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Dangerous EarthGro Pottting Soil From Scotts

I am in the process of creating a new vegetable garden this summer, on a piece of land that gets good sun, but where the soil is poor.  Generations ago, people had created a driveway for horse-drawn carriages to the barn next to this area, building up the path with a jumble of bone, stone, and pottery shreds.  To grow vegetables there, I’ll have to build new soil up.

My plan has been to start with a foot-thick pages of mulch, to suppress the grass presently growing in the area, and to provide a good amount of organic material from which future years of vegetables will grow. To grow a relatively small number of plants in the garden this year, and to encourage the soil biology of the new garden to move along, decomposing the mulch, I’ve been placing pockets of soil within the mulch.

I have some compost for this project, but not enough for the size of the new garden. So, I decided to get a few bags of soil from the store to increase the volume.

Most of the soil that’s available in the garden centers is filled with MiracleGro, a synthetic fertilizer that encourages plants to grow lush, and full, and beautifully, but a bit too fast, leaving them. I don’t want to use that, so I took a few bags of what looked like a smaller company’s soil – EarthGro potting soil. It said it was “organic” and “natural”.

Do shards of glass and ceramic sherds count as organic and natural? That’s what I found in the Earthgro potting soil.

It’s just the sort of material that was thrown in to the ground by the people who lived in my house years ago. It takes up space quickly, but won’t help a garden grow well – or keep a gardener’s hands safe.

Upon further investigation, I find out that Earthgro potting soil is manufactured by the Scotts Company, the same people who make Miracle-Gro. To them, I suggest placing a warning label prominently on the Earthgro packaging: May Contain Dangerous Fragments Of Industrial Refuse.

10 comments to Dangerous EarthGro Pottting Soil From Scotts

  • Bill

    I’ve frequently employed mushroom compost (the blend of cow poop and moss and ground bark and god-knows-what-else used by mushroom farmers, then re-sold in bulk once it’s too exhausted for mushrooms) as a soil amendment. I really like it, but it takes some getting used to the foreign objects one very frequently discovers therein: lots and lots of used latex gloves (blech), the occasional junk-food wrapper or soda straw, and other miscellaneous oddments no doubt discarded by the farm workers. I’m guessing that properly sieving their products isn’t a big priority for the companies that peddle these soil amendments. This doesn’t much surprise me when I’m dealing with some nameless faceless bulk distributor, but I’m surprised Scotts isn’t more interested in protecting its good name.

    And good on you for steering away from Miracle Gro. I don’t have anything against it in particular (aside from the fact that it is crack cocaine for plants), but nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers are produced from mined minerals that do not occur widely (at least in economically useful concentrations) around the world (and also from natural gas). They are non-renewable resources that we’re slowly running out of and so they need to be used very wisely, plus over-fertilization of soil (which is what Miracle-Gro’s marketing is all about) contributes importantly to greenhouse gas emissions from soil microbiomes. Growing bigger more beautiful roses or winning the Biggest Pumpkin contest hardly seem like appropriate uses for these valuable resources.

  • Chuck Beard

    I just bought some Earthgro potting soil from Walmart and I took it back to the store. It smells like it contains kerosene. Strong odor and it doesn’t absorb water. This stuff is toxic.

    • Bill

      I’m starting to get the impression that Scotts just throws together whatever garbage they can find for free…plus a whole lot of sand…and calls it “Earthgro Potting Soil.” The customer reviews for this product on Scotts’ web site are hair-raising. And Scotts’ replies to these reviews? I could 11 instances of “we’re sorry” or “we apologize.” And yet they’re not so sorry that they’d actually either improve it or take it off the market. Must be a great business, bagging miscellaneous garbage and selling it.

      As for me, I feel y’alls pain but I’m so not there, myself. I’ve got about 3 tons of well-aged carefully composted horse manure waiting to be spread this week. Nothing, nothing makes a better soil amendment, or even potting soil, than composted horse manure. Black gold. Smells fantastic, like a forest floor. Holds water like a rain barrel. Jet black and beautifully friable. Friends keep asking me if they can buy some off me. I just look at them like they’ve got to be kidding, right?. There are some things money can’t buy.

  • Scott S.

    You may want to google human waste biosolids. Evidently they are able to package this crap (literally) and sell it to unsuspecting consumers who think they are using only organic products on their gardens. Disgusting and harmful to health, but some scientist no doubt figured all plant nutrients are the same no matter where they come from not counting the many other toxic items poured down the drain of the average household. This may the case for Earthgro, but I do not know.

  • wesley king

    Not only does earthgro have forign particulate matter in it thats not organic,but i now have a baby earwig infestation in everything i put earthgro into.Iv’e learned a valueble lesson from this and thats that a 10.00 bag of fox farm is worth it….

  • Mike

    Oh common I have used EarthGro for years and I have never found anything in the soil so that means it is Walmart’s end of business not Scotts

  • Stephen Schuch

    I purchased a bag of EarthGro potting soil, and went about breaking up soil so we could do some replanting when my wife yelled I that she had been stuck by a needle!!!! Sure as shit.. She had the tip of a hypodermic needle stuck in her hand. We took the needle and her to the ER so they can be checked out, now she is on preventive meds while we await tests… Bad Quality Control on the part of this company… Beware when using this product..

  • Ella

    This information is so condemning there should have been several law suits against Scotts by now. It is one thing to post such obviously criminal behavior by a nationally advertised company and another to bring it to the attention of the buying public so that such dangerous products are taken off the market. Even cars are recalled for such serious issues. If these ingredients are in the Earthgro potting soil then some will be taken up into the plant – cause for a lawsuit in itself. If anyone here ginuienly has such a complaint, I want to know what Scotts has done for reparations.

  • Nana

    Thank you so much for reminding me how bad the EARTHGRO ORGANIC HUMUS & MANURE was. I bought it several years ago! It was filled with numerous rocks, not pebbles or stones, but rocks. My garden once again could use soil amendments and, because the price is right, I had high hopes Scott’s (Hyponex Corporation) had cleaned up the product.

    If you might be interested, their MSDS for this ORGANIC stuff,is at: http://www.scottsmsds.com/?product_name=Organic+Humus+*&upc=&regulation_number=&search_submit=Search

    Reviews? I went to Bill’s web address for Customer Reviews for their Potting Soil: (http://www.scotts.com/smg/catalog/productTemplate.jsp?proId=prod100070&itemId=cat60014&nodeId=&)

    Presuming they existed when he posted in May 2014……. Well they’ve mysteriously disappeared.

    If you’d like another hair raising venture re one of Scott’s more popular products- they now distribute Roundup- you know, that great product that degrades as it hits the soil & is so safe to use in your flower garden, or even better, the vegetable garden?

    Manufactured by Monsanto, Glyphosate is the primary chemical in Roundup products. They no longer refer to it as being 100% biodegradable,simply because it isn’t. Parents of autistic children are learning from Stephanie Seneff, a Senior Research Scientist at the MIT who since 2011,has been focusing on nutritional deficiencies and environmental toxins on human health.

    If interested, the following web pages provide highlights permitting you to do your own research to learn a bit about GMOs & Roundup so you can decide for yourself.


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