Moose Mountcastle, Garden Gateway

Growing Media: The challenge, probe, finances and tips

Located 80 miles north of Salt Lake City is Cache Valley’s prime garden center, The Garden Gateway. From the original “Petunia Tree” to “Water-Wise Perennials”, The Garden Gateway has been proposing a multitude of gorgeous and exclusive plants since 2002, all endorsed by programs like Plant Select and Utah’s Choice.

Owners Moose and Adelia Mountcastle met while studying ornamental horticulture and business management and accounting at Utah State University, where they also discovered their common passion. Upon graduating, Moose and Adelia worked in greenhouses all over northern Utah.

Ten years later, frustrated with the limitations of working for someone else and not having the creative freedom they longed for, they took matters into their own hands and the dream of opening their own business came to life under the name The Garden Gateway. The Garden Gateway’s success lies in Moose’s passion for the industry. Items including hanging baskets, patio containers, perennials, and vegetables are all carefully chosen to suit everyone’s horticultural needs. Moose’s greatest joy is offering superior quality plants to his customers.

Moose’s main problem with productivity came from the lack of consistency from the growing media he was using. After 25 years of using the same product, he noticed that the plants weren’t as sturdy and healthy-looking as they could be. The growing medium was too wet and heavy, causing significant costs in rental equipment to unload trucks, as well as labor from needing two employees to lift a single bag of growing medium.

The pH was off and nutritional deficiencies and diseases were present. This all resulted in him spending more money for lesser quality plants. He had to find a way to ensure healthy, beautiful crops which could also tolerate transplantation.

The Probe 
About 4 years ago, Moose decided to test out various growing media available on the market.  He planted according to his usual timeline, however using different growing media to measure the results. Notes were taken to compare crop measurements, irrigation, fertilization, and pest controls used.

After looking at the data and inviting his wife, employees and some loyal customers to visualize the results, it was clear:  Pro-Mix’s Pro-Mix HP Biofungficide+ Mycorrhizae and Pro-Mix HPCC Biofungicide+ Mycorrhizae yielded the best results. 

The Finances
Moose’s change to Pro-Mix products saved him from 35 to 45% in cost and labor. The ability to carry bags of growing medium without equipment rental or multiple employees, as well as the reduction of preventative fungicide applications proved financially beneficial.

“I had to adjust timing because when I’m planting things, I see such drastic results in how quickly things are growing and developing. Which is great! It means less time in the greenhouse for me, which means I’m making more money on the crops. As for the Biofungicide, the further down this road [using Pro-Mix] I have been, the more convinced I am that I would never go back to not using a bio-fungicide [growing media]. [For] some of our short-term crops, we have moved away from using any kind of preventative bio-fungicides other than what’s in [PRO-MIX’s PRO-MIX HP Biofungicide + Mycorrhizae and Pro-Mix HPCC Biofungicide + Mycorrhizae]. [All of this is] saving us time, money, and putting more money onto our bottom line, while not sacrificing quality.”

Moose’s Tips
Moose encourages anyone thinking about making a change in their soil to get some samples and do some comparative plant growth trials. “Grow some stuff out, get a feel for the new soil, and then make a decision from there. The trial process takes some time and effort, but it’s worth it in the end.” Moose “couldn’t be happier” with PRO-MIX’s results. The positive outcome can be felt from his greenhouse to the happy faces of his customers. In fact, customers are telling him the crops are looking fantastic!

Moose recommends the Pro-Mix brand for all horticultural needs: “Pro-Mix HP Biofungicide + Mycorrhizae and Pro-Mix HPCC Biofungicide + Mycorrhizae work wonderfully for what I do. They also carry a wide range of professional growing media that could meet the application that you need.” 

For more information:
Premier Tech
1, avenue Premier
Rivière-du-Loup (Québec)
Canada G5R 6C1
T: +1 418 867-8883
Toll free: +1 855 867-5407  

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