Is Miracle-Gro Organic? Who Cares?

Posted on Jul 12 2011 - 2:54am by Mike Lieberman

People often ask me if Miracle-Gro is organic. My response is usually, “Who cares?”

The majority of Miracle-Gro’s product line is filled with chemicals and synthetics. They do have some product that is organic and certified by OMRI.

Scott’s, the parent company of Miracle-Gro, is in bed with Monsanto and are the exclusive agent of Round-Up.

For me, I don’t care how organic one small part of their product line is because ultimately it is going to a company that I cannot support. I’d rather source my fertilizer and other gardening needs from elsewhere than to get organics from a company that I don’t believe in.

This is what it all comes down to. It’s not just about being organic. It’s about what your money is supporting.

I don’t care how organic their product is. As consumers, we vote with our dollars. When you give your dollar to a company like Scott’s you are supporting what they are doing. Even if you buy their organic product, it’s still going to the same company.

Once I learned this, I refused to purchase any more Scott’s and Miracle-Gro products. I also do not recommend them to anyone.

What’s your thoughts on buying Miracle-Gro even if it’s just their organic products?

  • Mamasimpson4

    I completely agree with you mike, vote with your dollars.

  • Erin @ The Impatient Gardener

    In addition to your point, which is a good one, I actually don’t believe that their organic products really are organic. I mean, why would I take anything on faith from a company that has made subterfuge part of the company mission? Unfortunately Miracle-Gro, Scotts and Monsanto seem to have  nearly monopolized the market and few people HAVE a buying choice when they shop at big-box stores (and that’s a rant I’ll save for another day).

  • Scott from the BK

    I totally agree with Erin – I can’t get anything but Miracle-Gro products at my local hardware stores.  Space is really limited in NYC stores, so Scott’s stuff is all most places carry when it comes to gardening supplies.  After reading posts about Scott’s/Monsanto on this site I got fed up and ending up ordering soil from Johnny’s (an employee ownd company out of Maine). 

    Did I pay more for the soil?  Probably.  Can I trust that the product they supply is actually organic?  Yes.  Am I happy that I paid a little more for a product from a company I can trust/respect rather than a mega-corporation with little regard for business ethics or the environment?  Absolutely.

  • Mike Lieberman

    Nice. Good stuff.

  • Mike Lieberman

    That’s what’s up bro. It might cost a little more, but you are supporting something you believe in.

  • Mike Lieberman

    If you believe in the OMRI certification process, then some of their product line is organic as it’s OMRI certified. 

    I’m sure that they pay top dollar to monopolize the big box stores. Sadly.

  • Mike Lieberman

    That’s what ultimately matters.

  • Amanda Howe

    I’m definitely more inclined to by from companies whose business model is based on an organic program. I feel when I purchase from a company that provides a supplemental organic line to it’s “traditional” chemical products, I’m not helping the organic cause, but supporting the continuation of chemical-based grow products.

  • Katherine Kelley

    It isn’t always easy to find things outside of the big box stores.  For example, Dr. Earth, a product I love, refuses to be carried in a big box store so I have to search to find it.  It did take a while and I do have to drive a bit, but the cost is comparable to Scott’s products so I make a list of what I need, plan ahead and get as much as I can in one trip.  I also try to predict if I “might” need something to eliminate another trip too soon.  I’d rather lose a bit of storage space than use gas unnecessarily.  You can also find things online.  Amazon is a great resource if you know what you need or want.

  • Texas Worm Ranch

    The more money, from any source, Scott’s/Monsanto has, the more you empower them to own our world governments’  influence.  Stop feeding the devil–vermicompost and make your own fertilizer–maybe add some fish waste, coffee grounds, tea, alfalfa meal, or other natural sources of nitrogen and you have control of your own inexpensive fertilizers.

  • Anonymous

    When did the comments here become moderated? Not complaining, just curious.

  • Anonymous

    When did the comments here become moderated? Not complaining, just curious.

  • Cherise

    I learn so much from your blog and honestly, on days like these where I spend 2 hours in the morning just weeding my potato patch, I long for the small, suburban garden I used to have a few years ago. Life was so easy then when I could just buy my soil or use the compost from our horse manure pile at my parent’s house. These days I garden 4000 sq. ft. and I have only a small new compost pile. I struggle to fight pests from taking down all my plants overnight. I continually try to get bigger, better yields with stronger plants. Some days it feels like battle. Sometimes it’s a battle within myself on what I will allow myself to put into the soil and on the plants.

    I’ve mentioned on here before that I used Miracle Gro this year. I still struggle with it but in all honesty I’m not willing to forfeit this year’s production. That being said, I am moving towards a more organic garden. It’s a learning curve for people like me who have a large garden but not a farm with animals that produce the best compost. To compost my garden would be incredibly expensive however I am working towards finding a way to do that. In the fall I will have my soil tested and get recommendations for amending. I have found a source for burnt out manure which I plan on picking up this week to use manure tea the rest of the season. I am using grass clippings and leaves to mulch to preserve water. I am on my way to changing the garden for the better and I think that’s the most important thing for me right now. 

