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Is Miracle Gro Garden Soil OK to Use

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Is Miracle Gro Garden Soil OK to Use

Post  ding47 on 5/25/2012, 9:37 pm

I live in a patio home and have very limited space for a garden. Also, the elevation is 8500', and the conditions are dry and windy. Getting supplies is difficult although we do have a Wal-Mart. I purchased a Life Time raised garden kit that is 4'x4' with a plastic dome cover. Due to our cooler temps this is necessary. The sales associate at Wal-Mart advised me that the Miracle Gro is a combo of peat moss, vermiculite and compost. I hope that this is true because the garden kit arrived today and I'm anxious to get started over the holiday weekend. Since all of you have experience with similar conditions, do you think the Miracle Gro will work. At this point I have no alternative. Would adding more compost be advisable? Your advice is appreciated. Smile

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Re: Is Miracle Gro Garden Soil OK to Use

Post  Daniel9999 on 5/25/2012, 10:27 pm

The Wal Mart sales associate does not know what they are talking about.

The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for Miracle Gro Potting Mix list the ingredients as......

Perlite
Potassium sulphate,
Sphagnum Peat Moss
Composted Bark
Calciumphosphate
Ammonium Phosphate
Ammoniumnitrate

http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/pdfImages/d8/d87832b0-c61b-4ba3-8eff-608ecceda0bc.pdf

Miracle Gro Garden Soil

Manure
Peat/Forest Products/Compost
Sphagnum Peat Moss
Ammoniumnitrate,
Ammonium Phosphate
Calciumphosphate
Potassium sulphate, K2SO4

http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/pdfImages/b9/b9741a4d-c7a2-4097-b98d-84443bdf4d59.pdf

Miracle Gro Moisture Control Mix Potting Mix

Sphagnum Peat Moss
Peat/Forest Products/Compost
Processed Coconut Coir Pith
Perlite
Calciumphosphate
Ammonium nitrate
Potassium sulphate
Ammonium phosphate

http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/pdfImages/32/328544de-88c7-40c9-b93d-69d62645da32.pdf

Miracle Gro Organic Choice Garden Soil

Forest Products/Compost
Pasteurized Poultry Litter
Sphagnum Peat Moss
Manure

http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/pdfImages/af/af230838-fc7a-4ef3-8feb-3c912f93d488.pdf

Miracle Gro Organic Choice Potting Mix

Composted Bark
Sphagnum Peat Moss
Pasteurized Poultry Litter

http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/pdfImages/ce/ce910f90-4433-4df5-8430-675a5e862685.pdf


This is not the first time I have heard Miracle Gro Potting and Garden soils are a mix of compost, vermiculite and peat.

I have no idea what Mircle Gro product people think is like Mel's Mix because I can find no Miracle Gro product that is even remotely like it according the listed ingredients on MSDs's for Miracle Gro Products.

If you can't find the vermiculite go ahead and use straight compost instead....its what they use for SFG gardening overseas in places where vermiculite and peat is unavailable.

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Re: Is Miracle Gro Garden Soil OK to Use

Post  Turan on 5/25/2012, 11:16 pm

I thought perlite was an acceptable alternative to vermiculite. Other than that, aside from proportions and an added chemical fertilizer, it looks like MM to me. Not ideal but still veggys will grow in it. Make yourself some compost and top dress with it, and add a trowel full to a square before replanting.

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Re: Is Miracle Gro Garden Soil OK to Use

Post  Daniel9999 on 5/26/2012, 12:20 am

Perlite is an acceptable replacement for vermiculite but its the proportions that make Mel's Mix...well Mels Mix and the reason the Miracle Gro products are not MM.

You will also notice only two of Miracle Gro products have perlite (potting mix and moisture control mix) and the "composts" used in both are composted bark and forestry composts... both of which are nitrogen and trace nutrient poor sources...its not a well rounded nutrient rich mix of composted ingredients like MM is supposed to be.

Don't get me wrong veggies will grow in it fine.... but its not formulated for an intensive gardening method like SFG...if you try to plant say 16 carrots a square in straight Miracle Gro you likely to run into performance problems....especially after the fertilizer in it runs out after 6 months....there just not enough of the compost in it to make it work for SFG.

