They stopped making supersoil

tropical_thought(San Francisco)January 31, 2010

They do not sell the supersoil in the yellow bags anymore. They make other kinds, but they are not as good. I bought some of the supersoil vegetable compost mix and it was mostly steer manure. I am pretty upset about this.

I am talking about the garden soil in a bag and not this sort of compost sludge called "supersoil" that they use for greening lawns. It sounds like a horrible product, anyway, and the name they took has been used. Supersoil should be a name for soil and not for liquid sludge.

So, I now am taking back the good things I said about supersoil helping my garden. That was the old supersoil, that they do not make any more that was good for my garden.

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They always seem to stop making the good stuff.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 1:16PM
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pkapeckopickldpepprz(z9 a/b FL)

do you mean this stuff?

I wish they made it here on the east coast. When I visit my sister in California, I am envious of all the stores that sell that soil mix in Lowes/Home Depot and well everywhere. On the east coast, all they sell is Miracle Gro or cheaper quality no name soil mixes...

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 11:00AM
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pkapeckopickldpepprz(z9 a/b FL)

I forgot to add, Supersoil is probably the best soil I have ever worked with outside of making my own.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 11:01AM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

The photo posted above is a container mix. Yes, they do sell that brown bag, there use to be a yellow bag. It was not 20 years ago, however, I used to use it up to maybe a year ago. Maybe I should try the brown bag, but I was not using a container. But, because I don't like the vegetable mix at all even thought I do have vegetable planters and I put them in there. Too much steer manure has too much salt. It's no good, and none of has sand any more. I have sandy soil, but it's not large grain sand like was in old super soil. It's fine sand that is uniform and becomes easily compacted. I want the old supersoil with large grained sand back again.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 11:44AM
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For those that are looking for supersoil on the east coast I hope you are aware that supersoil is the trade name that Scotts sells it's Miracle Grow products in the West?

Scotts website lists a garden soil supersoil product on it's website but it is not in a yellow bag. You might look at their website for more information.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 11:58PM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

Obviously I checked the website before posting. We have miracle grow soil here on the west coast. They are both made by Scotts, but supersoil is not the same as miracle grow soil. Miracle grow soil is more expensive and has more peat and perlite plus miracle grow plant food already added. That is probably the only difference, as far as I can see, I am not an expert on Scotts. When I said they stopped making supersoil, I mean they changed it so much it's not the same supersoil that was like a institution. They still sell something called supersoil, but it's not the same product.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 12:22AM
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pkapeckopickldpepprz(z9 a/b FL)

Miracle Gro isn't the same mix/forula as Super Soil by a long shot. To me, the Miracle Gro is like top soil with a crap load of sand in it. They add a generic fertilizer in it that lasts up to 6 months. Over priced crap. Super Soil (yes the container formula) is perfect. I prefer it over Pro Mix for how fine it is and it is nice and crumbly almost like pound cake. It's not loaded with the stereotypical peat and perlite. It is just perfect and I'm pissed there is no equivalent on the East Coast.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 2:39AM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

Well, I have to try the container formula then to see how much it is like the old supersoil. I just never use containers at all any more. I don't like container gardening, and things I have in containers do really badly. It's like I am container cursed.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 4:18PM
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Belgianpup(Wa/Zone 7b)

The old, OLD Supersoil used to be great. But the stuff I bought in the yellow bags the last few years was utter crap, mostly just ground bark. Move the bags around, and I could feel it heating up. It hasn't been much good for several years now, so IMO, good riddance.

I did notice a correlation, though... the last year they had a display at the Seattle Flower and Garden Show was the last year it was any good. They never showed up again. I suspected that the original company was sold to someone another company that ran it into the ground or just wanted to destroy their competition, or both

I'm back to making my own.

Well, well, well! This kind of answers the question, doesn't it? Article from The Columbus (OH) Dispatch, dated August 27,2005"

"Byline: Ken Stammen

"Aug. 27--Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. has made a deal to expand its business in the Western United States.

"The Marysville-based marketer of consumer lawn-and-garden products plans to acquire San Mateo, Calif.-based Rod McLellan Co., a maker of soil and landscape products, for $20 million.

"Rod McLellan's brands include Black Magic, Supersoil and Whitney Farms. The latter, a line of all-natural organic soils, fertilizers and mulches, is sold exclusively through independent garden centers in the West.

"Scotts said the purchase is expected to close in October and boost profits in its 2006 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1."