    I completely understand where you are coming from with Miracle Gro and I agree. By reading this blog and learning from many others I hope to be all organic by next spring.

  • Mike Lieberman

    Amen sista. I’m with you on that.

  • Mike Lieberman

    That’s the beauty of the online world. You don’t have to shop at the big box stores. Good point.

  • Mike Lieberman

    True dat!

  • Mike Lieberman

    I just moderate the ones that have links in them. The comments were becoming a haven for people just dropping their links and promoting their stuff. So anytime there is a link, it has to be approved. Been like that for a few months now.

  • Mike Lieberman

    That’s what’s up. Have you considered something like a compost trench. That might be an inexpensive idea.

  • Mike Lieberman

    There certainly are alternatives. It’s just a matter of letting people know what they are so they can buy them. That’s what we can do.

  • Cindy Rajhel

    Overall, looking at who you’re dealing with as a entire entity makes sense. For example, it’s hard not to take advantage of Walmart’s prices. (My sister in Maine doesn’t have an alternative for miles.) I want to avoid companies who inspect their overseas suppliers but turn their heads to children sleeping on factory floors to meet their 14 hour day schedules. I just read an article on working conditions at Walmart’s overseas suppliers this morn and combined with your post, it revved up my interest in this subject. Thanks a lot.

  • Mike Lieberman

    It’s definitely one of those subjects that can do that.

  • Cedar Chest

    I agree – don’t support corporate giants like Monsanto who want to make money off the backs of the US citizenry but don’t want to pay taxes.   If you’re truly interested in changing the way you garden and the products you use to do it, read the book by Gene Logsdon called Holy Shit.  It’s available online and at bookstores everywhere.   It goes hand-in-hand with the principles learned from watching the videos of the Lunatic Farmer, Joel Salatin.  Good stuff.

  • Mike Lieberman

    Cool. Appreciate the book recommendation. Never heard of it.

  • Melissa Willis(AKA Bee Girl)

    I won’t touch the stuff.  It might make my garden big and green and pretty, but I also might become a mutant from all the chemicals…doesn’t seem like a happy trade to me.

  • Mary C.

    I’m with you! I won’t buy them anymore, and I recommend others not to either.

    When I started gardening, I didn’t know anything about the ramifications of chemical fertilizers, pesticides or GMOs. So I ended up using some Miracle Gro products like seed starting soil, moisture retaining soil, and some all-purpose fertilizer. I did decide I didn’t want to use pesticides in the garden and still have not.
    Then I learned a little bit about organic practices and the impact of non-organic fertilizers on the environment. This was about 9 months to a year into my gardening. And around that time I also started noticing the “Organic Choice” line, so I started picking those up – the potting soil, compost and bone meal. I was still using their normal all-purpose fertilizer, the green liquid one, because it was so concentrated that the bottle was lasting forever. But I was also starting to use organic fertilizers – fish emulsion, liquid kelp, Kellog’s. I alternated what I fertilized with. I was also using other brands for compost, mostly Kellog. Then last summer after having some solar stake lights in my containers I started noticing the weirdest white and blue crystallization all over the stake where it was embedded in the ground. I realized it was from the Miracle Gro fertilizers (didn’t and still does not happen to stakes in soil where I only use organic fertilizers). Well I sure as hell didn’t want to eat that stuff or anything that was growing in it! That was when I quit their chemical fertilizers.
    I was still using the Organic Choice bone meal I had to prepare flower beds, and their seed starting soil because it was the only one I could find. Then the last two bags of seed starter I bought this year were of low quality. Instead of the fine peat moss and perlite that I was accustomed to getting – there was coarse material mixed in. Small twigs and I think tiny bits of bark chips. On top of that discovery the price of the seed started had also gone up. WTF? I finally got to try some coconut coir from Buzzy, I love it and I’m not going back!
    This year the GMO problem really became clear to me, but it wasn’t until more recently that I became aware of Miracle Gro’s ties to Monsanto and GMOs. It has finally sunk in that I need to research the brands I”m using – for anything – and who controls them. I find myself going a little more out of my way to nurseries to get organic products sometimes, but I think it’s worth it to know what I’m putting into my soil, my food, and ultimately myself. I am spending about the same amount on the soil, compost, and fertilizers I do buy. I am also producing some compost myself and using it to fertilize. I am more involved in the growing process of my food and ornamental plants and appreciate them more for it. I have banned myself from purchasing anything from Miracle Gro, Ortho or Scotts. I don’t want to support them. If I find other brands with ties to Monsanto or other unethical practices I will boycott their products as well.
    At this time I have “quarantined” all Miracle Gro products that were leftover – houseplant fertilizer, bone meal, perlite, seed starter. I am going to take the houseplant fertilizer to a S.A.F.E. disposal site. I am still debating on whether to put the other items in the garbage or use them for the ornamental plants in my parent’s front yard. I am trying to talk my dad into giving up his Scott’s grass seed… that is not going so well yet….

