Whether you grow stuff for a hobby, for eating or for selling, chances are you ENJOY it. It’s about the satisfaction of savoring the fruits of your labor. It’s about the warm sunshine, the fragrant blooms and getting right down into the dirt.

There’s something in the soil that boosts our mood and makes us grin (geeky scientists say it’s a strain of goodguy bacteria we come in contact with called Mycobacterium vaccae). Also, maybe it’s the satisfaction of nurturing baby plants into blooming adults. Possibly it’s the sense of connection we feel with the Earth, or the joy we get when tasting that first tomato (can you say Tomato-gasm?). Wherever the joy comes from—scientific or not—we sure have fun getting our hands a little dirty … and we’re happy you do too.

In this section we’ve listed some commonsense gardening tips for you to apply to your blossoming skillset. We’ll continue to add to our list, so check back often!

Commonsense Gardening Tips:

Your Plants Need More Than Just Sun and Water

We learned as kids that plants just take a little water and a little sunshine and presto, they magically produce delicious tomatoes and corn and food for the world … well, turns out it’s a little more involved than that. We don’t need to go into a PhD-level biology discussion here, but let’s agree that—just like us—plants get hungry and thirsty. When they do, they rely on their roots to find what they want to eat and drink from the soil beneath them.

Our all-natural planting products make sure the soil is like a delicious pantry, filled with everything the plant needs (and wants) to consume. Also, our enviro-friendly products help the soil system naturally replenish the pantry; it’s complicated, but healthy soil attracts a team of goodguy bacteria and fungi that produce the nutrients plants like to eat. Our all-natural planting products provide you with the complete biological package needed to create and sustain healthy soil for your plants to live in. When your plants have a cozy, nutrient-rich soil pantry to work with, they happily produce an abundance of brilliant flowers, sweet fruits and nutritious vegetables.

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How to Find Great Compost for Your Garden

There are some BAD compost products out there. In order to find a great compost for your garden, we’re going to help you use two of your keen senses: sight and smell. First, what’s the compost look like? You want the compost to have a crumbly structure somewhat similar to coffee grounds. If you look at so-called compost that still looks like the ingredients it is made from, it is bad and can’t even really be called “compost.” Great compost is fine and smooth to the touch, which means the breakdown process was nurtured correctly. Also, compost should look like a rich brown soil, not completely black. Black compost is not black gold. In most cases, if it’s black it means the compost got too hot and began converting to an ash state. A nice brown to dark brown soil is what you actually want.

Next, what’s the compost smell like? If it smells like “crap” then it is “crap!” It’s that simple. If compost smells horrible and you would never want to touch it, this means it has not been fully composted and it is breaking down. Quality compost should smell like earthy dirt you would find out camping. A quality compost will smell like the forest.

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Plant Your Tomatoes DEEP for Optimal Growing

Did you know tomato plants can grow roots from far up their stalks? You bet they can, so bury them deep! First, if you’re growing your tomatoes in the ground, massage that soil! Break up the soil “Amish style,” with no rototillers or machines. Get our your spade or shovel and just push it in 6-12 inches deep and give your soil a little poke. You do not want to turn over the topsoil. The top 6 inches is where the biological love happens. That is why it’s called topsoil.

Next, put that tomato plant in the ground. Remember, bury it deep because the tomato plant will grow roots far up the stalk (how far depends on the size of the tomato you are planting). Don’t suffocate the poor girl; just be sure and bury its stalk deeper in the ground than you might other plants. Now your tomato plant will be anchored in the ground and sprout more roots, which means it has a better ability to extract food, water and nutrients from the ground!

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