Frequently Asked Questions

Can't find the answer to your question? Contact John and Bob:

3661 N. Highland Avenue
Clovis, CA 93619

(559) 291-4419

How can I restore my poorly-drained soil?
Our products will go to work immediately and start improving everything about your soil (tilth, porosity, workability, moisture retention, etc.). Our universal formula that works on all soils everywhere involves the use of soil microbes, attractants for microbes and food for microbes. Complex soil life is the fastest, most permanent and most convenient way to fundamentally change your soil. There will be gradual, steady improvement with our recommended every 6 month applications. You will see minor improvement after 2 months and then the changes continue as long as you apply every 6 months. After 1 year the changes should be more than minor, particularly regarding water penetration and plant health. I think you will be impressed, but it is not magic—it is gradual and takes a little time.
How long will it take to repair my clay soil and achieve a noticeable softening?
I would use the PENETRATE and MAXIMIZE and NOURISH with it for fastest and best results. I seem to get changes in layers about 3″ at a time and those incremental changes occur about every 6-12 months. Make sure you are growing something in the area also. Plant growth is an important part of changing the soil.
How can I eradicate harmful nematodes and wire worms?
Many gardeners that have destructive nematodes end up stopping gardening because of a lack of solutions. The best, most permanent and simplest way to eradicate bad nematodes is with good nematodes which are way stronger than bad nematodes. Good nematodes are part of healthy biologic life in soil and they require healthy amounts of beneficial bacteria, fungi and protozoa, as a food source, to be present in the soil. Our system is all about building complex, beneficial life in the soil. Traditional chemical fertilizers and many pesticides/fungicides damage life in the soil and that life that is your only hope for building up a good population of beneficial nematodes which will get rid of your bad nematodes. All of our products are important to build life in your soil-OPTIMIZE, MAXIMIZE, PENETRATE, and NOURISH Biosol. We have some scientific tests on our website that were done using the NOURISH-Biosol specifically to eradicate bad nematodes. The product is referred to in the test as mycelium from bacteria and fungi, which is what the NOURISH-Biosol is made from. My recommendation is to use our products regularly with an emphasis on the NOURISH-Biosol and use good quality compost as a top dressing. Refrain from using synthetic products that damage microbial soil life. You won’t eradicate the problem in a week or two, but with repeat applications every 4-6 months, you should see steady progress and eradication after 2-3 years.
How can I repair my alkaline soil?
The best way to dramatically and permanently lower ph is with complex microbial soil life– beneficial bacteria, fungi, protozoa and good nematodes. John & Bob’s Smart Soil Solution Kit called Nature’s Gardening Kit has OPTIMIZE-Soil Optimizer, MAXIMIZE-Microbes & Minerals, PENETRATE-Liquid Biotiller, and NOURISH Biosol and using all four is the best approach. If your ph is 8.5 or less, then you can apply them all at once. If it is more than 8.5, then you should apply the OPTIMIZE and NOURISH Biosol only and leach your soil to lower the ph a little. The reason is the live organisms in the other two products will die if they are place into extremely salty soil. This treatment will be very effective and then continue applications every 6 months.
How can I repair my sandy soil?
I recommend you use PENETRATE-Liquid Biotiller, MAXIMIZE-Microbes & Minerals, OPTIMIZE-Soil Optimizer and NOURISH-Biosol. If that layer is hard compacted clay or anything like that, these products will work great. If it is genuine, real hardpan, which is the same as concrete or rock, then the products will not have a beneficial effect. The only way to change real hardpan is to drill through it.
Can I use your products to improve the soil in my containers?
Yes, this is a great idea, especially if your pots, baskets and window boxes contain soil that’s been used for several seasons. Because containers are often densely planted, a concentrated, time release quality organic fertilizer like Nourish is also recommended to keep all those hungry plants in prime condition throughout the entire growing season.
Do I have to remove the sod to improve the soil?
The perfect way to use John and Bob’s products is to apply them on top of the soil right before you lay the sod. Or, if the sod is already down, apply on top of the grass as package directions outline. Then continue to condition your soil every 6-12 months by applying them over the top of your grass. This should be done right after a mowing to minimize the possibility of picking up granules with the mower before they begin to break down and dissolve.
What is the shelf life after products are opened?
The products have excellent shelf life, but there is some variation from product to product.