    Sorry for the long rant 😉

  • Mike Lieberman

    Being a mutant would be cool for like 10 minutes. Then it would suck.

  • Mike Lieberman

    I appreciate you sharing your story. I think it’s one that most of us go through. You just get started, then slowly start to become more aware. Thanks!

  • Summer Hodgman

    If people are all up in arms about growth hormones in meat, why don’t they flip out about the flora-equivalent? 

    And has anyone ever proven that MiracleGro is actually better than fish/seaweed emulsions, anyway?

  • Mike Lieberman

    Good point. I think it’s because they likely don’t know.

  • Cherise

    Yep, that’s what I used. The compost wasn’t completely decomposed though so in certain instances it was clear that the plants were suffering. Going to tweak it for the fall and next year. 

  • Kelly

    Agree completely!  I’m all about voting with my dolllars, whether it’s food in the store, gardening supplies, etc.  Just got my free sample of THRIVE in the mail and am eager to try it out. 

  • Mike Lieberman

    nice. Keep me updated.

  • Lateralthirdeye

    I used to use MiracleGro on my garden.  I stopped cause my food tasted funny (have to wait a LONG TIME before that stuff gets out of your veggies after fertilizing.)

    Now, I have a 29 gallon goldfish tank, with 7 goldfish and 2 Chinese algae eaters.

    Once every two weeks, I do a 50-66% H2O change.

    The water that comes out of my fishtank gets mixed with more H2O (usually left over from the dog pool, waste not!), and used as fertilizer for my garden.  Any fishwaste water that I have left over gets dumped in the compost.  Water the compost and at nitrogen wastes?  YAY!

    And so far?  My garden loves it.  LOVES IT! More so than the MiracleGro ickyness that I used last year.

    So, I get to enjoy the antics of silly, pretty, incredibly cheap fish, and they help my garden by creating all sorts of awesome fish poopies for me to put on my plants.


  • Mike Lieberman

    I love the fish tank idea. Love it. Love it.

  • Cedar Chest

    I posted something earlier about using greywater on gardens, as well as the fish tank idea from Lateralthirdeye.  It was supposed to go to be moderated because I included a link, but now I don’t see it.  Was there something wrong with the link or the contents?

  • Mike Lieberman

    I used to shower with a bucket and use that to water my plants. I should really start to do that again.

    The comment is now posted. I just moderate the comments with links in them because was getting hit with lots of spam.

    Thanks for the info!

  • Stacey Couch

    I’ve had the same conversation in my head at the gardening store. Thanks for vocalizing it!

  • Mike Lieberman

    My pleasure. Maybe I am the voice in your head…

  • Farmerfanny

    I don’t think they are organic when they have cow manure in it with all they do to cows now a days. I found a potting soil at Walmart that just has forest compost in it called Earthgro. Read those lables. Now that I learned more from you I won’t be contributing a penny to them toward Genetically Altering my food.

  • Mike Lieberman

    Yea once I learned I stopped supporting them too. I wanted to point out that some of their products are OMRI certified, but I can’t justify using them because of that…

  • tripps

    I’m looking into building an aquaponics system and raising tilapia for food.  Fish poop in water, poopy water is cycled through plants and back to the tank.  Then after about 9 months I get to eat ’em!  Keep 3 tanks going with staggered populations and I should be able to keep a constant supply for my dinner table.  😀

  • Mike Lieberman

    Nice. Those are pretty intricate systems. Keep me updated.

  • Ann Noire

    I stopped by a store today to look for organic soil, and the first thing I searched for was the OMRI logo.  I didn’t see it on Miracle Gro and another large brand.  The brand that carried the OMRI logo or notice was a smaller bag from an unknown line.

  • Mike Lieberman

    Would be interesting as to what the brand was.

  • Ann Noire

    I was at Walmart.  I rarely go there, and didn’t get a chance to take pictures.  A lot of products used “organic” but I didn’t see the OMRI label anywhere. If I return, I will definitely do camera inventory.

  • Shamme77

    Earthgro is made by miracle gro. Just a different name to confuse you

  • Mike Lieberman

    Thanks for that headsup.

  • Organicsoil

    Kellogg Garden Products has several OMRI listed soils and they are a west coast company. I bought mine at Home Depot. $7.87 for a 3 cf garden soil that is OMRI.

  • Mike Lieberman

    Good call on that.

  • Paydentravers

    Good post Mike. Your wisdom will keep me from buying Miracle Grow in the future. What substitutes do you recommend?

  • Mike Lieberman

    I’ve been using Fox Farm Ocean’s Forest.

  • Sylvia Walker

    In addition, Walmart decided to carry GMO sweet corn even though many other large companies agreed to not carry this genetically modified food. Why support a company that supports the GMO-producing companies in this way?

