John Dromgoole grew up in Laredo, Texas, and no doubt his love of plants (and Mexican culture) can be traced to his roots in South Texas. John left the Rio Grande Valley in the 1970s and moved to Austin where he quickly became part of the city’s newly emerging natural foods and organic gardening scene. They didn’t know it at the time, but John and his friends were pioneering a new way of life. They were helping to lay the groundwork for today’s Green Revolution.
John has remained deeply involved in the advancement of organics and environmental issues for more than thirty years. Today, he is one of the nation’s foremost experts on organic gardening, and in his varied roles as small business owner, radio host, TV personality and public speaker, John’s passion and focus has always been organic gardening. He loves introducing people to a more sustainable life, a way of treading lightly on the earth, and sharing how easy, beneficial and beautiful it is to be an organic gardener. His years of experience have proven that great results and personal satisfaction come from growing food and landscapes without the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.
John promotes organics in a big way as creator and owner of the nation’s premier organic gardening center, The Natural Gardener. John also founded The Natural Gardener’s sister company, Lady Bug Natural Brand. There were few quality organic gardening products available, so necessity led John to create his own line of high quality soils,soil amendments, and organic fertilizers. These days, we can buy organic gardening products in almost any store, thanks in large part to John and other Austin area natural gardeners who demanded cleaner, more earth-friendly products. Today, Lady Bug Natural Brand Products are being sold at garden centers, feed stores, and Whole Foods stores across the United States.
In addition to being a fulltime business owner, another of John’s many roles is that of radio host. He’s the beloved answer man of America’s longest-running organic gardening radio show. John started his Gardening Naturally call-in show on KLBJ AM 590 more than 28 years ago, and his radio audience continues to grow.
John is on the air each Saturday from 9-11am and Sunday 8-10am. Listeners outside of Austin can call toll-free at 877-590-KLBJ and local folks can call in with their questions to 512-836-0590. Austinites have loved John's show for years, and now a whole new generation of gardeners is listening to Gardening Naturally via podcast.
John was an organic gardening trailblazer on TV, too; he hosted the first-ever national organic gardening series, “The New Garden” on PBS. Currently, he makes regular appearances on two TV shows: Central Texas Gardener on the local PBS affiliate KLRU, and the Weekend Gardener on NBC’s local affiliate, KXAN. John has been appearing on KLRU for more than 10 years, and on KXAN for almost twenty years. You can see many of his how-to segments on the Central Texas Gardener website, the Entertainment page of the KXAN website, and Youtube.
John also dispenses his time-tested organic gardening advice in print; he’s written articles for Texas Gardener Magazine and Organic Gardening Magazine since 1983.
At home, John originated the City of Austin’s Chemical Clean-Up Day, and his vision grew to include a permanent drop-off site and an annual event allowing Austinites to safely dispose of toxic household chemicals. Before Chemical Clean-Up Day, a lot of toxic wastes were being dumped down drains and onto the ground, making their way into Austin’s drinking water. In 2002, John was awarded the Dennis Hobbs Individual Achievement Award by Keep Austin Beautiful for his work and contributions to Austin and the surrounding area.
Over the years, John’s dedication to organic gardening and farming has been recognized with numerous state, local, and regional conservation and gardening industry awards. He served on the Texas Department of Agriculture's original organic certification task force, where he helped establish standards for certification of organic farmers and growers in Texas. This lifelong passion and dedication led the state to honor John with the title of “Texas Legendary Promoter of Organics.”