from rendering plants. The bones are cooked, steamed and ground up to produce bone meal.  It provides slow, steady feeding of phosphorus and nitrogen, two primary nutrients required by all plants.  It helps develop sturdy root systems and stimulates growth. It is an all-natural and perfect for Organic gardening.

Is there the possibility of contracting  Mad Cow disease from Bone Meal ?

Hoffman Bone Meal produced from the bones of USDA cattle only.    Since there have been no cases of mad cow disease with any United States meat suppliers, there is NO way for mad cow disease to be transmitted through Hoffman bone meal.

My dog has eaten Bone Meal  (either directly out of the bag or from the garden)

What do I do?  &   Is it deadly to them ?

Hoffman Organic Bone Meal invariably attracts dogs due to the fact that it is derived from real animal bones.   As you would with children, you should always keep any garden products “out of reach” of pets.  When applying bone meal, work it into the soil so it does not lie directly on top of the ground where pets are more likely to notice it.

If your dog does eat bone meal -- In most cases -- it is NOT a serious condition.  The effects on your pet will vary depending on the size of the dog and how much bone meal was consumed.  In most cases bone meal will only cause minor stomach discomfort to the pet.  Affected pets should be given plenty of water and / or milk.

If more serious side affects occur, such as vomiting, fever, or overall malaise for more than 24 hours, contact your Veterinarian.

How much Hoffman Dog & Cat Repellant  Do I spread and How do I spread it ?

Hoffman Dog & Cat Repellant should be spread according to the severity of the problem at hand since every consumer’s problem is different.   It should be applied directly to the affected areas in a border-like manner.  For example if a pet is favoring a particular part of your yard, spread it not only on the affected area itself but also within in a 5-10 foot radius around the spot.   This further discourages the animals before reaching their favorite spot.

Hoffman Dog & Cat Repellant can be applied by hand or with a garden spreader.  If applying by hand, wear gloves.

Hoffman Dog & Cat Repellant will Not harm lawns or shrubbery.  It will Not discolor concrete and blacktop driveways or patio stones. 

 For flowerbeds and vegetable gardens, sprinkle a border around the entire perimeter of the beds.   DO NOT apply product directly on plant foliage. 

Hoffman Dog & Cat Repellant will need to be re-applied after a heavy rain, as this will affect its potency. 

My Orchid died (or will not bloom) from using your Orchid Mix! 

 Not likely!  -   Orchids by nature are a very fussy plant to grow and maintain.  Even many good gardeners have trouble getting orchids to bloom successfully and consistently.

The most frequent reason for failure of orchids to bloom and flower is inadequate temperature variations between night and day.   All orchids need a 10-15 degree temperature change between night and day - cool nights (around 60 degrees) and warm days - to set buds.  Often a spot in a poorly insulated window will provide this temperature swing.  Otherwise, you may have to do some shuffling around with this high-maintenance plant!

Another cause of orchid problems is insufficient light. Once buds are present, make sure they get plenty of natural light.  A lack of insufficient light will make them “leggy” and they will flop over.   Move them to a sunnier location if you think this might be a problem.  Also, orchids like a lot of humidity.  Mist the leaves daily or place the plants on a “pebble tray” to create humidity. 

 Note that some orchids bloom in the spring while other bloom in the fall and winter.  Consult your  Garden center on the various types.

What do I use Aluminum Sulfate for?

 Aluminum sulfate acidifies (reduces the pH of the soil).  Some plants have a high requirement for microelements, which are more available in the acid pH range 4.5 to 5.5.  These acid preferring plants include: Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Holly, Birch, Blue Hydrangeas, Blueberries, Begonias, Camellia’s, Fuchsia’s, Gardenia’s & Magnolia’s. 

Symptoms of sulfur deficiency include light green to yellow leaves and stunted growth. 

 Gardeners realize that the key to increased yields and a successful garden is knowing their soil pH and nutrient levels.  Soil testing can be performed anytime of year that the ground is not frozen.

Do you put Bulb Food or  Bone Meal directly on the bulb?

No.  Bulb Food needs to be applied in the planting hole or around the base of existing bulbs.   The proper feeding procedures for Bulbs are as follows:

At Planting Time  – Mix Hoffman Bone Meal (4-12-0) into the planting media at a rate of 8lbs. Per 100 sqft.   Be sure to put a handful of bone meal directly into each hole dug so it reaches the root zone. 

In Fall – Add Hoffman Bulb Food (3-10-6) as a top dressing to the flowerbed using 5lbs. Per 100 sqft.  Water in thoroughly.  This will provide proper nutrients to the bulb during the fall/winter period when root growth and development for spring flowering is occurring.

 In Springtime – Add Hoffman Perennial Flower Food (12-12-12) as a top dressing after leaves appear.  Take care not to get food directly on the plant.  Use 5 lbs. Per 100 sqft.  Water in.  This provides proper nutrients for the bulb for the entire year. 

What is the difference between Hoffman Hydrated Lime and dolomitic lime and what is it used  for ?

Hydrated lime (calcium hydroxide) has more neutralizing power than the more common dolomitic (calcium-magnesium carbonate) limestone.  Dolomitic lime is usually sold in 40-50lb. Bags vs. the small bag of Hydrated lime.  This means that for gardening purposes, you should apply about two-thirds the recommended amount of Hydrated lime. 

It’s main usage is to alter soil pH.