  • tracey

    i have to agree wholeheartedly… didn’t realise this so thanx :)

  • ounlopez

    Well, some of us are in small areas where choices are very limited. So, not sure what to do in that case!

  • Karen

    Slave fish. what a wonderful person you are.

  • Jean Connor

    Great information I will not use any products that supports monsanto

  • Catherine

    KUDOS!!! If only the rest of the US, was educated enough regarding what is REALLY happening to our food thanks to Monsanto, Beyer and the likes then maybe, just maybe we could make a change for our food, our health and the environment. Keep up the good work! Get your voice out there where ever you can!! THANK YOU! And for those not realizing what their dollar can truly do, watch FOOD, INC.! It will inform you and disgust you all at the same time but at least you will know.

  • Guest

    Miracle gro, it says it in the name, day!!! Very suspicious, I have never bought miracle grown and don’t intent to now, ha.

  • Sabata Rebekah Dupuch

    Miracle gro, it says it in the name, “very suspicious”, ah, duh! Never bought it, and don’t intent to now, ha.

  • maryann

    thanks for letting me know. I can’t support Monsanto either!

  • jennydecki

    When I say Miracle Gro you know exactly what I want for my garden. This response is 100% unhelpful. Glad you don’t care, hope Google figures out this answer is worthless for the question soon!

  • motherknowsbest

    too bad you just didn’t understand.

  • Cindy Koch

    Look into EcoScraps. Soil made from fruits and vegis from grocery stores. All organic and no manure. Each bag keeps 37 lbs. of food out of the landfills! On the weekends I sell it at a Home Depot and it makes me sick how much Miracle Gro is sold. People just don’t get it!

  • nodule

    It’s also owned by Scotts, therefore Monsanto

  • shumee

    It’s lack of awareness. People like you need to educate too. Pass out flyers. I didn’t realize the connection between Scotts soils and Miracle-Gro to Monsanto until recently. And I’ve been anti-Monsanto for a long time.
    Of course only recently thought seriously of growing my own food. Where else can we get good soil?

  • Michelle_Hubbart

    use horse poop

  • shumee

    I totally agree with you and am doing the same thing. Not just anything made by Monsanto but also Syngenta, Bayer, BASF, Dow, Dupont. These are the 6 evil companies.

  • shumee

    Did you see the post from Natural News about that? on a larger scale. Looked pretty cool, but I guess you’d need some space for this.

  • shumee

    I discovered a company that sells soil and mulch that they say is made from their trees. I’m excited to find an alternative to the soil from big pesticide companies. I’m starting to think of how to do a square foot garden. Anyone got some good videos to recommend?

  • solidturd

    Anything that supports Monsanto in anyway… i boycot.

    I am lucky. i work in a local farm to table restaurant… i always have coffee grounds and veggie scraps for our awesome compost/garden at the house thanks to where i work.

    I think the only thing anyone can do is to try and educate people.

  • Katie Meek

    Great. My Fiance and I just spent $40 on organic seed and planted them in my parents back yard, stupidly without thinking about what they were using for soil. Turns out that my mom used a ton of Miracle-Grow. Thankfully we planted in starter pots, is there anything we can do once we transplant, or are we totally screwed?

  • Emily

    You’re not screwed, but you’ll want to move them as soon as you can. I’d suggest (depending on your space and stuff) doing container gardening in the same space. Depending on where you live, and if you don’t mind it not being pretty, you can get containers cheep. There’s a bulk food store where I live that sell off their big containers once empty. I get the 20 litre bins their peanut butter came in for like two bucks. Kinda ulgy – but on the plus side they have great handles if I need to move them.

  • jeff

    use bullshit! plenty of that going around and monsatan does not have a patent on that yet!

  • LoudGuitr

    There seems to be a consensus on this that MG is harmful in some way, but as is almost always the case, there is absolutely no substantiation to that claim being presented. I’m not disagreeing as much as pointing out that it looks like a lot of paranoia when there’s no science presented. Going on about Monsanto isn’t a very intelligent argument against Miracle Gro, is it?

  • guest

    How much Monsanto do you think is in the food waste that comes from commercial grocery stores? Compost is only organic if it was organically grown in the first place.

  • Cindy Koch

    That’s exactly what I said when I first got the job but I was told that it is heated to such a high temperature that all the bad stuff is cooked out. Email EcoScraps for more details and a better explaination if you have the time!

  • Sadie

    Are you saying that pesticides are “cooked” out? What about genetically modified plants that are used? How could you “cook” out a genetic modification? Serious question, not trying to be an ass.

  • nogo-gmo

    Actually, this answer to the keyword Miracle Gro is the most relative link after the product description from the manufacturer because people are trying to educate themselves about the negative side of Miracle Gro and learn alternative, organic ways to feed their crops. Who do you work for? Do you work for Scott or Monsanto?

