E.B. Stone Potting Mix Alternative

applebuilder(North Orange County (SoCal))May 12, 2009

Is anyone here familiar with the E.B Stone products? I've read around the forum that you shouldn't use 100% compost in containers for various reasons, but E.B. Stone's Planting Compost looks like it has a lot of ingredients that make a healthy potting mix, in fact the ingredients in their Potting Soil (Edna's Best) is almost identical to their Planting Compost. Their website even states, "For all Outdoor Gardening." The reason I ask is because buying organic potting mix can get expensive, and a cheaper, but quality alternative is always welcomed. If anyone has experience or knowledge of these products and could provide some isight into whether they're container feasible, that would be great. E.B. Stone has another possible alternative called Flower and Vegetable Planting mix. I don't know which is cheaper, but my guess would be the compost. I provided a link to the website and all three products can be found in the "Outdoor Amendments" area. Thanks!

Here is a link that might be useful: E.B. Stone Organics

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I will recommend you read this thread. Among other things what you will learn is that the ingredients don't matter other than that they aren't toxic to plants, are of a large enough particle size to allow good drainage and don't decompose so rapidly that that good drainage is destroyed while the plant is still in the mix.

Composted anything fails to meet two of the three criteria.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 12:40PM
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I used their "compost" to provide manure / nitrogen for my plants per the recommendation of another low nitrogen fertilizer I use, and all the heavy nitrogen feeders ended up with deep yellow leaves from extreme nitrogen deficiency. The lighter feeders had yellow-green leaves. I fixed it with a high nitrogen fertilizer and in a week or so they greened up and started growing again. There really is little difference between EB Stone's compost and their potting soil, and when fertilizing I would assume almost zero existing fertilization either way.

That said, bark is a fairly decent and cheap potting soil ingredient since it creates structure and doesn't break down easily. Unlike another cheap ingredient in a lot of other potting soils, forest floor products, which do break down and don't belong underground. I'd still get EB Stone's potting soil over the "compost" since it contains perlite to help provide even more air. Or get the "compost" and add 10% perlite and 10-20% vermiculite.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 4:15PM
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Sorry in case I wasn't clear, don't believe the ingredients lists on EB Stone products. Unless you see listed amounts, the first ingredient is the only significant one and the rest are trace amounts for marketing.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 4:17PM
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Um, not sure where ericgrau gets his information, but I would beg to differ from his comment with regard to the EB Stone ingredient lists. To my knowledge, only one state requires ingredients to be listed as a percentage, that is Georgia and it requires only that the first ingredient be listed as a percentage of the total. Take a look at a Miracle Gro soils label if you want to see what that looks like.

The comment about 'the rest are trace amounts for marketing' defies logic. If you look at the Edna's Soil you can clearly see pumice, which would mean that the ingredient is added at well over 'trace' amounts.

The percentage of bark in the mix is around 50%. Bark makes an excellent 'container substrate' which is the technical term for potting soils. Obviously the other ingredients have to add up to something to round out the other half of the mix.

I am far more suspicious of products that claim things like "Forest Humus" on the label than I am the EB Stone products. What's "Forest Humus"? Last time I checked humus is organic matter that has broken down to a very stable level. So where does "forest humus" come from? I hope they aren't running front end loaders through forests harvesting virgin forest floors!

Ingredients in soil products in California are listed in descending order. So I think you can believe EB Stone when they say they use more than bark in the bag. Their labels are probably more honest about the ingredients than most of the other suppliers in the region.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 4:12PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I absolutely agree with the above post.
I have used E.B. Stone products for several years now, and I've always been more than satisfied.
These days, I purchase the Orchid Bark in fine grade, along with red volcanic pumice, to mix
with Turface, Perlite, or other gritty ingredients (like quartz gravel) for a truly custom soil.


    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 6:54PM
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