In the past, extending the season at independent garden centers has often meant diversifying product lines and selling around holidays like fall and Christmas. To bring customers in year-round and ease the seasonality of the business, garden retailers offer non-gardening products like ornaments, candles and clothes.

For this year’s inaugural Extend Your Season guide, each article focuses on how IGCs can be profitable year-round with plants. On page 66, you’ll read about eight trees that produce interesting fall foliage and berries to enhance autumn color for customers. We introduce the concept of “Modern Homesteading” by Sunlight Supply on page 70, and how the company and other businesses that specialize in indoor lighting are encouraging gardeners to grow indoors all year long, instead of just starting seeds inside in winter. Independent garden centers have always had close community ties, and on page 76, we offer innovative ways that garden centers can establish relationships with schools and other organizations to inspire them to garden and to promote off-season traffic and good will.

We also share a collection of companies that can help garden centers have more than one peak season starting on page 81.

Instead of diversifying with hard goods, we offer ideas for garden centers to get back to their roots and focus on the plants.