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Meeting John Valentino of “John & Bob’s” – A “Dirty” Tale…

Posted by on Mar 1, 2013 in gardening, Uncategorized | 0 comments

John Valentino, of “John & Bob’s Grow Green Smart Soil Solutions, and I met for a chat about….dirt!

 

Online relationships can be tricky and often misleading.  I’ve had an internet friendship with a man for several years. John always seemed friendly and cheerful.  I thought he seemed genuinely interested and committed to our friendship because he always replied to my emails quickly and with enthusiasm.  Our conversations often focused on our mutual interest, a passion for gardening.

From time to time we toyed with the idea of getting together to meet in person. We don’t live near each other so it just never seemed to work out. And so it continued, status quo.

Now, if you’re thinking this story doesn’t belong on a gardening blog because it’s going to get very dirty…well, it is. But, not the kind of dirty you might be expecting.  Read on.

As I said, John and I share a passion for gardening.  To say I have a “thing” for tomatoes is putting it mildly.  And, as crazy as I am about growing tomatoes, that’s John when he’s talking about dirt. But, don’t call it that.  It’s soil.  And, if he has anything to say about it, it’s healthy, vibrant, living soil that supports life from the microscopic fungi and protozoa to my eight-foot tall tomato plants.

John & Bob's rich, nutrient-filled soil

John & Bob’s rich, nutrient filled soil

 

As luck would have it, John and I did finally meet in January. He was an exhibitor at a local trade show so I drove over to meet him. I was beyond excited. I envisioned sitting down with this carefree guy, dressed in soiled jeans and work boots, chatting up a storm about all of our favorite tomatoes and the most delicious ways to enjoy them. I was thrilled to meet and have some face time with someone who plays such a huge part in my gardening success. You see, John is one half of John & Bob’s Grow Green Smart Soil Solutions.  I’ve been using their “stuff ” (as John refers to it) for years in my gardens and the results are outstanding!

John & Bob

John’s on the right.

So, that’s where the fantasy ended.  The effervescent exchange that I imagined didn’t materialize.  I arrived at our meeting location a few minutes early so I could stop by the ladies room before we met.  Of course, John was already awaiting my arrival, early and ready to get down to business.  He greeted me with a slight smile, dressed in perfectly pressed khakis and a crisp button down shirt.  This was not going to be the warm, fuzzy tomato talk I expected.  Without making my pit stop, John walked briskly and directed me to the John and Bob’s display booth.  I had trouble keeping up with my shorter stride.  John didn’t care.  He was a man on a mission.

John had something he had to show me.  To John, it wasn’t enough that I love, swear by and practically insist that my students use his products to grow great vegetables. John is a science and numbers guy.  I appreciated that he patiently explained to the importance of mycorrhizae (I can’t even say that) and the difference between the bad and beneficial nematodes.

Soil food web John & Bob's

 

More than that, though, he wanted me to see charts,  photographs and cost comparisons to further prove that the beneficial bacteria, fungi and protozoa that make up John and Bob’s product line make a huge difference in the overall health and production of  every garden and at a very reasonable cost.   My cursory glance and nod of acceptance wasn’t enough.  Look again, John insisted.  He showed me the impressive results of their field tests using the four John & Bob’s products, Optimize, Nourish/Bio-Sol, Maximize and Penetrate, at a residential garden, a university campus and a community hospital.  Yes, the landscaping looked spectacular. But John needed to be sure I saw the part about the cost of using his products in each situation compared to using bulk soil amendments.  It wasn’t just about the cost of the products, either. It was about the amount of time and labor (and cost of labor) involved in using the products.

You know how they say you have to hear something eight times to remember it?  Well, it might have been seven or it might have been ten times, but after saying it and showing me so many times, I got it!  I already knew that John’s products worked great.  I knew that I didn’t have to throw out my back to use it or pay an arm and a leg to get someone else to use it.  What I finally understood, though, was that ounce per ounce, John and Bob’s goes so much further than any other amendment I might use, that I’m actually using less product and I’m spending a lot less money!

John and I haven’t spoken since that meeting last month, but we have emailed a few times.  I had some questions about using John & Bob’s with  my seed starting mixture and he promptly and thoroughly answered my queries.  Yes, his stuff goes in right at the beginning.

