October 25, 2021

True Organic Inside Scoop with Justin

Inside Scoop with TRUE’s Senior Vice President of Retail

‍Ready for a look behind-the-scenes at what we’re excited about at True Organic™? After two decades of supporting some of the country’s most popular large-scale organic farms, we’re bringing industry knowledge to your home garden.

We sat down with our Senior Vice President of Retail, Justin Comages, who has been a part of the TRUE® team since our very beginnings. Justin gives us the inside scoop about:

  • What to do to support your garden as Fall arrives
  • Plant foods that are perfect for every gardener
  • When to use single-ingredient food vs. when to use blends
  • And growing solutions from big organic farms that you can use, too!

It can be tempting to let go of garden chores as soon as Fall hits, but this season is actually a prime time for tending to soil health. Can you give us some tips for Fall applications?

Justin says: Before leaf-fall, it’s time for a full application for perennials like fruit trees, roses, and shrubs. We recommend both a Spring and Fall application, and people sometimes lose sight of the importance of that Fall application. Think of it as “putting the plant to bed.”

It’s important to get that Fall application done before a leaf-fall. Once those leaves are down, that plant has essentially gone dormant and it’s going to be “hibernating” until temperatures warm. That Fall plant food application gives that perennial a chance to absorb the nutrients and store them up into its bark or branches, so it’s ready to go in Spring.

Get the plant food into the ground, work it into soil well, then just let the soil do its job. That’s the beautiful thing about organic—we’re working with the soil, not against it.

Neglecting a Fall application can mean stunted growth and slow response to supplements in Spring, which can be harder challenges to overcome with organic practices.


We’re hearing a lot about the benefits of Prilled Sulfur lately. How does Prilled Sulfur help plants and soil?

Justin says: Prilled Sulfur is an amazing soil amendment that we added with focus on region-specific growing, and for gardeners who have a bit more experience. It lowers soil pH, which is going to be beneficial for most all plants, especially your landscaping. Sulphur also helps the mineralization and micronutrient uptake. Depending on your region, the existing soil pH could differ a lot. Now, I know this sounds pretty technical, but you don’t have to be a master gardener to start getting to know your soil better. You can start by doing a quick internet search of your region and “soil survey,” or even chat with the experts at your local garden center, nursery or farm and feed store. TRUE® has been providing organic fertilizer to large-scale farms for almost 20 years.

Have you seen any large-scale solutions that work great for small-scale projects too? 

Justin says: Definitely: liquid plant foods. Most home gardeners will really benefit from incorporating liquid plant food with dry.
For many years, large-scale agriculture practices only incorporated dry (granular) fertilizer for a simple twice-a-year application. That works well, but complimenting crops with an in-season application of liquid has helped farmers increase yield and quality in a big way.
There’s a mainstream belief that you can’t grow as much organically as you can with conventional methods. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
On a larger scale, we’ve seen organic farms yielding the same quantity as conventional. That’s huge. We have plenty of partner farms that grow more with organic methods than conventional. Of course, that’s thanks to a variety of different tried-and-true farm-specific practices—but one that’s been a major boost for our farm partners is that liquid application.

A green row of fresh crops grow on an agricultural farm field in the Salinas Valley, California USA

What’s your go-to TRUE® product for someone who is brand new to using plant food?

Justin says: Our All Purpose Plant Food. It’s such a perfect product that can be successfully used on anything that you’re growing. It’s easy to use and pretty much fool-proof! It gives you a security blanket to build on by balancing nutrients for healthy soil that can support healthy plants.

What about specific products that are perfect for California and the Western United States? Justin says:

First: the Herb & Leafy Greens Food. It’s such a unique product in the plant food space, and it’s a very near and dear blend to TRUE®’s heart. We support the majority of leafy green growing here in CA—some of America’s largest produce farms that put organic food on family tables all across the country—so it’s the product of decades of research and development, tried and true testing in the agriculture sphere.Second: Raised Bed Food. I’m proud of how we carefully developed this plant food for one of the most popular ways to grow here in California—where the square footage can get expensive! And last, but certainly not least: Berry Food. We support a lot of berry production on the west coast and we specifically formulated this product based on conversations with those expert berry growers. We put everything berries need into one bag.

What else makes those products so good for our region or other regions?

Justin says: That’s what is so exciting about all the products we’re crafting at TRUE®: they can be used and adapted wherever you live, for whatever you’re growing. Home gardening is much more flexible than large-scale agriculture. You can make a big influence with a small change. For example, if you have a short window to grow crops (perhaps further North in the U.S.), Blood Meal can help deliver fast nitrogen in a short window. Bone Meal will increase phosphorus and help a plant develop strong root systems. Our signature Seabird Guano is a potent ingredient that promotes verdant growth for so many crops (and you can read more about that in our interview with TRUE® founder Jake Evans).We want home gardening to be accessible to everyone, whether you’re growing a big veggie harvest or nurturing a single rose bush. The more you learn about what works in your climate and your garden, the more you may want to use those single-ingredient, specific supplements. But the wonderful thing about True Organic™ Blends is that we’ve pre-planned everything you need to support a specific plant—we really want it to be easy.

What else do you hear from people who are new to TRUE® products?

Justin says: The number one thing I hear is how much people love the ingredient consistency of our product—it doesn’t separate like some other organic plant foods tend to. You’re going to get the same exact homogeneous blend at the top, middle, and bottom of the bag.

After product consistency and homogeneity, it’s Food Safety. People aren’t afraid to use TRUE® products in the garden with their kids or in places where the family pet might run through.

The other bottom-line feedback I hear consistently is that these products just work. We formulated these products based on decades of research and development in the large-scale agriculture world, so it’s no surprise that home gardeners are stunned by the overall efficacy—but it’s always exciting for us to hear.