Sure you could add compost to make up for that but keep in mind you paying a premium for the Miracle Gro mixes.

For example the Miracle Gro Potting Mix normally costs (barring sales price and such) $10.47 a 2.5 cubic foot bag at the Walmart in my area.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Miracle-Gro-Potting-Mix/16879560

I can find most composts and manures in my area cheaper.

Why pay a higher price per cubic foot for the Miracle Gro stuff when you can get better results cheaper from using just straight compost?

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Re: Is Miracle Gro Garden Soil OK to Use

Post  Turan on 5/26/2012, 12:28 am

Welll..... I always think just use compost. It is what I use with a lil of my native soil mixed in. However I was focused on the line "At this point I have no alternative."
If there is no alternative for this patio garden, then I say, go for it. Veggys will grow, add compost as it becomes possible but do not not growstuff because it is a bag of Miracle grow.

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Re: Is Miracle Gro Garden Soil OK to Use

Post  Daniel9999 on 5/26/2012, 12:59 am

I am not trying to fight or anything and I apologize if I seem hostile.

I agree with you whole heartedly.

If that is what you have to use then thats what you have to use....I just assume some form of compost was available because ding47 mentioned adding more compost to the Miracle Gro.

Anyway there is nothing wrong with using the Miracle grow for general gardening purposes.....the problem is using it for SFG method....if your gonna use straight Miracle Grow then don't use the spacing recommend in the ANSFG book...use the normal recommend spacing for planting used in other less intensive methods of gardening....otherwise it won't work out and your garden will probably fail because the soil your using is not rich enough to support an intensive method.

You can't make the Miracle Gro do something what it was not formulated to do.

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Re: Is Miracle Gro Garden Soil OK to Use

Post  Turan on 5/26/2012, 1:22 am

O, I don't mean to sound hostile or argumenative either. I was just trying to follow through on what I thought I saw and understood.

You are probably right about the spacings. New MM often seems to have the same trouble. There can never be enough good compost in a garden.

I used the Miracle Gro Organic potting soil for seed blocks this spring. It did not have enough peat in it to hold good form, which surprised me. It was mostly composted stuffs, probably not very good quality though.

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Re: Is Miracle Gro Garden Soil OK to Use

Post  Unmutual on 5/26/2012, 7:56 am

@ding47 wrote:I live in a patio home and have very limited space for a garden. Also, the elevation is 8500', and the conditions are dry and windy. Getting supplies is difficult although we do have a Wal-Mart. I purchased a Life Time raised garden kit that is 4'x4' with a plastic dome cover. Due to our cooler temps this is necessary. The sales associate at Wal-Mart advised me that the Miracle Gro is a combo of peat moss, vermiculite and compost. I hope that this is true because the garden kit arrived today and I'm anxious to get started over the holiday weekend. Since all of you have experience with similar conditions, do you think the Miracle Gro will work. At this point I have no alternative. Would adding more compost be advisable? Your advice is appreciated. Smile

Most sales people (unfortunately) are only worried about getting you to buy something, whether it's right for you or not. Finding all the ingredients to make Mel's Mix can sometimes be frustrating, but it really is worthwhile in the long run. Walmart's idea of gardening supplies is miracle grow and roundup...not really a good combination.

Peat moss should be relatively easy to find as a single ingredient. Finding 5(or more) composts might be difficult, and vermiculite can also be difficult. There is a vermiculite database on this website which might show a store close by. Try calling around for composts, because there may be landscaping companies that make their own in your area.

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Re: Is Miracle Gro Garden Soil OK to Use

Post  searchnk9 on 5/26/2012, 9:20 am

After four batches of Mel's mix for my boxes, I decided to plant a few more things in containers. What I ended up doing was using a potting mix and adding several different composts, that I could get easily nearby to it. The potting mix had peat and perlite in it, but really needed a boost in composts. I have tomatoes, rosemary, and sweet potatoes planted in it and they seem to be doing well. If you can't get everything together for MM, this may work well for you. I'm also fertilizing everything occasionally with fish emulsion. My first year MM seemed to be lacking in some boxes/squares (poor mixing on my part?), but the extra boost from the fish emulsion seems to be doing it's job.

