178. PITMOSSⓇ | Ashley Mariani | Waynesboro, PA



  • a little different
  • soft
  • light
  • fluffy
  • holds a ton of moisture

but it’s certainly not your typical bag of potting soil


so our challenge is to educate people that this isn’t your normal growing media, it’s beneficial to the plants and our planet!

Were really big on our planet and sustainablity

so any questions about potting mixes, stagnant peat moss and that.

what’s unique about our product and what areas it really thrives in

Where are you located?

Were in Pittsburg

I am a millennial

I am, it’s such a dirty word

Millennial Love

Not on my show! I think Millennials are the rockstar generation that are gonna save our planet and care about the world! The one’s I interview are people like you and I can hear your passion coming through. This guy posted this thing on FB Jackie every time I hear you talk about millennials I think of this, and it’s totally dissing millennials and the end it says imagine one of them is gonna be president someday… the millennials I talk to consistently are the hardest working, especially gardeners, and in my podcasting group that are millennials as well as ones that are my age that have been doing the 9-5 but many are kids coming out of college and high school who do not want to get a job they don’t even trust a job.

Lifestyle Design

So many people think of millennials as like Tim Ferris’ book the 4 Hour Work Week millennials are lazy but the 4 Hour Work Week doesn’t even mean your gonna work a 4 hour week it probably means your gonna work 80 hours a week and your work and your life are gonna be intertwined so your job is your passion and your life together and also he talks about lifestyle design and not waiting for retirement but putting those moments into your life as you go… 3 months here, a week here, enjoy life now while your living it and enjoying it …

and like the head of my podcasting class was in the army and Pat Flynn from the Smart Passive Income such an environmentalist and they are such humanitarians, I have to admit I’m not sure either of them really qualifies as a millennial both are right on the cusp but just the people they inspire are truly hardworking people!

Work-life Integration not Work-life separation … I’m constantly working and also living my life.

Me too, I feel very blessed to have the life I have.

Today is February 24 and I have 5 interview’s scheduled and 3 are going to talk about healthy soil!  I’m starting my day with another Rockstar Millennial who is going to teach us about how to care for our planet!  So welcome to the show Ashley Mariani!

Tell us a little about yourself.

Absolutely, I have a pretty diverse background. I started in politics working in the mayor’s office but got bored at that so I went back to college, got 2 graduate degrees.  At that time I started working for a software company and built up their marketing team. Was getting a little stale. I wanted to do something I was more passionate about be able to get up every day and really believe in my work.

I started consulting with PITMOSS about a year ago, helping with social media and marketing they were lucky and getting to know the business. They were fortunate to secure a round of funding and bring me on full time, so I quit my job, took a leap. My role is to spread the word of PITMOSS and control all of our digital assets our website, amazon, also help promote and educate gardeners and consumers about what our product is and how it’s different then a typical growing media.

I just had to cut in and tell listeners that Mike and I are both using it and love it!


It is! It’s different then anything that you would be used to grabbing off the shelves at the home and garden center or Lowes. Especially if you consider the weight of it, you’re walking down the aisle and you would almost hurt your back

yank off the bag of potting soil

If you yank off a bag of PITMOSS

not that much of a problem

  • 1/2 the weight
  • made from cellulose fiber. We have a propriety process where we
  • grind up newspaper
  • the size of the fiber is very important to us
  • the process of taking the newspaper breaking it down to a blend
  • that is perfect for plant growth

then we

add in organic ingredients to make it more of a growing media not just a cellulose fiber that’s ground up. We work our magic in a big mixer and that’s how we produce our PITMOSS

really unlike anything else

Has nothing in it like

  • no vermiculite

  • no perlite

It’s really just a product stands on it’s own and is a totally different environment then your plants are used to growing in.

Mike and I were wondering you mix this with dirt or you put the seeds right in there?

great question

Up until this past year we sold a lot of our product to commercial growers and that product was


PITMOSS prime is a

soil ammendment

soil conditioner

mix with compost would be great ideal!

