Garden Lab: Where Good Ideas Become Great Products

Testing light intensity

Rob Williams, product quality coordinator, tests light intensity on a grow light.

WE'RE a company of gardeners and employee-owners. That combination means that each one of us helps find solutions to the most vexing garden challenges. Like you, we've had plants wither from drying out, fruits rot before they ripen, and gardens decimated by insects. So we're always searching for products that help our gardens thrive.

Sometimes the perfect tool or problem-solver doesn't exist, so we invent it! We have an entire department — our Garden Lab — devoted to product design, development and testing. During our 30 years in business we've introduced dozens of innovations, including customer favorites like our foolproof seed starters, topple-proof vegetable supports and ingenious pop-up frost protectors.

Innovation doesn't stop with the introduction of a product. "We always ask, 'can we make this even better?'" says Kay Burde, Product Development Director. "We regularly update and even reinvent products based on new technologies and customer feedback."

Made in Vermont

The Garden Lab team often partners with our Vermont factory to bring the spark of an idea to life. That collaboration bears fruit in our ever-expanding line of "no-bend" elevated cedar planters, for example, and in our clever Plant-A-Bar, which combines gardening and outdoor entertaining. When possible, we keep the manufacturing close to home so we can fast-track innovations.

We Put Our Products to the Test

We have confidence in everything we sell because our Garden Lab team tests all of our products. We won't sell anything we wouldn't use in our own gardens.

Testing starts with assembling products, checking for fit, finish and overall quality. Even if something looks good in our workshop, that doesn't mean it can survive in the wind and weather. Many products go into our Vermont test gardens to see how they'll hold up over time. We also have more than 15 test gardens managed by customer volunteers around the country, so we can see how our products work in different growing zones: hot or cold, dry or rainy.

Our Garden Lab testers compare products side by side, measuring plant growth and weighing harvests. This kind of testing can take a long time. "It took us years of experimenting to perfect our soil mixes," says Burde. "But now we know we've got the best soil mixes you can find."

It takes a big investment to design and develop new products, and to test every product we sell. But we know it sets us apart from other companies that only dabble in gardening. After all, in gardening there's no substitute for experience, and we're happy to share ours with you.

What's happening in the Garden Lab?

The photos below show some of the projects we're working on. Click on the image to learn more.

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