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.