  • nogo-gmo

    use earthworm poop, start a compost and make your own, it’s easy and less expensive

  • ounlopez

    How is horse poop guaranteed to be organic? Do you know what the inject in those horses? In general, I do like to use manure.

  • ounlopez

    Yes, I do that. But, for a larger scale garden I need more material.

  • Cindy Laidlaw

    If it is heated high enough to do that, all the nutrients in it would be burned off also. Am I wrong?

  • Cindy Koch

    I can only go by what’s on EcoScraps website that you should check out for your answer. But let me tell you, I was at a gardening seminar last weekend at the L.A. Greenfest and the speaker gave a shout out for EcoScraps. She compared the soils sold at the big box stores under a microscope and EcoScraps was the only one that had living organisms in it. So I guess that answers your question, no, some how the heat doesn’t destroy the nutrients! People at ecoscraps could explain this to you much better than me. I just know I used it for the first time this yr. and I had a great garden, except minus the bees!

  • Cindy Koch

    Hey Sadie….I posted a reply back to you 2 months ago but it was rejected for some reason! Pls. see the above comment I just posted if it’s there. The pesticides are cooked out and not sure about the GMOs. I always thought that’s why farmers in other countries burn their GMO crops in other countries was to get rid of them. Not at all sure though! It’s a good question for the makers of EcoScraps!
    Happy gardening!

  • Guest

    That’s great and all, but what options are there to use instead? I’m a amateur gardener without the time or resources to make my own. What brands that are OMRI certified do you recommend?

  • Elle R

    The point of the argument is: The only thing that Scott’s, or Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow, or BASF understand – is MONEY. The biggest option we have is to STOP BUYING their products until THEY stop poisoning us.

    Unfortunately, that really is the only thing that will make them stop.

  • LoudGuitr

    Where is evidence that they are poisoning us? No doubt that Monsanto participates in some business practices that appear to be bullying, but where is the science to support your argument about poisoning? I’d be genuinely interested to know.

  • Chris

    Great claims but claims are only as good as your SOURCES. Not saying I disagree, but I’m asking, what makes you any different from the crazy guy on the corner screaming things?

    If you make a claim, prove it, or don’t say it at all.

  • Sabrina Troyer Finley

    I started using Kellogg’s Organic this year, in containers (the soil has to be extremely rich in containers) and OMRI certified Mater Magic (good for all plants) with excellent results so far. Kellogg’s is 50% cheaper than Miracle Grow, too.

    I’m so against Monsanto. If you question the science, do your research. This article isn’t about research, it’s about educating yourself.

  • cam

    Everyone around the world is banning GMOS and calling for GMO labeling. Go ahead and call multiple other country’s decision on GMO and Monsanto “freaking out” but I’ll just stay safe and make my organic soil with minimal effort or fucking time.

  • LoudGuitr

    I speak English. Hard to figure out what this means.

  • LoudGuitr

    Because everyone is doing something means it has merit? Do I need to give you examples of that being untrue? I’m not saying that GMOs are healthy. I’m say the critics have no data. Movies aren’t data.

  • dcm5150

    What does using Miracle Grow have to do with GMOs?

  • rach

    not surprised…explains your viewpoints.

  • Abigayil Rojas-Taylor

    Agreed. I am not happy with Miracle-Gro Organic Choice. It consistently has fungus and maybe gnats to boot. I am really disappointed to learn their business affiliation. I am not buying more of their products.

  • catglass

    I stopped using Miracle-Gro fertilizer a least 10 years ago. I did not know about their Monsanto affiliation back then–the products just smelled awful and I hated the way the plants would grow like crazy and then languish if they were not given more. And that was at half-strength!

    I still did not know about the Monsanto connection last spring, so bought a bag of Miracle-Gro potting soil at Costco. I noticed that it smelled strange when I opened the bag, but I was in a hurry and used it to pot up a gorgeous fuchsia. The plant was dead within a week.

    I will never buy another Miracle-Gro product. We am not entirely organic, but never use pesticides, herbicides, or other chemical controls in our vegetable or flower gardens. I will be writing to Costco to ask that they find some alternatives for their store.

    In the meantime, if you are looking for a good (albeit perhaps not organic) liquid fertilizer for your blooming plants you might give “Jack’s” a try. It used to be sold as “Peter’s” but the name changed.

  • nellilein

    NEVER use the stuff! And by the way, Scott lost a multi-million dolllar lawsuit. They were found guilty to purposely add a chemical that was known to kill birds and they put it in their wild bird seed – because it made the product have a longer shelf life. They did it for years! Bird seed that kills birds!!!!