1. OPTIMIZE will last the rest of our lives opened or unopened.

2. MAXIMIZE is equally durable and viable and will store indefinitely.

3. PENETRATE keeps a long time, but after one year, we noticed that the bacterial counts in Part B begin to decline slightly, so you get the most active product if you use it within one year, and of course, you need to keep ‘A’ and ‘B’ in separate containers. Once you mix them, there is virtually no shelf life and it should be used within 12 hours.

4. NOURISH- Biosol keeps for several years in an unopened bag (should be used within 5 years). Once you open it, you need to seal it well for storage and keep as dry as possible. If an open bag is not resealed and the NOURISH is exposed to moisture in the air, usually a mold will begin to grow on it and while it will still be useable, that is the first step to decreased viability. The three dry products, OPTIMIZE, MAXIMIZE and NOURISH can be mixed together and applied all at once for convenience, but they will not store for more than a few days in this mixed state. If you mix them together you need to apply them immediately.
Will your products work in New England?
Our product formulas are universal and will work equally great in all soils and climates. The goal of all our products is to maximize the health and structure of soil by infusing your soil with complex beneficial microbial life. All our products contain either microbes, food for microbes or attractants for microbes and those little guys (beneficial soil microbes) are nature’s mechanism for great soil and pest & disease resistance, no matter what part of the world you garden in.
What’s in your products?
Our concept is we use nature’s mechanism (beneficial soil microbes) for building soil that can create its own nutrients and can prevent or defeat every pest and disease. Its soil microbes that will grab and use natural nitrogen and phosphorous and potassium and not allow it to be leached through the soil. All the products are concentrated and convenient and contain the effective components of very high quality compost, which include either beneficial soil microbes, food for microbes or attractants for microbes. Our plant based organic fertilizer is unique in its source and effectiveness—it not only feeds plants as effectively as a synthetic, but is great at building the soil.
How do we apply your product?
You can apply products in any order and at any interval. It’s great to apply all at the same time, but if you want to wait in between applying each product, that’s fine too. It is OK to mix all the granular products (OPTIMIZE, NOURISH Biosol, MAXIMIZE) together and apply all at once. If you do this, you need to apply all that you mix, it can only be stored if the products are kept separate, just as they came from us. My preference would be to apply all the dry products first and then apply the PENETRATE last. After you apply the PENETRATE don’t disturb the soil for several days. But that isn’t essential, just a slight preference on my part.
Are your products available in the east coast?
At this time our products are not available on the east coast in retail stores. We can ship them directly to you without charging for shipping if your order is more than $79. You can order from our website at or by calling us at our nursery at 559-291-4419.
How long does the product stay on the soil?
After several weeks of application it is normal to see soil optimizer settle on top of the soil and is why applications are needed only every 6 months. OPTIMIZE breaks down very slowly so that the organic compounds are released gradually for about 6-8 months. You should continue to be able to see it for awhile and that is good. It works gradually and for a long period of time.
How do the costs of your products compare to other options?
Well, let’s do the math. If you buy a Nature’s Gardening Kit which includes Soil Optimizer, Penetrate Liquid Bio-Tiller, Maximize Microbes and Minerals and Nourish fertilizer in the 1,000 square foot size, that’s less than $80 to condition your soil. Use it twice a year as recommended and that’s a total of just under $160 per year and an investment of less than 2 hours of your time. If instead you choose a bulky soil additive like compost, you’ll have to buy about 56 1.5 cubic foot bales for 1,000 feet, totaling about $400 for a single application. You’ll need to load those bales, transport them from the store, unload them, split them and spread the contents around your yard with a wheelbarrow and shovel. That’s a lot more money and way more work. For the best value, buy John and Bob’s products in larger size bags and kits. But in any size, these products are excellent values, are fast and easy to apply, are good for the environment and can be delivered right to your doorstep.
How long can I store your products without losing effectiveness?
John and Bob’s products can be stored indefinitely as long as they don’t get wet. For Penetrate, store the two bottles as they are, with the contents separated. Once you mix these two components biological activity begins and the resulting blend should be used promptly. Also, once Nourish Biosol is opened, it should be used within 3-4 months. We have seen mold growth when not used within that time. The mold is not harmful, but we would prefer to avoid it. 