Good luck and enjoy your garden.

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Re: Is Miracle Gro Garden Soil OK to Use

Post  Daniel9999 on 5/26/2012, 3:31 pm

I don't know where in the Pikes Peak region you are exactally but there are some places around there that you might wanna try other than that Walmart to find the stuff you need for your SFG Garden....

Phelan Gardens


4955 Austin Bluffs Parkway
Colorado Springs, CO 80918
(719) 574-8058

http://www.phelangardens.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=55&Itemid=48#Potting

It looks like they have a nice selection of composts (including cotton burr compost) and manure along with the peat moss you will need.

Rick's Garden Center
1827 West Uintah St.

Colorado Springs, CO 80904

719-632-8491

http://www.ricksgarden.com/Contact.html

This place carries hydroponic supplies...they might have vermiculite.

Garden Center at Flying Horse


1615 Silversmith Road
Colorado Springs, CO
719-634-3230

http://www.gardencenteratflyinghorse.com/Home.asp

I can't tell from online what they might have...but its simple enough to call them and find out.

Good Earth Garden Center

1330 N. Walnut,
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
Ph. 719-473-3399

http://goodearthgardencenter.com/

Spenser's Lawn and Garden Center

1430 S. Tejon St.
Colorado Springs, CO
(719) 632-2788

http://www.spencersgardens.com/Spencers/Welcome.html


Finally is Centennial Colorado too far of a drive for you? I found a Garden Center online there that carries the bagged Gardentime Mels Mix. Its all you need for SFG gardening in a single bag.

7711 S. Parker Road
Centennial, CO 80016
303.690.4722
Hours: M-Fri 9:00-7:00
Sat: 8:00-7:00 | Sun: 9:00-5:00
Easter: 12-5

http://www.tagawagardens.com/tgfoodsoils.htm

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Re: Is Miracle Gro Garden Soil OK to Use

Post  cheyannarach on 5/26/2012, 10:27 pm

Wow Daniel, you always give so much of your time to help out. Very Happy

And welcome to the forum Ding!!!!

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Re: Is Miracle Gro Garden Soil OK to Use

Post  Missed-Em on 5/27/2012, 8:54 am

I've used Miracle Grow in my flower boxes for years and have had great success. At the end of the year the materiel goes into the compost pile which ultimatly gets to the garden so...I use MG in my garden..just one season removed. If all you have is MG then use it, enjoy the gardening experience, enjoy the vegies and modify your garden mix as you can. Too many of us have the Mels Mix only blinders on and forget that its the journey that counts, sometimes we take the long road, somes the short but let's not worry too much about the details.

Sorry for the rant:roll:

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Re: Is Miracle Gro Garden Soil OK to Use

Post  Yus on 5/27/2012, 9:38 am

@Missed-Em wrote:I've used Miracle Grow in my flower boxes for years and have had great success. At the end of the year the materiel goes into the compost pile which ultimatly gets to the garden so...I use MG in my garden..just one season removed. If all you have is MG then use it, enjoy the gardening experience, enjoy the vegies and modify your garden mix as you can. Too many of us have the Mels Mix only blinders on and forget that its the journey that counts, sometimes we take the long road, somes the short but let's not worry too much about the details.

Sorry for the rant:roll:

I figured it had something to do with the logo at the top of the page. I suppose you're right. Might as well do whatever is easiest and cheapest.

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Re: Is Miracle Gro Garden Soil OK to Use

Post  Nicola on 5/27/2012, 12:32 pm

As I recall, MiracleGro started as an additive for houseplants, a green liquid you mixed up yourself. In my mind, that meant that their products = chemical fertilizers. With "organic" in the names of some of their newer products, I would hope that those are more like what we are trying to do--not put poisonous chemicals into our home-grown food.
But, maybe I have blinders of my own on, and judge that brand too harshly. Ideally, that Walmart can provide you with the Organic Choice MiracleGro, but I probably know better. Rolling Eyes

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And now we play the organic card****

