How does your garden grow?

With silver bells and cockle shells? And pretty maids all in a row?

Sounds delightful, but your seeds need to sprout first! After carefully selecting your fruits, vegetable or flower seeds and deciding where you want the physical manifestation of your green thumb, what’s the next step? Selecting your soil!

Although this seems like the easiest step in your gardening endeavor, your choice will determine the viability of your plants and either bring gorgeous heirloom tomatoes to your plate or leave you with lifeless green mulch.

Although the best soil is derived from organic mulch, be sure to carefully read the cumbersome bag’s label to ensure your new earth matter contains no toxic elements. Even soil marked as “organic” in the gardening section can contain vermiculite, peat moss and cottonseed meal – elements that may contain low levels of asbestos, wetting agents or pesticides.

You may be tempted by steer manure in the plant food aisle – resist! The manure is collected from the feed lot where animals are fed a concoction of grains. Cows, horses and other such animals do not have digestive tracts designed to process grains and the animals produce byproducts that not only smell, but are a result of poor digestion and an improper diet.

Right here in Orange County we found an amazing product derived naturally from grass-fed animals that live out in a pasture, not in a claustrophobic feed lot. And the best part? It doesn’t smell!

Authentic Haven Brand produces soil conditioner made from hand-collected and hand-processed cowpies (aka droppings) and are made with your plants and the rest of the earth in mind. The product has never seen grain, hormones or antibiotics.

Owner Annie Haven’s family has produced its manure tea since 1924 and now Authentic Haven Brand sells it across the country in easy to brew tea bags. The bags can be reused for small container gardens and can be stored in a cupboard before use without risk of odor. According to Haven, you cannot overuse her tea, you can only overwater your plants. After you have finished with the bag, you can add it into the soil to return it to the earth.

The nutrient-rich manure tea has saved many gardens and even some growers attribute the success of their prize-winning plants to “moo poo tea.” To learn more about Authentic Haven Brand, visit and purchase your own right in the Shop!

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