What is pH?

pH is a measure of the acidity ("sourness") or alkalinity ("sweetness") of soil. The scale ranges from 1 to 14, but few soils are more acidic that 5 or more alkaline than 9. A pH of 7 is perfectly neutral, but most plants grow best when the pH is a slightly acidic between 6.5.

Soils in areas with low rainfall tend to be alkaline. Where rainfall is high, soils are more often acidic. This happens because rainfall gradually washes calcium from soil. In practical terms, if you live east of the Mississippi River, you’ll need to add calcium to your soil to raise the pH.

Soil testing is the best way to learn about your soil, including the pH.

Is there Asbestos in Hoffman Vermiculite??  


Vermiculite in Lawn and Garden Products

In past months there have been several news articles regarding the issue of vermiculite and possible contamination with asbestos. Initially, the articles focused primarily on minerals that were mined out of a single vermiculite mine in Libby, Montana. This mine reportedly was the source for vermiculite contaminated with a certain rare kind of asbestos.

Though the mine was closed 10 years ago, a store in the Seattle area dealing in liquidated goods was recently found to be selling some 10-year-old packaging material called Zonolite Chemical Packaging Vermiculite as a lawn and garden soil supplement. This material, which was mined at the Libby facility, was reported to contain high amounts of asbestos. The discovery of this product being sold to retailers as a soil supplement prompted a regional study by the EPA of lawn and garden products containing vermiculite and being sold in the northwest United States.

Subsequently, that study was expanded nationwide, and the EPA recently released its report. The conclusions of the report were that vermiculite used in lawn and garden products poses only minimal health risks to consumers, when used according to recommendations.

The A.H.HOFFMAN CO. prides itself in the quality and safety of our products. Hoffman has sought and received numerous lab tests and other documentation assurances from our vermiculite suppliers that their materials are safe and asbestos-free.

The majority of EPA tests clearly support the conclusion that most lawn and garden products containing vermiculite should not be a source of alarm among home gardeners.

Vermiculite has been used and trusted by gardeners for years to grow healthy seedlings and beautiful flowers in containers and garden soils. It has unequalled qualities, creating potting mixes and garden soils that are light weight with excellent characteristics for drainage, aeration, and easy root penetration. Never in the past have any health problems been associated with its use in the home and garden, and we continue to believe that you can use Hoffman Vermiculite and potting soils containing vermiculite as recommended with confidence and safety.

Finally, if you would prefer a formulation without vermiculite, you can also buy many quality Hoffman planting mixes that contain perlite instead of vermiculite.Perlite is another mineral substance that is heat expanded to create a lightweight pellet-shaped substance that, like vermiculite, increases drainage and porosity of potting mixes and garden soils.  Or you can make your own potting mixes with a other Hofffman products, including Hoffman Perlite & Hoffman Sphagnum Peat Moss. 

GOOD EARTH has been in business since 1958. It originally began as GHB Nurseries - a retail business - accelerated to GHB Enterprises, a distributor of lawn and garden products and finally, Good Earth Horticulture, Inc. which is a producer and distributor of horticultural products. 

Primary items include : Topsoils, Potting Soils, Specialty Soil Mixes, Manures, Stone Products, Fertilizers, etc. 

During the Winter months, Good Earth packages and markets Good Earth Ice & Snow Melter and Rock Salt. 

GOOD EARTH's offices and warehouse are located on a main Hwy - US 20 - in the Town of Lancaster, NY. Facilities include a new 60,000 square foot warehouse and office building which is presently under construction. 

GOOD EARTH Canada Limited is a sister company of GOOD EARTH ORGANICS . It operates a large, modern Peat Moss bog and packaging facility in New Brunswick, Canada. All of its products produced are exported to the U.S. or other overseas markets including Japan. 

GOOD EARTH sells its products to independent stores such as garden centers, nurseries, chain stores such as the Home Depot, and very large soil mixers such as the Scotts company. The company also produces specialty products for the Golf Course industry and other markets. 

Good Earth has been involved in the composting of yard waste for various towns and the City of Buffalo, NY. 


A. H. Hoffman, Inc.

The Hoffman brand was created in 1934 at the height of the depression. Originally a division of Hoffman Seeds this business was founded in order to provide the home gardening consumer with easy to handle small packages of gardening products.

Hoffman products have been comprised of many new horticultural products and packaging designs during its history. Hoffman invented one of the first "cut and pour" designs that received a patent from the U.S. Government and is still used today. Hoffman also produced the first lightweight soilless potting mix for home gardeners.

Today, the Hoffman brand is made up of a broad array of quality horticultural products for the home gardener. The company's primary products include potting soils, soil conditioners, specialty and organic fertilizers.




Gardening is America's #1 hobby - the industry has grown from $ 4.2 Billion in Sales in 1968 to $ 76.5 Billion in 1998!! 

Good Earth strongly believes that it is time for a national company to emerge and present to the gardening public products which are of higher quality, easier to use and guaranteed to produce results. 
One could compare these products to the "TV style dinners" Today's gardener or "Yardner" does not want to spend many hours in their garden but wants to perform their yardwork with ease and get beautiful results. Therefore, cost of products offered becomes secondary if the product will do as promised. 
GOOD EARTH is planning on servicing this market with : 

1. Improved packaging designs which will sell themselves in this self-service market. 

2. Premium quality products which are lightweight & easy-to-use. 

3. Develop a marketing program which will assist gardeners with a multi-step gardening program guaranteed to produce the most beautiful Lawn & Garden results. 

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