Small Change Saves Big Money

A small recipe tweak can have a meaningful difference. Image:

When Nonna makes her family’s traditional tomato sauce Dominick expects it to taste the same today as last Sunday — comforting and familiar. Why mess with the best? But, what if, just what if she simmers the sauce with roasted pork neck bones and sausage? Maybe she wants collagen from the bones to thicken the sauce and give it richer flavor. The tweak may go unnoticed, but the sauce may have better texture and flavor definition.

Should she change the formula? Or should she cling to her past?

She’s probably tweaked the recipe through the years as she’s learned ways to make it better. It’s just that no one knows. So, why not change now.

Change may feel difficult at first, but it can improve the experience for everyone who touches the product. As a former president once said, “The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change.”

Like the tomato sauce change, a new recipe for growing media will improve the final product AND the bottom line. While customers — from retailers through consumers — may not recognize a hydrogel in the growing mix, they reap the benefits. And, that means more income for growers.

Hydrogels are the product of nano-science. They absorb up to 30 times their weight in water, and then release it to the plants as needed. They’re not only harmless to the plant, they can hold nutrient-rich water and prevent fertilizer run off.

Adding a hydrogel to growing media —

  • improves plant quality
  • enhances survival rates, thus reducing shrink
  • increases water-holding capacity
  • prevents nutrient leaching
  • reduces irrigation frequency
  • lessens irrigation labor
  • ensures consumer success

And, that results in a healthier bottom line for growers and retailers.

Putting hydrogel in the mix reduces watering frequency and prevents loss from wilt. Image:

“Not only have we noticed the visual benefits with STOCKOSORB® but also cost savings. Our irrigation costs (water and labor) dropped approximately $20,000 in five months,” says Phil Roberts of Broadway Gardens, ME.

All that’s needed is a little recipe tweak like mixing STOCKOSORB® hydrogel into growing media. Like sugar, STOCKOSORB® comes in different sizes for different container applications.

Size Process
Powder dipping rooting cuttings and transplants
Micro: sand-sized granules blending into media mixes used in small containers and flats
Medium: larger granules finishing containers and hanging baskets, as well as quart and gallon containers for larger annuals, perennials, woody ornamentals and trees
XL for blending and applying with dry bulk fertilizers

Bessie Newbery, Gracias Greenhouse, Belleville, MI, says: “Using STOCKOSORB® in the mix of our hanging baskets helped save 500 that were accidently not watered for 10 to 12 days. Although the baskets were dry when this was discovered, they recovered and came right back!”

An increasing number of growers have also found success adding STOCKOSORB® from Evonik Industries to their custom mixes. STOCKOSORB® is an advanced hydrogel placed in the growing media to absorb water and nutrients, which are then slowly released to plants as they need it. This can be especially helpful in the second or third crop of the year to improve plant health and irrigation efficiency during the hotter summer months. Media manufacturers can easily include STOCKOSORB® in custom blends at growers’ requests.

If changing the recipe was going to improve your bottom line 10 to 20 percent, wouldn’t you do it?

Make your water go farther while improving the health of your plants. To find out more about how STOCKOSORB® advanced hydrogel can help your growing operation, contact Lynn Royal at 336-335-3781, email [email protected] or visit