Know Thy Dirt | Interview with Soil Expert David Mayer

Without a doubt, dirt matters. Quality soil is the very foundation for happy, healthy growth. But good dirt is hard to find. Often, what’s outside in your backyard or purchased wholesale is missing key components plants really need to thrive.

At Gardenuity, we know this. So we’ve paired with dirt expert David Mayer to create a specialty quality soil blend for all of our gardens. We’re not afraid to say it: it’s the best dirt around. It’s a carefully crafted mixture that gives your specific plant everything it needs to grow successfully.

This week, we sat down with David to get the dirty details: how and what he creates, why it’s the best, and why dirt matters — in and out of the garden.

Gardenuity’s Dirt Expert

Gardenuity Quality Soil

David is in charge of product development, so he knows all the ins-and-outs of the soil he’s making. He and his team are expert soil creators, designing everything from traditional growing mediums bought by propagators, to blends used by golf courses, to retail needs.

For Gardenuity, David and team produce two specialty blends: our live plant-soil blend and our seed square soil blend. And yes, they’re different. As David explains to me, the two packages are suited to the plants’ unique phase of life. The seed square blend is mild with more delicate nutrient packages (they ultimately translate into salts!), while the live plant blend is a more aggressive package.

It’s a beautiful product. We grow and we make beautiful things that help other people grow.

David Mayer

That’s David’s goal as he creates his soil: dirt that helps achieve a really good grow — the kind of growth that produces lush, full plants with increased flowering and fruiting every time. And he achieves this goal through a combination of heavy scientific research and a knack for creation.

The Unique Soil Blend

Gardenuity Unique Soil Blend

So what exactly is this unique soil blend? As David’s talking, he sometimes loses me as he drifts into the science-heavy world of bio-stimulants and plant needs. But essentially, the soil blend includes some form of peat moss or coir (the base) and something that will provide porosity (usually a type of pearlite product). If you’re like me and don’t know what porosity is, it’s the ability of a material to transfer air and water back-and-forth — a critical and often absent element in soil.

Add to this the compost component, which is the most unique aspect of these blends. If you understand soil as the factory for plant growth — the place where the needs for all plant processes are met, then the compost is “…the heart of the growing factory we assemble.”

The compost is made from alfalfa, coffee chaff, and yogurt. It’s then inoculated with a bio-engineered “mesophilic microbial” package and fortified with natural nutrients derived from a combination of organic sources to ensure all of the plants’ needs are met. David says, “The mixture delivers a precise and consistent array of macro and micronutrients with trace minerals.” It’s a carefully crafted compost that exists in a league all its own.

That being said, it’s really all of these components in aggregate that makes the product really special. David’s soil blends are meticulously engineered and require an expert level of scientific knowledge and genuine artistic process to create.

The Passion for Quality Product

Gardenuity soil blends

If it sounds like a demanding endeavor, that’s because it is. David himself chuckles and says, “My passion for what I do is borderline obsessive…I love the science and the art behind the product blending. I love the whole process from start-to-finish, and then the finish is the icing on the cake — to see something flourish and thrive with our materials. When I tell David that I’ve personally grown with his product (and to great avail), he genuinely lights up. He tacks on, “It’s a beautiful product. We grow and we make beautiful things that help other people grow.”

The Difference in Your Grow

Seed Square with Quality Soil

In truth, I could actually see the difference in the lettuce I grew compared to the lettuce I bought at the store. The differences in plants grown in our high-quality soil blends versus plants bought or grown in your backyard dirt are clear. Our soil blends produce plants that taste more vibrant, look lusher, and smell more divine.

David uses a specific example of the difference in quality: “One thing people see in our product that they won’t see in many other soil blends is our iron content. All of these plants are going to have a deep, lush, green tone to them with higher nutritional value.” And this example is just one among many of the effects good, quality dirt has on your grow.

David is adamant. Dirt matters and the quality of the dirt really matters. He says, “Without the entire web of processes made possible by good soil, you’ll have barren landscapes and mediocre growth rates. You might not kill plants, but you’re not going to have that “wow” experience.” The soil is everything. It’s rare these days to find natural ground soil that contains everything you need to grow. It’s why we’re so passionate about our grow kits.

The Difference in Your Health

fall patio garden salad

Dirt matters outside of your grow too. Quality dirt can make a massive difference in your health! Research shows that spending time in the dirt will strengthen your immune system, reduce allergies and asthma, and improve digestion. More than this, there’s a specific bacteria in soil that can help your ability to learn and reduce anxiety. Getting a little quality soil under your nails can make a huge difference in your mental and physical health.

We’re aware that bringing the joy of gardening to everyone’s front porch or kitchen isn’t something the Gardenuity team can accomplish alone. Like the microcosms in our quality soil, we’re seamlessly collaborating with partners like David to bring ease to the growing experience.

If working with David has taught us anything, it’s that the soil we’re growing in is key. Dirt matters — in and out of the garden, and we’re grateful to be growing with soil experts like David.