2/3 to 1/3

You can mix it with

miracle grow basic soil


The one thing missing from


any type of soil

mix with something with nutrients

providing your typical soil with

  • porosity

  • aeration

  • water holding capacity

Helps whatever soil your used to working with. We do have home gardeners who want to use it like a typical home potting soil so we did just launch

PittMoss Performance Grow Bigger Stronger Plants

PITMOSSⓇ Performance that has a

  • controlled release formula
  • starter charge
  • seed germination and begin to grow your plants
  • grow the plants

prime… is a soil amendment.

I guess I’m confused what would your home gardener use?

PITMOSS PERFORMANCE you would liken that to

  • miracle grow
  • fox farm
  • happy frog
  • that sort of blend

PITMOSS has everything you need to get started

pot your plants

You can mix PITMOSSperformance in with your garden the real thing the

material in prime and performance is going to be beneficial no matter what you mix it with it’s going to help soil be better for plants. You can’t go wrong if you  need something with a little less nutrition

PITMOSSPrime Perfect if you already have a compost or soil that your using

PITMOSSⓇ Performance you can just buy a bag and plant right in that…

easiest just like a bag of Miracle Grow.

But it’s organic right?

Yes, absolutely, so glad you brought that up. Right now we are in the process of getting OMRI certified, a process we’ve been working on the past couple of months.

PITMOSSⓇ Prime is going to be certified because it does come from all organic natural materials

PITMOSSperformance even though the ingredients:

  • fertilizer
  • controlled release fertilizer are coming from natural materials because the are processed in a lab they are technically not organic. But we do have

PITMOSS Plentiful that’s gonna be a product right off the shelf, we’re working with Soil scientists and wrapping up with OMRI

potting soil

should be out in a few months

PITMOSSPerformance is gonna be more of a made from all organic materials but because of the controlled released is synthesized we can’t claim it is truly organic. But all of it does come from natural organic materials.

How did this start? How long’s it been around? Where did it come from?

Our founder Mont Hanely worked in garden centers most of his life, involved in horticulture and gardening enthusiasts! He saw truckloads of peat being brought into the garden center and he wondered what is this stuff? What is peat?

If you look at a bag of potting soil. Most of it is peat moss

even higher end

If you google it – what is peat moss?

It says it’s

  • great for water retention
  • boost physical properties of mix

But truckloads of this peat was being brought in and used as an ideal material for plants

but that is really not the case. Mont did a lot of research and found out that it is imported and

mined from peat bogs that are primarily located in Canada although there are some in the UK

3% of earths. They are incredible ecosystems. Some scientists consider them just a precious as rainforests. There’s layers and layers of climate data

What Peat manufacturers mine those bogs and import the peat for gardening use. So not only do you have the transportation and the mining and destruction of the ecosystems but Peat lands contain a lot of carbon so there is a question about the concern of how much carbon is released during the mining process.

It’s not sustainable.

When you go into a store and pick up a bag of potting soil and you’re feeling good about helping the environment and you’re growing a garden and living a healthy lifestyle but all along your planting with this product that isn’t that good for the environment in fact a lot of people say is destructive

Peat is not that good of a product to begin with it’s not that good at water holding

It’s naturally hydrophobic, it hates water

which is ironic if you google peat moss people say, use it because it holds water

Once you actually get the water in it it holds water and it doesn’t give it to plants

it just has it suck it up and store it. You have to add wetting agents to peat once it gets imported to give it the qualities that are ideal for gardeners. You’re

  • adding chemicals
  • mix with perliete and vermiculite
  • to provide porosity and aeration

product replaces the perlite, vermiculate and the need for different additives because

our product is naturally hydrophillic

  • loves water
  • naturually  hydrophillic
  • distribute that water  and manage
  • not wasting water

in a long round about way of answering the question of how we can garden.

Peat moss was really what sparked the idea that Mont had about there needs to be a better way to garden and something better to start planting with.

then this

improted to the US. It’s a massive industry. Were really trying to see if we can change the way people think about what goes into their garden.

I was gonna ask you at one point what OMRI is if listener’s haven’t heard of it?

OMRI certification

organic certification apply

to make sure your products are 100%

Organic Materials Review Institute

501c3 non-profit organization that provides independent reviews…

located in Eugene, OR

Tell me about your first gardening experience?