    Bookmark   February 7, 2010 at 12:52AM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

This examples it completely, Scotts bought it and changed the formula. The new Supersoil is heavy in steer manure. The ingredient list is now very trick. All the bags have the same ingredients list no matter what type you buy. I would have to say steer manure is now the main ingredient along with saw dust.

That not what I want for my garden. I liked "Black Magic Soil". Steer manure must be very cheap and "forest product" is saw dust. "Mushroom compost" is not made of mushrooms, it's also made of saw dust.

E B Stone has a new compost out, that is good, but it's very expensive. The bags are small and the prices is double the price for supersoil, so I guess you have to pay for quality. Gardening is not a cheap hobby. I can not believe how much money I have sunk into bagged produces in spite of making all my own compost and owning four compost bins.

I picked up the rose mix at Regan Nursery in Fremont. I really liked that as a general add anywhere mix. The acid plant mix was good when I planted my pine tree. It's just such a pain to drive to Fremont from San Francisco.

None of the big box stores like Lowe's, Osh, and Home depot carry any good soil blends. You only have to open the bag and touch the produce to see that it's inferior and then you will notice it preforms more poorly then the high prices blends.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2010 at 9:45AM
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reg_pnw7(WA 7, sunset 4)

It's been many years since I gardened in the SF area. Supersoil was really good back then! I'm sad to see that Rod McClellan sold out to Scotts.

I used to use a lot of the local nurserymans' association's bagged soil products - 49er Brand mixes. Reasonably priced and pretty decent quality. You got those only at independent nurseries. I used a lot of the bark and composted chicken manure products. Eureka and Gold Rush (you see the theme of their product names no doubt). I can't name any indie nurseries in SF for you though but there must be some not too far from the City. And who knows, maybe they don't make that stuff anymore.

Regan's is a great destination, but it is a long haul from the City.

Mushroom compost is very good stuff. No it's not made from mushrooms, that wouldn't be good at all. It's the stuff that was used to grow mushrooms in. Thoroughly composted steer manure, ground bark, and something else I can't remember ... I use it whenever I can get it, much better than plain steer manure, and it's been sterilized to kill weed seeds.

No gardening is not a cheap hobby when you live in a city and have to buy everything in bags. Can you get together with friends/neighbors to get compost in bulk, by the truckload? it's way cheaper that way.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2010 at 11:23AM
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Gardening is not a cheap hobby. I can not believe how much money I have sunk into bagged produces in spite of making all my own compost and owning four compost bins.

No one said this was supposed to be a cheap pastime but you could be spending unnecessarily. My question is what is your purpose for adding bagged soil products to your garden? Are you filling raised beds? Adding to the soil depth? Or just trying to improve existing soil conditions? If either of the first two, purchasing in bulk is a far less expensive way to go rather than buying bag by bag. It will vary by location but here, a yard of good quality soil mix will run around $25-30 whereas a bag of a similar soil mix (typically 1 or 2 cf) is $5-7 or more. You do the math.......:-)

If just trying to improve overall soil condition, I'm not sure I understand why you think a soil blend is preferable to either compost (yours or purchased) or some sort of composted manure. Both will have a far higher organic matter concentration than a soil mix will and therefore add more to soil fertility and moisture retention than will a soil mix. Properly composted manure will not have a high salt content - the composting process will effectively neutralize that aspect and the compost can be used safely without worry of salt 'burning'. Even just well aged compost will have the bulk of harmful salts leached out of it. btw, mushroom compost is not made out of mushrooms OR sawdust. It is the recycled growing medium from commercial mushroom production and the precise "recipe" varies from company to company but can include composted wheat or rye straw, peat moss, used horse bedding straw, chicken manure, cottonseed or canola meal, grape crushings from wineries, soybean meal, potash, gypsum, urea, ammonium nitrate and lime.

I would also hope that you are not just adding the bagged soil mix to individual planting holes. Research has shown that amending individual planting holes leads to all sorts of complications with regards to plant establishment as well as creating soil interface issues that can impede good drainage. If amending is necessary, it is always advisable to do so over a very wide area so that the amendment(s) are fully incorporated to an entire projected root spread OR apply as a topdressing or mulch, but never by individual planting hole.

