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.
I've never seen wood chips in Miracle Grow potting mix... I think it's a
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.
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
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.
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
* It has excellent drainage. If you over-water, the excess runs out.
Unless the container's drain holes become plugged, the mix never becomes
* 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+
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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.
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