  • nellilein

    The problem, Loud Guitar, is that there aren’t any quality research companies/universities anymore that haven’t accepted donations from Monsanto and other Big Ag companies. I’m a CA certified Master Gardener that’s home base is U of CA – Davis, an AG university. They have a HALL named Monsanto – do you think they’ll be doing any research about GMO’s? When Monsanto gets researchers actually doing research, they tell them what the parameters will be. What kind of research is that??? When pediatricians are calling for mothers to feed their sensitive children only organic foods, you know our food system is in trouble! Genetically modified food doesn’t have a label as to what it’s been spliced with, so if you have an auto-immune child/older person and they’re always ill, you obviously start checking your food source first. PEDIATRICIANS, not flat earth society are saying stay away from BigAgs food – that’s more credible info than any university that’s being run with Monsanto’s money. At some point, you really need to make up your own mind – read all you want, not just some Facebook article and then comment on it, but do some serious reading on subjects – then you’ll start to understand.

  • nellilein

    You really don’t need good soil, you just need to make your own compost – or have worms do it for you. It can be as simple as kitchen scraps thrown into a hole in the ground, covered each time with some soil. Use straw, hay if in a backyard and it’ll decompose and add humus to your soil. Make up a raised bed using the ‘lasagna’ gardening method (layers on top of newspaper or cardboard). Just try to think about gardening before WWII – whatever worked then will work now – that was a world without gardening chemicals.

  • nellilein

    Dig in your leaves, pine needles, newspaper shred (it uses only soy based ink), straw, hay, thin layer of grass etc. in your soil. Breaks down and adds quality to the soil and feeds the micro-organisms, which are extremely important in good soil.

  • nellilein

    Go to the stables and ASK THEM! Do the same for cow manure – DON”T BUY IT IN BAGS! Chicken manure, rabbit, etc. Know your source FIRST! Nothing wrong with manure except what the animal ate/was injected with in their lifetime.

  • Dr. Ed

    You are correct, but since we live in an almost entirely scientifically ignorant society where no one but scientists ever take a real science course, this is the kind of bull shit you have to put up with. I’m a toxicologist and GMO’s are perfectly safe. That the Europeans are also scientifically ignorant is no justification unless you are a moron.

  • Euro Piyan Queen

    Miracle gro is the worst product you can use- unless you like chems, fungus gnats, and spider mites. If clorox or the CDC started selling foods, would you buy it? Same goes for anything called “organic” by miracle gro. How people keep buying this garbage amazes me…

  • Euro Piyan Queen

    If you feel the need to state credentials, you’ve already lost the argument. One could hardly assume you have ever employed the scientific method to your “observation.”

  • Rafael

    I would like to play the devil’s advocate if I may be so bold. I purchased Organic Miracle Gro cause: We all know how corps. work no secret there. If their organic products makes them money we will be supporting a positive change. Like Children, positive feedback can sometimes work better than punishment. As they make $$$$ selling organic products they maybe less incline to bed Monsanto. Some might be thinking right about now, Fat Chance! Please bare with me. Corporation are easy to figure out and you correctly to point that out, hit them where it hurts. I’m not saying you are wrong just that there are alternatives way to view this important issue. Nonetheless, still work against Monsanto. What could happen if we don’t support their organic line? If they stop making money in their Organic product they might latch on to Monsanto even more cause they are in the businesses to make money. If Monsanto makes them money instead of the Organic market…well that is self explanatory. More importantly, Organic is always good, it feed the Organic movement/industry one way or another. Why punish the organic market? We all know that most organic companies source from other companies. Not all of the corporations product are in house produced. Still not convinced? As the Organic industry grows prices come down making it more affordable for the general public. Feeding the Organic movement in general yes, including Scott’s product would be a better alternative than playing hard ball cause we create competition. Competition is good for consumers. The more companies battle for my Organic dollars the better. We all know that the general public is not as informed as most of the pro-organic crowd. Just browsing Garden forums will show how many people are ill informed or currently trying to inform themselves. So, is it not better to advocate buy Organic and not try to confuse the general public who are just entering the organic market. If the average consumer gets confused, too busy with their life and can’t figure out which company is in bed with Monsanto, they might be discouraged and buy non organic products which promises them the world. In such scenario we inadvertently would support Monsanto. I propose we grow the organic market in general. Hence, it would be counter productive for us to waste energy in Monsanto bedding companies. In the end I would rather focus environmentalist energy into encouraging a vital healthy competitive Organic market than worry about Scott’s organic products. Well, I’m done playing the Devil’s advocate. BTW, my garden is 100 percent organic and I like it that way.

  • dude

    Just buy some MiracleGro and try it and see how well your plants does.

  • dude

    We all know you are a shill for the Big Ag companies Dr. Ed. The need to called yourself Dr., stating your ‘credentials’, attacking the intelligence of the entire Europe, and claiming GMO are perfectly safe, all this pretty much give away you are a fraud.

  • dude

    I like to look for soil and fertilizer products with the OMRI logo, this isn’t always a sure bet, you still have to research the company, but generally it is safer for organic gardening.