If you live in California or other parts of the west coast and need a bagged soil for whatever reason (although I am not convinced that this is a very practical, efficient or economical practice regardless of purpose), then look for products sold under the 'Master Nursery' or 'Gardner & Bloome' label. These are very high quality soil products and amendments produced by the same supplier and virtually identical in content, sold only in nurseries or garden centers and limited to the west coast. But they are still going to cost you significantly more than bulk products would.

I'd look to box store soil products only as a very last resort after exhausting all other possibilities. The quality on much of the lower end mass produced stuff is just not there. And personally, I'd avoid any Scotts-MiracleGro soil product simply because of the inflated expense associated with that label and because of the chemical additives they often include.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2010 at 12:19PM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

When I said bagged soil products I meant to say soil amendments. They don't actually sell much bagged soil. I got a few bags from osh, but it was not that good over all. I definitely admend wide scale. Soil improvement is more satisfying then gardening, because you can control more of the outcome.

I used to buy mushroom compost at osh, but it turned out to be mostly sawdust, at least that was the first ingredient. Maybe if I could get real mushroom compost that they used to grow mushrooms, I would like that. But I have no idea where to buy the real stuff.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2010 at 12:48PM
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In a bag or bulk, labeled "mushroom compost" :-) What looks like sawdust is probably not. Mushroom compost is typically rather finely ground so it is quite possible that chopped up bedding or straw is mistaken for sawdust. And sawdust is a perfectly good organic amendment in it's own right, although requiring additional nitrogen if incorporated directly into the soil. No need to add nitrogen if it does happen to be an ingredient (even a primary ingredient) of the mushroom compost, although I think it unlikely.

And if amending the existing soil is your intent, compost or other organic matter should be pretty much all that is necessary (unless a single ingredient amendment is warranted or called for). Just routine mulching or topdressing with compost or composted manures will achieve a good result and rather more quickly with sandy soils compared to clay soils. And these are far easier obtained in bulk, as well as being radically less expensive.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2010 at 1:40PM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

Gardengal, I was replacing a big area of soil after giving it away to a friend with clay soil, so I went to get supersoil and found the yellow bags were gone, and what they did have had no sand. I like the large grained sand they used to have in supersoil and I believed my garden was improved by it. I have naturally occurring small grain sand that get compacted. I may buy some of those bags of sand they sell as a cactus mix, I don't know. It's kind of crazy to add sand to sandy soil, but if it's a good horticultural grain sand that might make a differences. Now the area is filled with the steer manure supersoil vegetable compost and it's still not draining well. That was a bad drainage area, I was trying to improve the drainage there.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2010 at 2:38PM
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Mushroom farms .. this lists from all over, but you can click onto one nearest to you.
.....I notice that a farm in San Diego gives away the spent composted shiitaki logs for free.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2010 at 3:05PM
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You still didn't answer my question :-).....why did you opt to go for the significantly more expensive bagged product rather than purchase in bulk? Especially since you were filling up a large area? And while I am not arguing with you (you know your own soil), it is pretty darn unusual for a predominately sandy soil to have drainage problems. Typically the only drainage problems associated with sandy soils is that they drain too fast. And the answer to that is the addition of organic matter, not more sand. Sand, being the largest of any soil particles and of irregular shape, doesn't normally compact. Try walking on a dry sand beach :-) You sure your soil is not predominately silt? Regardless, the answer is still organic matter, not sand,

    Bookmark   February 7, 2010 at 8:02PM
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Belgianpup(Wa/Zone 7b)

Gardengal48, I live in one of those areas of compacted sandy soil. I believe it is caused by a lack of calcium. It does drain, but it is terribly hard soil. I've gardened in desert-type sand, and keeping ANYTHING in it was a real chore. This sand is different.

Still learning, still learning...


    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 12:53AM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

I went to osh today and bought two bags of the container only supersoil. If they had explained that the container one was like the yellow bagged one, I would have gotten that in the first place. The container one that someone posted an image from appears to be made by Rod McLellan and not by Scotts, but I have not been able to test it out yet.

I need to keep adding compost due to the el nino winter in CA to keep these grass weeds under control. I have to keep the soil covered up with product or spend hours weeding daily.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 6:04PM
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Let's see.......Ace Hardware is selling a 1cf bag of Supersoil potting soil for $6.47. That's the equivalent of spending $175.00 for a cubic yard of the same or very similar stuff if purchased in bulk. Does that even make sense? Or is money no object?