I grew up in the south hills of Pittsburgh. Most of my gardening experiences were probably with my grandma. She was very into containers and succulents and plants and flowers. I never got to experience my own food and vegetables. As I became an adult it became more of an interest to me because I love to cook so my first adult experience was growing basil and dill and sage!

I struggled a bit, there’s always such a learning curve but that’s kind of what I like about it!

every year you get to experiment with what works. It’s almost like your creating your very own environment and getting to understand it better!

My next adventure is to grow tomatoes and squash and zucchini. I’m slowly progressing from basic flowers to

herbs to vegetables

I think that’s most gardeners experience is there’s always something to learn.

grow with a skill and try different things

there is always something to learn about joining the PITMOSS

soil scientists

mark goldman our director of sales

wealth of knowledge

the whole gardening community

you can’t some learning which I love

great industry  to be working in.

And just advancing my own personal skill in gardening.

That’s exciting maybe someone will end up working there some day as you guys expand?!

So, now, we haven’t really touched on the recyclable part of it. It just looks so cool when you feel it in your hands, it’s so soft, I get so frustrated in Montana we have very minimal recycling and my husband and I we go through more recycling then garbage each week and I just want a recycling bin at the green boxes.

paper is from local sources and one of the common questions I get is the ink ok, is it safe for your plants to garden in?

YES it is absolutely 100% safe! We actually had a study done when Mont first started in 1997 and launched the product and it concluded that the product is completely safe.

a lot of ink is soy based

we have no issues with that. We do have issues sorting the paper

don’t like any glossy or commercial inserts

when we source local newspaper we do have to do a little hands on process of making sure it’s up to quality

We are taking in a ton of paper so we are recylcing the trees back into the earth  which is a big nice circle of a trees life cycle

helping our planet be more sustainable removing the need for peat moss but also using recycled newspaper

win win

  • breaking down into cellulosic fiber
  • experimenting with cardboard

so much commerce with amazon and walmart now they’re shipping so many supplies in boxes, I think that is the next thing we start to R&D to see if cardboard to start recycling and using in our blends.

OMGosh that is one of my biggest pet peeves is I don’t think people realize how much cardboard is used and then wrapped in plastic no less. Lots of things you get at the store you don’t realize it comes on a giant pallet wrapped in plastic.

Glue used to make the boxes, we have to find natural plant based glues

advancement of breaking down cardboard and paper waste into fiber materials are also seeing seeing a lot of advancement I think there is a lot of good things on the horizon in our consumer packages…

And for sure I see when I go to restaurants you get more recyclable friendly materials, not as much styrofoam, even though it’s still there, but even in the place I worked last summer served their meals in recyclable containers that we could just put in our compost.

Do you want to talk about money and cross? Is it gonna go further?

We do consider it to be a bit of premium product. Because we are online and we are starting with a regional rollout of the product. We are in home and garden centers in Pennsylvania and Ohio. We are limited by being a small business so we  are just starting to get into those retail centers. signed up with a distributor to get more into those locations.

We’re really active in that, so when you walk into the store you’re going to see a price point that your used to seeing and we’re gonna be very competitive

10 quart bag will be about $6.99 

up to 1 cubic foot I want to say is $24.00

If you go online and living in CA, they haven’t had a drought the past couple of weeks, with all the flooding but a couple of months ago they were very starved for water.

We get a lot of attention from growers in CA and TX where water management is incredibly important and that is definitely going to be something to consider.

if you want to get our product online and shipped it’s gonna save a lot of resources.

Our prices online are roughly double to account for shipping, we do offer free shipping but we are not making a lot of money off of the online business but we want to 

pass along benefits to fans of PITMOSS

When we offered free shipping we upped the prices so we didn’t get into the red.

It does a lot for our product to be used by gardeners all across the states

If you sign up on contact forms you will be registered for exclusive.

25% off last week

promoting and giving people who are signed up and fans of PITMOSS

discount codes through the website!

But our goal this year is to get into as many home and garden centers as possible.

Ideally a plant out in the west so we can manage our shipping costs as we grow across the states!  It’s hard to tell still in the beginning stages and really excited about what’s upcoming!

Well that’s awesome because I have a lot of listeners in Texas and California and free shipping is always good for me! And because it’s light it’s probably quite competitive that way.