Post  Missed-Em on 5/28/2012, 2:32 am

Growing organic vegitables is a goal most of us ascribe to, but the majority fail to some degree and many just give up. Obtaining unadultorated products to put into our garden soil is very difficult: Comercial, compost can come from yard waste (i.e. chemically treated grasses)', other comercial processes with no concern over the content of the compost or how to properly handle the product to preclude contamination or be a product of minimal nutriant value. Manuers, for the most part come from massive feedlots where the cattle are fed hormons and other supplements plus food products we would deam inapropriate, yet these manuer producers provide material for our beds. Vermiculite is mined, processed,packaged and shipped long distances to our local purveor. The gross carbon foot print on this effort is immense. you now have the materiel for the growing medium, good or bad but not to be confused with Organic!

Intensive gardening has been going on for ages; from the Nile, to the rice paddies on the hills of china to the small plots of maize grown by the Anastazi. Mel made it popular with a neet name "Square Foot Gardening" and developed a medium that did well at growing a large number of plants. This Mels Mix has evolved over time to the current product that is both simple and easy to use as well as very productive.

The current question at hand is another medum sutible for use in SFG? As SFG is a technique; i.e. simply a way to grow vegtables then the medium becomes secondary to the process. Any good potting soil will have the necessary structure and nutriants to raise a good crop once. Second, third and forth crops will fail do to a lack of nutrients. Therefor Mels teqnique of fortifying the medium following every harvest becomes the tool for making this medium continue to be productive, and in fact will probably convert the mix to Mels Mix over time.

In summary use what you can and strive to improve it as you go. If organic produce is in your plans use extreme care to select local suppliers you can trust to get as clean a product as you can, but know that it is a goal you will always strive for but never quite reach.

Guardening is fun, when it becomes to hard it becomes work and it's no longer fun. Keep it simple and fun.

I know that I have sinned and may be barred forever from this site but -- Remeber that I also eat meat, and I buy it from Walmart and now I've angered a hole nother group of people!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Re: Is Miracle Gro Garden Soil OK to Use

Post  Daniel9999 on 5/28/2012, 3:58 am

The medium is not secondary to the technique when its the very heart of technique itself.

Yes SFG is a intensive method and intensive methods have been around for quite awhile and there other intensive methods out there and they have been around for a long time.

What all intensive methods out there share and have shared since time immemorial is the need to have plenty of well rounded nutrient rich compost in their soils/growing mediums.

Its not "optional" competent of the system ......its essential to make any intensive style of gardening work....whether it be SFG or any other intensive method such as the French Intensive Method, Ancient Aztec Chinampas, ect...

The potting soils out there are not designed for intensive gardening and they do not have all the nutrients you need in sufficient quantities to make an intensive method work well.

Its about not any one being "dogmatic" about anything its just a plain and simple fact.

Its not fun when the garden you spent a lot of time and money on fails because your overtaxing a soil/medium that is poorly designed to handle the heavy workload intensive methods place on it.

Saying the medium is secondary to the technique is saying like you can make any old liquid fertilizer to make hydroponics work. Its just not true.

You have to have to have a well balanced hydroponic solution to make hydroponics work and you have to have a rich well balanced soil to make intensive methods of gardening work.

Its just the way it is.

Standard bagged Garden Soils/Potting Soils are just fine for standard gardening methods they were designed to be use for and there is nothing wrong with them....they just are not that suitable for intensive gardening methods.

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Thank You!

Post  ding47 on 5/28/2012, 9:21 am

I want to thank everyone that responded to my query. By background is with Midwest gardening, and I did a lot of gardening while living there. Obviously what applied there is not applicable here in the Colorado mountains. Raised bed gardening is the only solution with the addition of some type of plastic dome. This is due to a combo of poor soil conditions and cool temps. Last night the temp went down to 30 degrees. I enjoy living here but miss gardening. Also, I have a patio home which has space limitations and I'm getting older which carries it's own limitations. That is why I chose to do the 4'x4' garden. And it was meant to be fun. I have decided to go with the Miracle Gro Garden Soil and amend the soil with compost next year. It may not be the perfect solution, but I'll enjoy the journey and hopefully have a few veggies to eat. Thank you again for your time and advice. sunny

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Re: Is Miracle Gro Garden Soil OK to Use

Post  rod champion on 5/28/2012, 10:00 am

@Turan wrote:Welll..... I always think just use compost. It is what I use with a lil of my native soil mixed in. However I was focused on the line "At this point I have no alternative."
If there is no alternative for this patio garden, then I say, go for it. Veggys will grow, add compost as it becomes possible but do not not growstuff because it is a bag of Miracle grow.

