Garden Product Reviews: Should I Do Them?

Posted on Jul 5 2011 - 2:22am by Mike Lieberman

When I wrote about having sponsors, some people mentioned that they wanted me to review the products. This is something that I wanted to get more feedback from you on.

To give you my thoughts, a straight review isn’t something that I’m really that interested in. For the most part they are pretty boring. I will definitely be using the products of my sponsors more, but don’t want to dedicate an entire post to a specific product (sans contests).

Before Botanical Interests even became a sponsor, I wrote a post about them. The reason I wrote this is because lots of people kept asking me where to get non-GMO seeds from and the seed companies that I contacted wouldn’t respond. In the comments of that post other people recommended other seed companies as well.

Thrive is another one of my sponsors that recently signed on. I have yet to use their product, but suggest it when people ask me for alternatives to liquid Miracle-Gro. I am going to be using Thrive in my garden, once I get the twig issue resolved.

I am sure not to say that I’ve used it with great results. That would be lying.

What I’ll be doing is if I am doing something and using a product, I will mention it within the post. If you have a question about that product, then feel free to ask via email, comments, Facebook, Twitter, carrier pigeon…whatever.

When using sponsor’s products, I’ve been very clear and upfront that I am not going to blindly say that the product is the shit and works great. If I have used the product and don’t like it, I will certainly say so as well.

The most important thing is that I don’t want to lose the focus of this site, which is to inspire and empower people to start growing their own food and give some gardening tips along the way.

I’m always down for the dialog and discussion, whether it’s by email, in the comments of this site, Twitter, Facebook or YouTube if you have any questions on products. That is, unless, you really want me to do product reviews.

What’s your thoughts?

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9ca_F3mxBU

  • Tris

    You just do what you are comfortable with, Mike.  I think I can speak for most of your readers when I say that we read you because you are honest and passionate.  We like you that way.

  • Tris

    You just do what you are comfortable with, Mike.  I think I can speak for most of your readers when I say that we read you because you are honest and passionate.  We like you that way.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Thanks Tris. I def don’t think that I am comfortable with straight up reviews. Appreciate the feedback.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=624692882 Katherine Kelley

    I think that instead of a straight review it may be a good idea to have people share their experiences with the product.  For example, I use Thrive, and it has made a difference in my garden during a terrible drought.  Since I started using it, my plants began to grow whereas they were going nowhere before.  I gotta say I’m impressed.  I’d like to hear a variety of other’s experiences because we all have a variety of garden styles.

  • Kristen

    I agree with both Katherine and Tris.  We all rely so much on your honesty with products and trust your opinions, that it would be nice to hear what you think about different products.  This makes us feel comfortable while knowing that you are taking on sponsors because you won’t simply give them a great review just because they are helping financially.  I wouldn’t necessarily go for a straight up lengthy review like Cnet does electronics, that’s just over kill.  But it would be nice to read in your blogs if you are using a product, how it works for you, and things you would change about it.  But also I’d love to hear what many people think about it.  Perhaps you had a bad experience while someone else had a great experience, or figured out a different way to use the product.  We’ve all had different experiences with plants; for instance my planting experience here in S. Texas will be very different from someone living in the north east as the sun, water, and air qualities are all very different from each other and may even affect how these products work for each of us.  I know I would love to hear what you, as well as other people, think about a product before I go purchase it.  

  • Kristen

    I agree with both Katherine and Tris.  We all rely so much on your honesty with products and trust your opinions, that it would be nice to hear what you think about different products.  This makes us feel comfortable while knowing that you are taking on sponsors because you won’t simply give them a great review just because they are helping financially.  I wouldn’t necessarily go for a straight up lengthy review like Cnet does electronics, that’s just over kill.  But it would be nice to read in your blogs if you are using a product, how it works for you, and things you would change about it.  But also I’d love to hear what many people think about it.  Perhaps you had a bad experience while someone else had a great experience, or figured out a different way to use the product.  We’ve all had different experiences with plants; for instance my planting experience here in S. Texas will be very different from someone living in the north east as the sun, water, and air qualities are all very different from each other and may even affect how these products work for each of us.  I know I would love to hear what you, as well as other people, think about a product before I go purchase it.  

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    That would def be interesting. Thanks for the idea.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001032679525 Alice Lincoln

    Do a review ONLY IF YOU DECIDE the product is worthy of such, good or bad; make sure the sponser knows you will tell what you truely think, after a fair trial.  (I used to drive my boss up the wall because I wouldn’t push junk onto my customers – drug store check out).

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Word. Makes sense. Will def mention products if/when I use them. Appreciate the feedback.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Most definitely.

  • Dawn Eggers

    I think it is a good idea as you may introduce a product or idea along that I would not know about, or maybe would be hesitant to try had you not reviewed it.  It can only EXPAND your horizons by opening up new channels of conversation with vendors, sponsors, and us readers/subscribers.   Can’t get any further up the dirt road without taking  taking a risk…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IN46RCR3EENZEHMIZ6OBNLRZLY Dawn Mischler

    ….also (with my last post as Dawn Eggers) finding out about a negative experience with a product or service will perhaps reveal things the vendor could remedy.  This in turn could also gain more sponsorship for you and your venue by having particular vendors “ask” you to use their products for promotion.  Sounds like a ‘win-win’ to me.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Good point. Thanks for the feedback.

  • http://thefrugalgrower.wordpress.com/ Thefrugalgrower

    Your Thrive link in this post isn’t working. I tried to click on it to see if it’s possible for them to ship to Canada.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Thanks for catching that. The link is corrected. Unfortunately at the current time, they don’t ship to Canada. You might want to email them to see if they plan on it in the near future.

  • CJ

    I agree with you Mike, reviews in general are boring, and often feel/sound like they are sponsor led. But, if you (or any of your readers) use a product that is outstanding or failing, then it’s worth a mention in a post – just like you would in “normal” conversation.  
    I boast on stuff that works well to my friends and I crab about stuff that makes my day harder…
    So, talk about what you want to talk about, that’s what I like about your site. I learn a lot, and I don’t feel like I am being sold a product. I feel like I can take your knowledge, mix it with things I have learned from other sites and come up with something that works for my lifestyle, my garden and my  pocketbook.
    Thanks Mike – you have a good thing here, don’t sell out (not that I think you would, but product reviews can look a bit like selling out)
    anyway, those are my 2cents.
    CJ

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Thanks. Appreciate it.