*For more information, please review above question: “What is the shelf life after products are opened?”.
Should I use standard soil amendments (compost, redwood) with your products?
The idea behind John and Bob’s Smart Soil Products is that you don’t need bulky amendments such as compost or redwood. Our product line is more effective, less expensive, and much more convenient because of the billions of soil micro-organisms that fundamentally change the soil. So no, other soil amendments aren’t necessary. However, our products are complementary to all other good soil amendments like compost, earth worm castings, compost tea, etc. – all are more powerful when combined.
Do we need to move our bark mulch before applying your product?
Ideally, John and Bob’s products would be applied before bark mulch was added, but that’s not essential. The goal is to get the product into the soil and, since it is water-soluble, that will happen eventually whether it is applied under or over the bark. A major appeal of this product line is that you can continue to improve your soil on an ongoing basis without a lot of hassle.
How can I get rid of lawn pests?
Whitefly is fairly easily controlled by building the microbial life in your soil. It is not well understood that all pests and disease can be prevented or defeated by mechanisms of nature. The natural mechanism for whitefly and almost every other pest and disease is life in your soil (beneficial bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, etc.). That is exactly what our System will do for your soil and your turf.
Do you have a lawn product to suppress weeds?
Get the lawn as healthy as possible w/ the proper soil composition; this does a great job of weed suppression. I recommend our OPTIMIZE, MAXIMIZE and Biosol NOURISH. There has been very interesting research indicating the proper relationship between calcium and magnesium (6 to 1) is the key to naturally suppressing weeds in turf. Our products are formulated to achieve that 6 to 1 ratio.
Will your products work on my pine trees?
We have an organic fertilizer that will feed your trees and your soil. It is made from the mycelium (bloom) of beneficial, cultured fungi and bacteria. It’s very unique and tremendously effective–the best organic fertilizer I’ve ever used and it is called NOURISH Biosol. I recommend about 1-2 cups per tree– just broadcast over the top of the root zone with no chance of burning. You don’t mention if there are any pest, disease, or vitality issues with the trees. If they are all healthy, then the organic fertilizer would be sufficient, if not, then you should consider also applying our OPTIMIZE-Soil Optimizer and our MAXIMIZE-Microbes & Minerals.
Which fertilizer and soil conditioner will work for my roses and lawn?
A fantastic combination for roses is OPTIMIZE-Soil Optimizer, MAXIMIZE-Microbes & Minerals, and NOURISH-Biosol–you’ll be amazed by the results. We use out NOURISH-Biosol organic fertilizer for lawn and for vegetables and trees, plants, etc. It is the best fertilizer I have ever used and it not only will feed your grass, but it builds the soil in amazing ways at the same time.
Is John and Bob’s good for my citrus?
Our products produce great results on citrus. Our approach is a little different in that the John & Bob’s system does have significant amounts of minerals which positively impact plant performance, but even more important is that the minerals feed complex microbiological life in the soil which will benefit citrus in every way—-max. sugar content and abundance of fruit, resistance to pests and disease, minimize watering, etc.
How can I fix my brown, patchy lawn?
It depends on the cause of the big brown spots. Frequently, cool season grass (fescue, bluegrass, rye grass, etc.) in warm climates are subject to fungal disease. The best way to prevent and defeat these fungal diseases is by building the beneficial fungi and other microbiological life in your soil. This is the focus of our products—not only OPTIMIZE, but MAXIMIZE, PENETRATE and NOURISH Biosol will build your soil with beneficial microbes that are way stronger than the weaker bad fungi that cause turf disease. John & Bob’s Smart Soil Solutions will improve everything about your soil and allow your plants and lawn to be pest and disease-free because those little soil microbes are nature’s mechanism to prevent pest and disease. Unfortunately, traditional synthetic fertilizers damage nature’s mechanism (beneficial soil micro-biology) for preventing fungal disease, aphid, rust and every other pest and disease that plague home gardeners. The other possible cause of the brown spots is poor irrigation coverage.