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Miracle Gro Potting mix problems

Posted by COLN none (My Page) on
Mon, Jul 22, 13 at 18:32

This year I had to switch to all container gardening. I bought Miracle Gro Potting mix and filled all containers. I have to say I am terribly disappointed. I can't say any of the plants are really thriving as they did in the garden. The tomatoes have developed blight on their lower leaves, the chard refused to germinate in it, and the cukes came up but either died after their first leaves formed or like now are slowly dying without any cukes forming. Did anyone else have a problem with this mix or did I buy the five bags that were contaminated?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Miracle Gro Potting mix problems

Well the clue is blight, not a disease but a response condition. Inconsistant water. You're probably watering too much, or not enough. I agree it's not the best mix, but it far from the worst too! I have used it, but prefer higher end products like Happy Frog. Some help to find out what is wrong is what zone are you in, what size pots, what color pots, plastic, clay, ceramic? How much light, etc. You have given us no info except the potting mix. When did you plant them? Are they outside or inside?

RE: Miracle Gro Potting mix problems

  • Posted by COLN none (My Page) on
    Mon, Jul 22, 13 at 21:40

The cukes are in a large plastic container with four plants in each container. They get full sun most of the day and seem to dry out quickly. They have good drainage and I check them frequently to see if they feel dry down at the root level (moisture meter) We haven't had any real rain for the past seven weeks so they need to be watered more frequently than normal, temps running in the high 80's now.

RE: Miracle Gro Potting mix problems

C....nice job with the moisture meter. Those cheap ones really do work. As stated above (sorta)...watering and moisture is critical in container growing. You can learn about wicks here...and things like custom mixes that drain quickly. Hopefully, you did not buy the moisture control model. Those create a mucky mess (most often).

RE: Miracle Gro Potting mix problems

"Hopefully, you did not buy the moisture control model. Those create a mucky mess (most often)."

In a way I disagree, it is bark, peat, perlite, and control release beads. Not a bad mix. Basically the same of any high quality potting mix. I myself again like Happy Frog, It has organic fertilizer (bat guano, worm castings), plus beneficial bacteria (although probably dead). And the usual bark, peat, and perlite.Another I like even better is Fafard which is Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss, Pine Bark, Perlite, and release beads.. I'm pretty sure Happy Frog uses pine too, looks like pine. I buy Fafard but today they were out, so Happy Frog (yeah I just bought some today).
The Miracle Grow garden soil is excellent. A high amount of compost, and the soil looks dark, impressive. I use it for 1/3 of my garden mix. I add peat (it rains a lot here in the spring) and compost. 1/3 of each.
Here's a photo of one bed with 5 strawberry plants ( they are Pineberries, and musk strawberries plus runner growth), a blueberry in the middle, in front of my raspberry bed, all planted this spring (including raspberries). You're looking at almost 4 months growth.
As you can see, the Miracle Grow products deliver. So whatever the problem, I doubt it's the soil.

The strawberry bed was prepared last fall as I added sulfur for the blueberry and it takes as long as 6 months for the bacteria to break it down to sulfuric acid. Plants were bought as bare root and added in April and May. I also added some sulfur to the raspberry bed, but soil was added this spring. Only a little sulfur to keep soil around 6.0. The strawberry/blueberry bed is around 5.0.
Trace elements were added in watering with powdered kelp and Azomite. Rain water is used for most watering, but at times I have to use city water. I use organic fertilizer and inorganic (water soluble). But little was used as soil has fertilizer and is new.

Sorry to ramble on, maybe you can try some trace minerals next time, use a different soil, add compost. Use rainwater, or at least let the chlorine and fluoride evaporate off before you use it. Let tap water sit 24 hours before you use.It really depends on what you're growing. Corn needs more Nitrogen, radishes don't need any. So each plant will need different care.

This post was edited by Drew51 on Tue, Jul 23, 13 at 0:30

RE: Miracle Gro Potting mix problems

I think you will find a good many folks that disagree with the concept that Miracle Gro soil products "deliver".......unless you mean deliver poor results. Lord knows, there have been enough posts over the years complaining about the performance of these products to come to the conclusion that something is amiss. Annual potting soil trials we hold at my nursery always place MG soil at the bottom of the bunch. Too uniform a particle size, too moisture retentive, too liable to compact and unnecessarily fertilized, especially for seed germination. One can do sooo much better!!

btw, blight IS a disease. Tomatoes experience both early and late blight, both of which are fungal pathogens. Both are encouraged by warm temperatures and high humidity and overly moisture retentive soil. Tomatoes can also experience a whole bunch of other diseases (mostly fungal) that resemble blight as far as yellowing/dying off of foliage and general decline of the plant. Without seeing the plants, its difficult to say what's up specifically but your soil choice could certainly have contributed. I would also never choose an MG soil for seed starting, either. Too many chances for damping off or over fertilization issues.

RE: Miracle Gro Potting mix problems

G....I am glad you piped in! You were able to explain clearer what I was trying to convey. Water retention is not something that is usually looked at fondly in containers....unless there are unusual conditions (such as hanging baskets which are prone to very drying conditions). Some components of MG are good things...such as bark and perlite. I have learned so much on this site by following the lead of more learned gardener's than myself.

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