It’s a safe and familiar relationship and it’s comforting, too.  I know if I need some info about making my garden beds even better, John will be right there for me.  Not the kind of dirt you might have expected, but just the kind of dirt this gardener needs.

 

You might also enjoy:

Laura Taylor in the Home Garden Reviews John and Bob’s

According to John: She’s A Little Odd!

Video: Amazing Tomato Comparison!

Laura Taylor Video - Tomatoes

 

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New Year’s Resolutions For Tomato Growers

Posted by on Dec 29, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Ahh, New Year’s. A time to reflect, a time to look forward and a time to make resolutions so the New Year can be even better than the last.  Don’t forget to think about your garden when making your resolutions. To start things off, I’ve come up with some great New Year’s resolutions for tomato growers to ensure the best tomatoes ever.

So, here they are – My suggestions for The Tomato Grower’s New Years Resolutions!

Tempting though it may be…Even though the sun is shining and it feel’s like spring, I will not give in to the urge to plant tomatoes outside early in March.  (Remember, soil and nighttime temperature needs to be about 55 degrees)

I will plan to and actually allow three feet in between tomato plants. Yes! Three feet!  The reasons are many.  Tomatoes have big root systems and need lots of soil around them to keep healthy. Additionally, good air circulation for foliage and growing fruit will help reduce disease and improve health.

New Years Resolutions for Tomato GrowersI will properly support my tomatoes with stakes (for the center stem) and cages or trellis for heavy branches and fruit.  That means no flimsy cages better suited to growing flowers than six-foot high tomato plants. Without some help from you heavy branches will break and fruit will rot on the ground.

I will feed my tomatoes regularly with a well balanced, organic fertilizer.  I know you want to buy that familiar brand that’s on sale at the big box store.  Don’t do it!  I promise, it’s worth the extra expense to use the good stuff.  You’ll produce healthier plants with more fruit to harvest, and more of the nutrients will be in the tomatoes than if you use the other stuff.  ‘Nuff said?

Now, here’s the hard one. I want feedback from all of you on this. I want to know if you actually stuck to it!

I will not, no matter how hot it is and no matter how thirsty my plants look, I will not over water my tomatoes! Tomatoes do not want, need or do well with daily watering. Don’t do it!

When I first plant, I water my tomatoes twice a week.  That’s a very deep soak.  If you’re not in sunny Southern California, make that once a week. After one month, I take my cues from the plants.     If they’re droopy early in the New Year's Resolutions for Tomato Growersmorning, they need to be watered. If not, leave them alone.  Take a leap of faith and trust me on this!

Of course there will be more detailed tips as we get closer to planting season, but in the meantime, Happy New Year to tomato growers everywhere!

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2013 Tomato Growing Guide Calendar Now Available!

Posted by on Sep 28, 2012 in News and Events, Uncategorized | 0 comments

We’ve gone live ahead of schedule and we’re ready to fill your orders for 2013 Tomato Growing Guide~Calendars placed on Amazon!

Order yours today!
2013 Tomato Growing Guide~Calendar!
Order your 2013 Tomato Growing Guide~Calendar Here

It’s time to purchase your 2013 Tomato Growing Guide and Calendar, your customized guide to growing delicious tomatoes anywhere in the country! We’re kicking off calendar sales on Amazon with a really great deal for you!

 

 Remember those Mighty ‘Matos, the grafted tomato plants I’ve been raving about? To thank you for ordering  your calendar before October 15  we’re going to send  you the Coupon Code to save $10 on your order of Mighty ‘Matos from GardenLife.  Start growing earlier, extend your growing season, enjoy disease resistant tomato plants and harvest more tomatoes than ever!
 
Are You in Los Angeles??
If you’re in the L.A.  area on Monday come celebrate the Amazon launch with us!  
Join us at the hottest new restaurant in Studio City,  Pizza Rev, and sample some of their custom made pizza with homemade dough,  a selection of sauces, incredibly fresh ingredients on a thin, crispy crust!  We’ll give away free tomato recipes and have an all around good time!
Monday, October 1
6 -8 pm
Pizza Rev
12103 Ventura Boulevard
Studio City

Not in the area?? Share the invitation with your tomato loving friends that are!
All tomato lovers are welcome!
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