  • Jim

    you might look who owns them, you will be surprised

  • Jim

    Knowledge is a dangerous thing. In 1998, Scotts bought Ortho from Monsanto and with it a long contract to marker and sell consumer Roundup. This clearly is not new information or if you look at anything about Scotts you will see Ortho, Roundup, Scotts, Miracle-Gro and a lot of brands you may use already

  • Cindy Koch

    As far as I know some guys in Utah own the co.. Who do you think owns it? I worked for them 2 yrs. ago.

  • Patricia Sky

    I don’t believe that’s the way corporations would reason. If they are functioning for the profit motive, they are not going to be dropping their other products because people buy their shoddy contaminated “organic” product. They market it as an organic to capture that market share as well, since they’ve learned that it’s a growing market. I think your approach and “logic” just adds to the confusion. People who want to learn how to garden organically can learn the difference between a a company with integrity or without, and if they can’t figure it out they can follow the advice of someone who can figure it out. What could be simpler than “Don ‘t buy Miracle-gro products even if they say “organic choice”?”. Their Organic Choice (brand name) plant food is chicken manure and chicken feathers. I will bet my garden those chickens were not fed on an organically grown pesticide-free, GMO- free diet!

  • Ariawave

    Good sentiment. Monsanto and Scotts are so unethical as to be comical. They’re like the evil antagonist in a Disney movie, except not fictional.

  • Ariawave

    What is your point, here? The author is saying that you should avoid funding companies that are unethical, regardless of when they were acquired/started/what products they have in their line.

    Also, knowledge is dangerous, but ignorance is more dangerous.

  • WSP


  • Monika Radford

    Thank you for providing this information. I agree with your remarks. I would not support this organization by buying any product from them. Besides, after being taught how to have an organic garden, using natural materials such as compost, manure, etc., the results were superior in terms of the health and flavor of the plants, herbs, tomatoes, etc.

  • bible thumper

    I doubt there “organic line” is really organic. It has chicken manure and byproducts from chickens that ate GMO foods that had roundup sprayed on them and given arsenic laden medicines with antibiotics and who knows what. That doesn’t sound organic to me.

  • Jose

    Gmo products are man made products subject to copyright status. The organic movement is based on organic, seed, soil, and h20, that is not tampered by man. Thus returning rights back to people, not restricting.

  • Joe Joe

    I just ordered Dr. Earths. That should be good.

  • jon

    you folks sure fixate on round up a lot.

  • jon

    somehow, I suspect your views in life come from Disney :) I can’t even imagine people thinking corporations are evil, etc. Companies are made up of people…companies are not a person. Do you think they have some pre employment screening criteria to ensure unethical employees will be hired…or is there some unethics training they go through.
    I find such thoughts…pretty low on ethics myself.

  • jon

    yet it has no chems, fungus gnats or spider mites.
    Center for Disease Control is selling food, what kind :)
    how people keep parrotting such garbage is what amazes me

  • jon

    I always use strange smell as my indicator to.
    Miricle grow has no pesticides, herbicides etc in it;s fertilizer.
    I don;t use use any of those in my garden or flowers either, but I am cursed with a chemistry and risk background…and would personally classifiy what I read on this thread as about 95 % manure.

  • jon

    how dare they have a business affiliation.
    Let me ask a fundemental question…did even one person verify the monsanto connection stated ? No…you have all been grubered.
    Why did you think they sell round up ?

  • jon

    what kind of gobbly gook article was that ? A simple search of the the basis for non synthetic fertilizers in the organic standard was to not support the chemical industry…not because a purifed mineral salt (such as miricle grow) had any more risk than one you dug out of the dirt.
    Exclusive agent for Round up. Look up the term “exclusive agent”. But better yet…just ask yourself…why would monsanto be selling it through another corporation.
    I recommend thinking when reading other peoples opinions (aka, articles) .

  • Ariawave

    Jon, I can’t really tell if you’re being facetious or no, considering the smiley face.


    When I or others call a sweat shop, a child militia, or companies such as Monsanto/Exxon-Mobil/Wal-Mart “unethical,” are you truly asking whether we think that these organizations “screen” or “train” their employees on how to be unethical?

    Clearly, when you label an organization or structure with a descriptor, such as “evil,” you’re describing its motivations, procedures, and/or effects as such, not its individual components.

    Monsanto and Scotts have a wanton disregard for the cascading effects of their bad products, mission, and actions. Thus, I call them unethical and evil.

    If you find that logic unethical yourself, whatever.

    I won’t be responding to any further comments from you because clearly you’re not interested in discussing the deleterious effects of Miracle Gro and similar products, you’re here to pick a fight with strawman arguments and fallacy.

  • jon

    ouch :) I didn’t see anyone on the site discussing deleterious effects of Miracle Gro…all I saw was inudendo and ethical opinions based on somewhat vague…chemicals are bad….rationale.

    What did you see specifically ?