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 10:21PM
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What Gardengal means is that you can drive a pickup to where they sell bulk soils (top,potting,compost,mixtures...etc etc
and only pay 40.00 a yard for the top of the line products..

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 10:46PM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

I don't have a pick up truck, and If I dumped a large order on the ground in the rain, that's huge job. That is for people just starting a garden.

I have some injuries and I am not going to be digging up the whole garden this winter. If it's bagged you can take a little out of the bag to do patching as needed after the rain. It could be easier and cheaper in a rural area to do it in bulk.

I would have to pay a lot have someone drive it to my home in their truck. I would have to hire someone to unload it.

There is some kind of bulk soil place that is still kind of far away, I remember it, but I don't remember the name and I was not impressed with the contents of the product. It may have been in the east bay, I don't know.

I did not go to ace, I paid around 5 dollars for a really big bag. It's like a 40 pound bag. I can not lift it myself.

I don't think there would be any savings either after all the deductions for gas and labour.

This is kind of off topic away.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 11:24AM
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It is not off topic at all. All I am trying to point out is that you DO NOT need to rely on a single bagged soil product to achieve what you want. Bulk will always be far less expensive than bagged and can be delivered if you wish as well as stored until you need it. And there are many suppliers of bulk soil products in the Bay area. I am a senior citizen myself, also have back issues and regularly make use of bulk products, which I fetch, unload and spread all by myself, generally a yard at a time. And no, I am not a 'new' gardener nor do I have a new garden. In my previous garden, I spread 20 cy of compost as a mulch twice a year, so buying bag by bag would be prohibitively expensive. I am very new to my current garden and it is much smaller but needs serious soil attention and I will be buying and spreading bulk materials again.

If you do prefer bagged products and I do understand the reasoning, look for alternate products supplied by Kellogg Soil Products, as I mentioned in a previous post. These are sold under the labels "Master Nursery" or "Gardner & Bloome" and are very high quality, organic soil mixes, compost and amendments. But they are only sold in retail nurseries and garden centers, not box stores.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 1:34PM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

I bought a small bag of the super soil potting mix, because I needed a small thing planted, and it was even worse. The big bag of the container mix are not the same as the smaller bags. The small bags are (when you consider the size) expensive. The bag was filled with little pieces of bark. I planted anyway and the plant is doing well. I want the old super soil back, before it got sold and ruined. I don't do enough container gardening to try each and every brand of small bags out there. It was great to have one stand by brand, that you knew was good. Using garden soil in pots does not work out. For some reasons pots need bagged soil with no compost or anything else added. Every time I look at all the bark, I think they are padding the bag with bark to save money. East Bay Nursery does have some good products, but I have not tried the potting soil there yet.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 1:41PM
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rredbbeard(SE CT USA/zone 6)

I've been using sifted miracle grow medium for starting sinningia seeds, with pretty good results. There's a good deal of chunky stuff, and this gets tossed into the cactus medium bag, along with the perlite,etc.

'Supersoil' came and went before I ever heard of it. Can anyone suggest a recipe to approximate it?


--Rick on CT

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 6:13PM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

It was mostly out west. I found that if I just mix sheared bagged wood into my compost bin with food scraps, it is better then super soil was. If I am doing containers I use a soil less mix, like Als gritty. It was kind of lazy short cut, that I don't even approve of anymore. It sure cost more to buy that stuff in the bag.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 6:20PM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

Old super soil was different from new super soil. When Scotts bought it they ruined it. it is hard to tell what was in, since I have not had that for so many years. I think mostly wood product.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 6:23PM
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When I used to live in the SF Bay Area back in the 1990s, Supersoil was great. Rod McLellan had an "Acres of Orchids" store and I think the Supersoil was made from all the old orchid bark? I just theorized that back when I used to buy it. Really it was the best stuff back then but haven't used it since the 90s.
Now I live on the East Coast and use the Fafard Mix 2 in 3.8cu ft bales but have a hard time finding it except at wholesale greenhouse supply stores. Am trying ProMix BX this year and hope it is as good as the Fafard.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2015 at 6:52PM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

Super soil so fantastic, that there was no need to learn to compost. But around the time it went bad, I decided to compost.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2015 at 11:48AM
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"I decided to compost"

Well then somehow, it's a happy ending !

    Bookmark   February 2, 2015 at 2:33AM
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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

But post script, I turned into a compost wacko, who haunts Starbucks asking for more coffee grounds. And owns five compost bins!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2015 at 10:37AM
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