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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.

1 comment 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.

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