Garden America Recap: Drainage and the Lasagna Method
August 5, 2015

Garden America Recap: Drainage and the Lasagna Method

I was on the Garden America show last Saturday, the nation’s top gardening radio show and expert source for garden illumination coast to coast.  The main questions asked during my visit with the hosts, John Bagnasco and Bryan Main, regarded fixing poor soil drainage and the lasagna method of gardening. The concept behind John & Bob’s products answered both questions.

Hydrangeas in John & Bob's amended soil

Fixing Poor Soil Drainage

John Bagnasco: “I’ve just redone parts of my yard and some of the beds I’m ready to plant in, I’ve noticed have really poor drainage. So I know that you can tell me what products I need to order in order to improve that and in what order do I put them down?”

John Valentino: “The whole idea of improving drainage by improving the health of the soil is actually one that is very logical if you think about it because you guys believe that the health of the soil is determined by the life in the soil. If you’ve got lots of microbiological life and ever higher life forms that feed on the microbiology, actives in the soil are almost like aerators and tillers, doing what would need to be done to improve the exchange of air and water but doing it without humans physically touching the soil. They (microbiological life) are in there working hard. One of the things that I notice first after using our products is an improvement in drainage, so the products that you would use… pretty much the four main products work great on improving drainage led by Penetrate, which is beneficial bacteria mixed with food for the bacteria. And then the three dry products, which are Nourish-Biosol, Maximize, and Optimize all either have microbes, food for microbes, or attractants for microbes. So the whole line is built to improve life in the soil and that is the key if you want to improve drainage.”

John Bagnasco: “I always forget, so I need to ask so I know the order. The Penetrate goes on first or after?”

John Valentino: “There’s a lot of different ways to do it. One of the nice things about the line is it’s almost impossible to do it wrong. It’s not like it’s not going to work. But if you ask me, the optimal way to maximize success would be to use the Penetrate last, mainly because that is live beneficial bacteria and if we spray that on and continue to work in the garden, we’re probably going to damage some of the bacteria we just sprayed on. So we would throw on all of the dry products and then when we’re completely done with everything we’re going to do, spray on the Penetrate and don’t work in the garden for a day or two or three to allow that to take hold. The watering during that time doesn’t matter; you don’t need to water it in like you need to water in a synthetic product.”

Using the Lasagna Method

John Bagnasco: “John we have an email from a listener that wants to know if you’re familiar with the lasagna method of gardening and can you used that (method) with your products. If so, what type of organics would be best to use in combination?”

John Valentino: “Steve Goto loves to talk about the lasagna method. It’s a layering method, like you would make lasagna. In addition to being a layering method, it emphasizes this concept that is being more widely promoted in the last few years that it is better to not go in and till your soil or physically disturb your soil at regular intervals like a lot of gardeners would do in the past where every Spring they till it as deep as they can till it, the worry there being that you’re going to damage all of those beneficial colonies of microbes that we’re working hard to start. So with the lasagna method, you just keep putting things on top of each other and you don’t till. You try to minimize physical disturbance of the soil. Our product is perfectly suited, even without talking about the lasagna method. The way we use our product and the way it’s promoted on the packaging is in effect a lasagna method where you just go over the top. You don’t need to till it in, you don’t need to mix it in, it won’t burn, you just water as normal. The lasagna method is fantastic and is really what our product was designed to be a part of, a method like that.”


We also had a phone call to the show from Bill in Chico, who had previously purchased our Blend, a pre-mixed bag of our dry products: Optimize, Maximize, and Nourish-Biosol.

Bill: “The last time you were on, you talked about a Blend of your products and the fact that retailers didn’t carry it. I ordered it directly from you and I want to tell you, it’s such a time saver. I’m really impressed and that mold you were concerned about: for a real gardener that is nothing. It just shows that your product is working.”

John Valentino: “Thank you! [Blend] makes it so much easier and is the way to do it. Even though the mold isn’t a problem, it is something that causes alarm. We’ve gotten a lot of calls from people. But by shipping it directly to you, you really don’t ever see the mold if you use it within 3 months. It’s only after several months that you’ll start to see mold on there. Thank you for your order. We’re glad you see that it works.”

John Bagnasco: “We should elaborate a little bit for people that are just tuning in and may not understand exactly what it is John is talking about. But basically you have a ready to use product instead of buying the separate products and having to combine them.”

John Valentino: “We have three dry products: Optimize, Maximize, and Nourish-Biosol and so what the Blend is, is where we proportionally mix them so that you can apply them all at once. The way I decided I really needed to make that available to someone is that’s the only way we apply it. Every job we do, we always premix it. That’s the only way we do it because it makes it so much easier. So we made that available to people ordering on our website because the turnaround is a lot faster on that product when we ship directly to them as opposed to a garden center where we ship to a distributor, the distributor might hold it, they send it to the garden center, the garden center might have it on their shelf for a while. In that time frame, the mold will most likely grow. Even though [Bill] is right, it’s not something to be concerned about.”

Red Begonias treated with Blend every 6 months

You can listen to the full show on podcast here