JulieTAdolf
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Best organic commercial potting soil?

I know that seems like an oxymoron...and although I compost and use it for our home garden, I have an heirloom veggie plant business that I need large amounts of organic soil--quickly! This is my first year ensuring that all aspects of the business are organic/sustainable, so no Miracle Grow for me! ;-) Can anyone recommend a good, rich commercially available organic potting soil?

Thanks so much!
Julie

Susan W
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Julie, interesting question! I do not know the full regs on certified organic and if that's what you need, have to check with whatever dept. (agriculture perhaps?)
As for generally organic.....This depends in part on how much dirt you need. I am sure there is a miracle grow or other brand organic at the box stores (remember seeing it last year).
From working in garden centers, I usually use what we sell (get the broken bags or at least deep discount). And make up difference at the box store. Now I have mainly raised beds, flowers and herbs, but annually try to work in some cheap top or potting soil, and humus. The one I like best is Cotton seed burr. The brand we had was Back to Nature. I haven't seen it lately, but that is probably just my selection of stores. I mulch with shredded hardwood. That gets worked in when the garden is worked in the spring. Or summer, or when I get to it!!

You may have to wait another month, but I would suggest to shop the box stores and garden centers in your area. See what is available. Then if you find something good, try to negotiate a better price (say you are buying 10 -20 bags).
Hope this helps. And keep us informed of any finds or successes or, well, the not-so-goods.
Have fun!
Susan

GardenGeek
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I suggest worm casings (worm poop), some of the best organic fertilizer around.

Plus, try fish emulsion and Epsom salts. They are the best I know if you are set on using organic.

Happy gardening

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gixxerific
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As far as worm castings most people say 1 - 3 ratio on them.

Sorry I can't think of the name of the stuff I use right now. But go to your local garden supply and look at the bags. If they have the OMRI (organic materials review institute) label it is good stuff.

[url=https://www.omri.org/simple-opl-search/results/potting%20soil]Here[/url] is the list from their site, there are others though because the one I get is not on there.

The Helpful Gardener
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Gixx is right; an OMRI certification is the current gold standard.

Looking over the OMRI list I think MYKE's is a national brand...

Here's a list of distributors of wholesale froducts, but I know you can get Cook's online and Intervale is a good company...

If it's hard to find commercail, make your own. I have good commercial sources and I still make my own because it is cheaper and I can choose. I somtimes mix a bagged product with compost and coir to make a good potting mix; I like 1 part [url=https://www.coastofmaine.com/soils-quoddy.shtml]Coast of Maine's Quoddy Blend[/url] with 1 part of my compost and 3-4 parts coir (you could use peat but why?)

DIY!

HG
Scott Reil

JulieTAdolf
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Thank you all. I think I may need to make my own, as I can't find a local source for any of the potting soil brands on the OMRI list. I found online sources, but the shipping cost as much as the soil. I did found an organic Miracle-Gro potting soil at HD...but I'm hesitant, since it's not on the list. Any thoughts?
Julie

The Helpful Gardener
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Any product from Miracle-Gro might pass the FDA/EPA organic guidelines, but won't even try for OMRI certification. I suspect it is not truly organic; the federal wiggle room leaves plenty of space to add chemical fertilizer or synthetic urea. These bridge products often use "natural" or rely on the chemical definition of "organic" (carbon based) to make their claims.

Caveat Emptor.

HG
Scott Reil

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gixxerific
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JulieTAdolf wrote:Thank you all. I think I may need to make my own, as I can't find a local source for any of the potting soil brands on the OMRI list. I found online sources, but the shipping cost as much as the soil. I did found an organic Miracle-Gro potting soil at HD...but I'm hesitant, since it's not on the list. Any thoughts?
I normally make a mix myself. As to the Miracle Grow potting soil it is certified by the "Mulch And Soil Council" Though it is sketchy as to the meaning of this to me reading their webstite.

You may want to look harder at HD or Lowe's if there is one around you. The one by me has OMRI potting soils, again sorry I can't remember the name off hand. The list on the site doesn't include all of them. Or it may be under a different name at your store. Have you looked at local nursery's? That would be something to do. If it's anything like my state there are tons of nursery's around, though some are better than others. It may take some time and leg-work but it's out there if you search hard enough.

Good luck.

P.s. HG was posting while I was searching for you so... What he said too. :lol:

JulieTAdolf
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I'm happy to report that I think I've found a source! One of my favorite farm/garden supply stores is listed as a source for an OMRI organic potting soil...now I just need to go check it out!

Thank you all for your help...
Julie

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gixxerific
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Another thing on Miracle Grow (which is a bad word around here usually) and the Mulch and Soil Council, it say's right there on the label that is DOES NOT account for the presence of pesticides in the mix. :shock:

p.s. I saw your last post (again while I was posting) that you found something. Na na na na na na. I told you there was something out there, just got to look hard enough.

:P

Congatulations.

JulieTAdolf
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I'm chagrined. :oops:

Maybe I'm naive, but really...greenwashing is getting a little out of hand! If a bag of soil says "organic," don't you think the ingredients should, um, well... BE ORGANIC?!! Yeesh. At least I know better, but still...the average consumer doesn't.

Thanks for the encouragement to keep looking for the good stuff! I was just getting a little nervous...there are at least 3000 tomatoes and peppers downstairs that need their new homes NOW so I can get the other seeds started.

Appreciate the info!
Julie

The Helpful Gardener
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Yeah, the Mulch and Soil Council is an industry group that seems more focused on industry standards than organic standards. They are making some effort to keeping pressure treated wood out of mulches, but I don't think this construes as particularly green as much as covering derriere.

And I'd eat my hat if MG Organic passed an OMRI certification...

Glad to hear you found a source Julie... we should ALL be able to find safe sources of growing medium. If you can't find it, start asking store managers, nusery owners, garden center managers, etc. to find it for you. You'd be surprised how much your request is taken seriously...

And if all else fails, check in here. We'll help...

HG
Scott Reil

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gixxerific
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Okay one more. With the label "Organic" as HG said you must be careful, the goverment has very lax requiremetns to be labeld "Organic".

It's like the fast food resturant that say's there hamburgers are 100% ground beef. As long as a percent of it is ground beef all is good. What part of the beef is ground up and used is another question. Is it maybe hooves, snout, anus? I'm shuttering just thinking about fast food, I DO NOT eat it EVER. :eek:

JulieTAdolf
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So really, when McDs advertises an "Angus" burger...it might be more like an "anus" burger...EWWWWWW!

Sorry...I have a terrible sense of humor! ;-)

And I agree...fast food is a scary business.
Julie

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gixxerific
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Really!

If you haven't seen the movie "Supersize Me" you should. It's pretty bad, about a very healthy man who ate nothing but McDonald's for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a month or so. All the while being monitored by physicians near the end his doctors were telling him to STOP or he was GOING TO DIE!!!!!! :shock: His liver was about to shut down and many other complications, pretty shocking, or is it? :?: :idea:



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