FarmVille has partnered with Miracle-Gro to help users' virtual crops...

FarmVille has partnered with Miracle-Gro to help users' virtual crops grow. Credit: Handout

Facebook? Check. FarmVille? Check? Brand-name fertilizer? Maybe check in the real world, but what about the virtual?

Miracle-Gro has partnered with FarmVille, the Facebook-integrated game that allows play farmers to plant, nurture and harvest crops. (Full disclosure: I tried playing FarmVille once, but all my plants died. C'est la vie.)

Now, players can use Miracle-Gro to help their digital crops along, at least temporarily. The "global gro-a-thon," which begins Thursday and runs through April 3 on FarmVille, involves a custom Miracle-Gro farm within FarmVille that walks players through the benefits of using the product in their gardens. Naturally, players are rewarded with virtual goods for their FarmVille farms in the process.

According to a news release, research by Zynga, the parent of games like FarmVille and Words with Friends, shows that 8 out of 10 surveyed FarmVille players in the United States, also enjoy gardening at home, and more than three-quarters are at least interested in growing their own vegetables, fruits and flowers.  FarmVille has 27 million active monthly users. That's quite a direct-marketing score for Miracle-Gro.