Don' t worry about it, it will grow stuff. You do what you have to do. If you need to add liquid Miracle grow at some time, so be it.. do it.

You will eat stuff, just fine. Enjoy it all.

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Re: Is Miracle Gro Garden Soil OK to Use

Post  walshevak on 5/28/2012, 12:11 pm

Looking at the Garden Soil components, I see some of the things needed in MM It is lacking perlite or vermiculite. We just don't know the proportions. If I couldn't get anything else, I would use it and maybe add some perlite (which I think Walmart carries just in small bags) and more compost over time. I hope you get a bumper crop and that adding compost either as top dressing this year or improving things next year works well for you. I don't think it is ideal, but I'll bet you will get veggies.

Keep us informed on your progress, and include pictures.

Kay

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Re: Is Miracle Gro Garden Soil OK to Use

Post  claudiamedic on 5/28/2012, 5:03 pm

I tend to want to do things 'just so' and according to the directions, so I empathize with the purists here, but I also remind myself that at some point you have to just START...and with gardening there are natural laws at work that limit how and when you can do what (barring an indoor grow system). I'm trying to go organic in my garden but I could drive myself insane worrying about every possible source of contamination. I'm doing my best and reminding myself that plants are naturally pretty good "filters"...and that my homegrown veggies (even if they were watered from a hose that wasn't food-safe, or if the manure in the soil is from an unknown-state-of-chemical-supplement-source) are still much healthier for me and my family than most of the highly processed food commercially available.

Miracle Grow soil will just become "soil" eventually. Even MM requires replenishment of nutrients.

ding47, welcome back to gardening and welcome to the forum. Definitely post pictures! Happy growing and happy eating!

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Re: Is Miracle Gro Garden Soil OK to Use

Post  Missed-Em on 5/29/2012, 8:07 am

Glad your on your way, use what's available, adapt and improve over time and that perfect square will come. "it's the journey, not the destination" that in the end counts.

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MiracleGro No, no...

Post  durangotan on 2/17/2013, 5:10 pm

Recent disclosures of atrocities committed by the people at Scotts Miracle Gro® lend me to look for an alternative every Scotts product. These massacres committed by executives who made the abominable decision to market toxic bird seed is beyond my comprehension. Scotts has also been sighted for selling a garden “weed preventer and plant food” as well as a product called Southern Max Fire Ant Killer, both with falsified pesticide registrations.


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Re: Is Miracle Gro Garden Soil OK to Use

Post  camprn on 2/17/2013, 5:53 pm

@durangotan wrote:Recent disclosures of atrocities committed by the people at Scotts Miracle Gro® lend me to look for an alternative every Scotts product.
Go with Mel's mix and you won't go wrong!

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Re: Is Miracle Gro Garden Soil OK to Use

Post  plantoid on 2/17/2013, 6:28 pm

It's funny /strange , but every year people come along bringing their old mother earth gardening ideas and ways with them ( I did Embarassed Laughing )

They argue the toss about using things not mentioned in Mels recipe for his growth medium & decide to develop their own version of the idea instead. Some get really shirty and uppity, most see sense ( I did Very Happy cheers ) and buy the books and closely follow Mel's methods .

An even funnier thing is that Mel's idea and Mix works every single time .
I wonder why??? :scratch: cheers rock on carrot

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Re: Is Miracle Gro Garden Soil OK to Use

Post  HillbillyBob on 3/12/2013, 10:35 am

Hummm MC potting mix will grow your SFG but if you really want to get the best out of your 4 x 4 you'll have to order in the makings for Mel's mix,good luck & start yourself a compost pile,you'll need it to go with your Mel's mix next year Embarassed
Okay guys fire it up,I used MC potting soil the first year tongue :scratch: carrot

HillbillyBob

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Re: Is Miracle Gro Garden Soil OK to Use

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