Friday, July 29, 2011

My Roses & Indoor Citrus with Probiotics & Microbes - John & Bobs Grow Green Smart Soil Solutions

Last fall I was asked if I would like to test John & Bobs organic soil amendments.  Before saying yes, I researched their products making sure that they were safe and organic. You add very little product because they are based on adding beneficial bacteria, fungi, nematodes and protozoa. They all work together to build the soil, digest organic matter, make nutrients more available to plants and to actually make nutrients. Additionally, missing nutrients are produced by these microbes.  These products contain prebiotics and probiotics. As gardeners we understand how important it is to have the right bacteria to make compost.  The world has zillions and zillions of bacteria. (The biggest number I can think of is zillions!)  The good bacteria keeping the bad bacteria in check.  Every night before bed I take a probiotic, a good bacteria to keep my immune system healthy. Indeed, 70% of our immune system is based on our having the right bacteria in our digestive track, so adding good bacteria to my garden just made sense.    I decided to test the products first on my indoor dwarf lemon, lime and kumquat trees.  The lemon tree is several years old and even though I fertilized and changed the soil the tree wasn’t really thriving. During the winter I added the product called Optimize to my indoor citrus. My trees became greener. The small lemon flowered and set 3 growing fruits.  But, it is the kumquat that has me amazed.  I have never noticed it flower.  But, look at it now!  The real test would be on the roses.  I tested these products particularly on my historically poorly performing roses.
The kumquat flowers are so fragrant!
At the left you can just see one of the 3 green lemons.
This is Carefree Wonder. This rose rarely bloomed.  A friend told me she had planted several Carefree Wonder and later removed them because they did so poorly.  It is lovely.
Carefree wonder
The almost thornless Zephirine Drouhin usually would give me one or two blooms. This year it bloomed beautifully and the canes grew longer.  It is an antique, fragrant climbing rose.  A friend commented the flowers looked artificial because they were so perfect.  Today the rose is getting ready to rebloom.
Reine Victoria is probably one of my favorites. In recent years it had slowed down. This year it showed renewed vigor. It has continuously bloomed even through our several 100 degree days.  Can you tell that I am way-impressed by probiotics in the garden?
All the roses did beautifully. I have about 40 roses in the garden. The rose in the bottom-right is Bonica.  In past years it has been quite a disappointment. Another friend told me she got rid of Bonica because of poor performance. It bloomed abundantly this year!   I want to use these good bacteria products all through the garden. One of my goals is not to have to till, or in my case shovel-till my vegetable gardens. This spring I read an article about a lady who had so improved her soils that she could shove her fist into the soil up to her elbow!  I used to need a mallet to shove a stake into my soil. Now at least I can usually shove it in by hand.  These products improve clay soils.  One of the products, Penetrate, is a "liquid bio-tiller”.  I am looking forward to using good microbes all through the garden and not turning the soil.  Here is a link on the product details.  I noticed that you can buy them online or at Whole Food Stores.


  1. Thanks Gloria - what an informative post. I might start taking some myself if that's the effect they have!

  2. Hi Freerangegirl! What an amazing invisible world we have! Thank you!

  3. This sounds very interesting Gloria. I am always looking for products that improve the soil and enhance blooming. Please keep us informed as you go through the gardening season.


  4. Hi Eileen,yes I will let you know the results. Today I used the product on a few of my plants that tend to get chlorosis. Hopefully they will green up. We are so alkaline around here.

  5. Your garden is gorgeous, and I will definitely check out these products. My heavy clay soil could use some help.

  6. Sounds like a keeper!! I give my plants Biostart when I plant them. I wonder if this is similar...? I'll check out the link! Thanks for the info. :o)

  7. Hi Deb - Thank you! I am so pleased with the results. Testing on my poorer roses was a good test

  8. Hi Casa Mariposa - I'm not familiar with Biostart. I like the way the good bacteria makes the soil better and makes heavy clay soils better. Even though it has been so hot (several days over 100) I am loving my garden. I hate to see the season end. Thanks for visiting me

  9. Hi Gloria,
    I was asked to try some kind of fertilizer this spring, but kept forgetting to respond. If it was this, I wish I would have.

    I enlarged the photo of the wider view. You sure have a beautiful place! Thanks for your nice comment about mine.

  10. Gloria, I love the color combination in that last photo! Luscious. -Jean

  11. Gloria - this is an excellent post! I inherited a Meyers Lemon tree a few years ago, it has failed to thrived (putting it mildly). You've inspired me to invest in your organic recommendations. Thanks!

  12. Gloria, Your garden is breathtaking!
    I, too, am a firm believer in all of John & Bob's products and the science behind them. I have enjoyed great success using them in my tomato gardens. When I teach my tomato classes I tell students they MUST use John & Bob's!
    Looking forward to your future posts.