Lucky in that stage, it’s still considered a bulkier item.

  • 10 quart bag is around 5-7lbs. 
  • 1 cubic foot bag is 13lbs
  • Still dealing with a bit of a weight issue but better then a  peat based

wholesale tab on the website.

if you want to purchase product in bulk, I would consider filling out form one fo the sales representatives will call and if you have a 

massive garden

help in that way

We do sell super sacks to commercial growers

potential there if the finances make sense depending on where you are located.

We will absolutley field any of those questions.

We are very happy to get some PITMOSS to anyone who needs it!

One element

microbial activity

A couple of months ago, we ran into what we thought was gonna be a problem. I did a blog about this with our  soil scientist. Reassured us because we saw what we thought was a problem. 

We opened a bag and we saw this white media or material developing. At first glance we were like is that mold? What’s going on with my PITMOSS 

My first thought was we have to stop this and get rid of it.  

Absolutely not! That means things want to grow with PITMOSS 

this microbial activity is so strong within PITMOSS   especially in certain environments

leave it out in the sun, most and perfect environment for growth

Wonderful benefits!

  • probiotics fo your plants
  • digest the nutrients better

see it happen naturally without having to add any seeds or put in the garden means that the product is ready to be grown in!

It’s an environment that loves to produce and inspire growth

One of the challenges is educating people that it is different thing. The microbial activity you might see is

safe and a good thing.

halmarks of the product

we could change it but then we would be delivering less of a product

encourage people to rethink what they are planting in! 

Using potting soil that is really good for the earth

has that great environment your plants will love.

I just did an interview with Danny Swan from Black Swan Organics, I think is in Detroit, he goes into places where they are doing reclamation…. lots that maybe …. soil has been depleted of all nutrients… constantly mulching, anything to do… sounds like this would be a great amendment.

mix with whatever you have or are used to using it will improve whatever your using

a lot of that was

porosity and aeration that will encourage microbial growth

word of caution

a lot of products say you can water less

we really do mean that at 


 Probably the biggest issue is people overwatering becuase people are used to watering everyday… when you start out I would come out and ready to water and I didn’t need to

bit of learning curve…

When we say you don’t have to water as much and we really do mean that!

I was on my grandmother…

“I’m just water less…

I just don’t have to water!”

Very true

water management capacity

far and beyond any other product out there…

I can totally attest to that, yesterday for our 3 day weekend… for the garden club we had this one little tray, and I’m standing there at the end of the day, misting, misting, misting…. I was like how do you do this, my hand would cramp up from misting so much! Not having to do that would be nice! I think that’s part of his success is he mists in the beginning.

You’re not drowning certain parts of the plants…

anything that is gonna help save our planet and our soil… I love!

Final question-

if there was one change you would like to see to create a greener world what would it be? For example is there a charity or organization your passionate about or a project you would like to see put into action. What do you feel is the most crucial issue facing our planet in regards to the environment either in your local area or on a national or global scale?

More concensus… more of a holistic approach to how we can better the environment There’s still some debate about whether our planet is being affected by clmimate change you talk to any scientist its hard to belive we cant come to an agreement on that 

more consensus

  • better innovation
  • ways to use greener more sustainable products
  • great for the environment and economy

make sure we’re hoping to steer people lead the world in a more greener


Is really my full time right now and all day life really right now


spread the word

make people more comfortable sustainable organic products

we see a lot of change

Anything to make it more acceptable to people

organic stuff is so expensive what does it really do

healthier fruit for you

how are they treating our soil… are they using GMOs

label that says organic there’s a lot of meaning and purpose for that. 

Helping to spread the world….

Do you have an inspiration tip or quote to help motivate our listeners to reach into that dirt and start their own garden?

Gardening is Therapeutic it’s a cheap thereapist!

You’re not the first one to say that but the first one in a while so good to hear! 

How do we connect with you?


experiences with PITMOSS 

gardening club I’ll get some samples out to you.


free shipping!

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About the author, Jackie Marie

I'm an artist and educator. I live at the "Organic Oasis" with my husband Mike where we practice earth friendly techniques in our garden nestled in the mountains of Montana.

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