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Dave Thompson's Organic Healthy Grow--An Experiment with Organic Fertilizer

Have you ever wondered if organic fertilizer is worth the money? It's something that I have grappled with for years. For years conventional garden fertilizers were more readily available than their organic counterparts. But that has changed over the last couple of years. A couple of weeks ago Dave Thompson's Organic Healthy Grow reached out to me with a proposition to conduct an experiment with organic fertilizer.

They wanted to contract me to use their naturally compost organic fertilizer, test it in my garden and provide monthly updates. Previously to these conversations I have never heard of Dave Thompson's Organic Healthy Grow. I was surprised that it was made right here in Illinois, and I was also surprised and inspired by Dave's story. In the 1970s, Dave was a first grade school teacher in Aurora, Ill.,who would regularly incorporate hatching baby chicks into his curriculum to teach his students about the cycle of life.

You won't believe what happened next! Actually, if you're a gardener you can probably guess what happened next. A hobby lead to an obsession and business. What started as a few baby chicks lead to an ever expanding flock, and needing to buy more land to house more chickens. And a classroom experiment to teach kids about the cycle of life lead to a sustainable business.

When the product arrived for me to try I was initially struck by how thoughtful and beautiful the packaging is. And can I just mention how sturdy the packaging is, too? One of my pet peeves in the garden industry is flimsy packaging that leaves soil, compost, and fertilizer everywhere in your home, garage and trunk because the bags rip open easily.

Powder and liquid fertilizers annoy me because of having to find a container for mixing, measuring, and application. And watching it blow away in the wind when it's a powder fertilizer you sprinkle on the soil is aggravating. Maybe, like me, you're also worried about inhaling powdered fertilizer. Dave Thompson's Organic Healthy Grow fertilizer is granulated which makes the handling and application of this fertilizer pretty easy.

And it smells pretty good. I mean, as far as fertilizer made from chicken poop goes--it smells great! There's a rich and earthy aroma to this fertilizer that you're not going to get in synthetic fertilizers that come in crazy colors.

So here's my experiment. At the community garden I volunteer at we have some plots that we use to grow food for a local food pantry. This community garden is organic so we normal only amend the soil with compost and organic products. This year I'm going to use at least one of the plots to conduct an experiment that I will update you about here.

Earlier in the year we grew hundreds of tomato seedlings to give away for free in the community. After amending this raised bed I added Dave Thompson's Organic Healthy Grow, and I planted six of our locally grown tomatoes in the compost we use every year, and the other six in the area amended with the Healthy Grow fertilizer.

So what's going to happen? I'm going to provide monthly updates on this blog to see just how much better our tomatoes grow with Dave's organic composted fertilizer versus our compost we use every year.

Today, Dave, his wife Terry and their son Ben run Pearl Valley Farms, which includes Pearl Valley Eggs, Phil’s Fresh Eggs, Eggology liquid eggs, Coop Poop, and Healthy Grow. That's pretty impressive for something that started in a classroom in the 1970s. See Part II of Dave Thompson's Organic Healthy Grow Experiment.

Have you used Healthy Grow in the garden before? Take a look around the Healthy Grow website if you're interested in a giveaway, comment below and I could possibly host one as part of my sponsorship to experiment and blog about the product.