Potting mix, no peat

I have been buying Miracle Grow potting mix. Anyone else notice that potting mixes have a great deal of wood chips and no peat moss? The wood chips decompose, draw nitrogen and encouraging small gnats to breed in it.
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On 5/4/2009 1:07 PM, Phisherman wrote:

That is why I always blend my own potting mix. See my <http://www.rossde.com/garden/garden_potting_mix.html .
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David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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Phisherman wrote:

bit pricy for what it is but I see nothing bad about it if all someone needs is a relatively small quantity of quality potting mix... peat moss is not necessarily a good thing and you wouldn't actually see it in a mix anyway. Perhaps you got a bad batch, save your packaging and contact their customer service and I'm positive you will be issued a refund and coupons for your next purchase... I've found major brand gardening products (like others) are very honest. I never hesitate to contact customer service when I'm not satisfied with a product, I can't remember the last time I got blown off.
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brooklyn1 wrote:

I purchased probably about 20 large bags of Miracle Grow potting mixes three years ago and remembered that they were of good quality mixes, with lots of peat and chunky composted wood barks/chips.
Didn't buy anything the past two years.
This year, so far, I already bought about 8 of the same bags and noticed that there is very little peat and lots of partially composted wood chips and barks. Some of the wood chips appear to be newly broken, not composted at all.
I still need more of the potting mixes this year. I probably switch to another brand.
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I hope you contact Miracle Grow and tell them of your experience (only posting here won't help you or anyone else). You very likely got bags that were filled from the end of a batch. Many years ago I worked for a company that manufactured wooden sticks that looked like tongue depressors with a hole at one end where a few seeds were held in with water soluable wax, they were marketed as "Grow Sticks". They were sold in a kit with a bag of potting mix. The potting mix was blended right there in the plant on the concrete floor, a huge mound in a three sided wooden bin, as they got to the end of a batch the mix became more coarse with bits of uncomposted matter. I know that if I bought 20 big bags of Miracle Grow and it wasn't up to my satisfaction you can bet I'd be calling them to complain.
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On 5/4/2009 5:28 PM, brooklyn1 wrote:

Using equal parts of coarse sand (washed plaster sand) and peat moss per my recipe gives a mix with the following characteristics:
* It's easy to wet. Straight peat moss can repell water, but this mix absorbs water.
* It has excellent drainage. If you over-water, the excess runs out. Unless the container's drain holes become plugged, the mix never becomes soggy.
* Moisture within the mix remains available to plant roots until the mix becomes almost completely dry. In some mixes, surface tension of moisture around mix particles makes the moisture unavailable when the mix is still quite moist.
* Air easily penetrates the mix, carrying oxygen to roots.
None of these characteristics can be obtained with only coarse sand or only peat moss.
The one major drawback is that the excellent drainage means that nutrients can be leached away very quickly if the mix is overwatered. Thus, although the mix will not become soggy and drown plants, you must still be judicious when watering.
By the way, the mix is based on research by the University of California at Davis (the UC system's primary agricultural campus) done about 40+ years ago.
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David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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That's all fine and well but if your gardening is done on a 6' x 8' balcony 5 stories up mixing up potting soil isn't an option. I usually buy one bag of potting mix a year now to just do some minor repotting or new planting. I stick with Miracle Gro or Black Gold. Both have been fine so far for me. Most of my bigger containers of perennials, vines and bulbs have had the same soil in them for over eight years. My tree peony was planted in Miracle Gro potting soil 10 years ago and it's still going strong. I top dress early each year with a bag of Cedar Grove compost, then when I plant my annuals in the Spring I dig a handful or so of alfalfa meal into every container. My garden just gets more lush and better every year.
The last indoor plant repotting I did a few gnats showed up hovering a few days later. I good sprinkling of cinnamon over the surface of the soil took care of that.
Val
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Yep. Alfalfa meal is wondrous stuff for containers and beds and compost piles. Organic matter, nitrogen, yada yada.........

Yep again. Cinnamon is our friend for starting seeds and as you describe.
Charlie
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