    What would I know, only a background in chemistry and risk, and 35 years experience in the area of Env management and risk, including contaminated land clean up. Much better to just take the anti corp approach, beats thinking.

    saw this post further down “Great. My Fiance and I just spent $40 on organic seed and planted them in my parents back yard, stupidly without thinking about what they were using for soil. Turns out that my mom used a ton of Miracle-Grow. Thankfully we planted in starter pots, is there anything we can do once we transplant, or are we totally screw”
    organic seed ? I know they sell, I’ve bought some with my girlfriend for our organic garden. My thinking (50 credits of chemistry) if there is not one metric you can test a soil, a plant, or a seed for to determine it to be organic or conventional…then how can one say it is better or worse ? Much of organic certification is lifestyle, simpler living, loving care of plants and communtiy etc…all of which I support. Then there is the “funny stuff” that says…chemicals are bad…well, synthetic ones anyway…natural ones are ok :)

  • jon

    yes, you are wrong. One they are not burned, he said heated. Two most nutrients are the basic building blocks of nitrogen potassium etc (aka elements) etc….and they don’t just disappear.
    I suffer from chemistry classes.

  • jon

    how can you transfer a genetic modification from compost to a plant ? That is the question you should be asking. Think of it this way…do you worry about the genetics of non gmo being transferred to your garden…do you see carrots become corn ? Why do you think it is any differnent.
    And yes, there definately comes a point where no testing would show any synthetics are left in compost.
    Folks worry about such low level risk here (one in trillions kinds of risk)..then jump in their cars and text and drive. It’s a wacky world we live in.
    alcohol we drink is responsible for 3-5 % of Cancer in the US, and we dive right in. Pest risk, probably a million time less, and we crp ourselves.
    I’m heading home for a beer, and to water my organic garden :) Have already started picking the spinach, and radishes.

  • Cindy Laidlaw

    Ok, bad choice of words. If it is heated enough to cook the bad stuff, it would be heated enough to cook the good stuff,,,unless, of course, one could manage some selective heating. Yes, I agree, if you heat it, it does not go anywhere…just dies. Like a lobster in boiling water, it doesn’t just dissappear but it is not alive anymore.

  • jon

    to my thinking, the “alive” part is microbial, which contributes to the health of plants..more indirectly (for further degrading content to basic nutrients). Consider burning of plants, leaves etc. The dead charred ashes contain many of the nutrients….in very concentrated form. do plants grow well where burning has been done….very much so.

    “Sixteen chemical elements are known to be important to a plant’s growth and survival. The sixteen chemical elements are divided into two main groups: non-mineral and mineral.Macronutrients

    The primary nutrients are nitrogen (N), phosphorus
    (P), and potassium (K). These major
    nutrients usually are lacking from the soil first because plants use large amounts for their growth and survival.

    The secondary nutrients are calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and sulfur (S). There are usually enough of these nutrients in the soil so fertilization is not always needed. Also, large amounts of
    Calcium and Magnesium are added when lime is applied to acidic
    soils. Sulfur is usually found in sufficient amounts from the slow
    decomposition of soil organic matter, an important reason for not throwing out grass clippings and leaves.

    Micronutrients are those elements essential for plant growth
    which are needed in only very small (micro) quantities . These elements are sometimes called minor elements or trace elements, but use of the term micronutrient is encouraged by the American Society of Agronomy and the Soil Science Society of America. The micronutrients are boron (B), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), chloride (Cl), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo) and zinc (Zn). Recycling organic matter such as grass clippings and tree leaves is an
    excellent way of providing micronutrients (as well as macronutrients) to growing plants.”
    These are all elements…not alive or dead, and don’t dissapear by heating or burning.
    imo….organic fertilizer supplies these elements by using “natural sources”…which can also mean they are not concentrated, and take time to release. when you use some “synthetic” version like MGrow, it has been refined to much more concentrated froms (salts), which are released quickly. Not as chemically evil as others state…imo.
    One commentor said what he didn’t like about mgrow was plant grew well, but needed more. sure…its available immediately in salt forms….not a surprise. If I want to jump start a plant…I go with Mgrow….I can add slow release “friendly” organic fertilizer too. The plant has none of the biases we humans have…the just want the nutrient.

  • jon

    compared to what ? I have an organic garden too, and compared to my conventional garden….I did not notice any real differences. I used Mgrow and manure on conventional, and no mgrow on the organic..but put the same attention and effort into both. And the results are the same.
    I think of most non organic fertilizers as being just more nutrient ready…adding organic fertilizers are more time release. Mgrow is the refined sugar (compared to raw sugar). you can use refined sugar way to much, or Mgrow way to much…but honestly…who does ?

  • jon

    I agree, I hardly find beating up companies, religions, politicians, races etc based on an individuals social biases that much to crow about. Try to get past it ones biases….is the product good or bad based on it’s purpose, it’s chemical and biological impacts. etc.
    I don’t not use facebook because of all the stalking, hate, bullying etc that goes on with that corp’s products. I don’t think Apple is evil because some think cell phones cause head cancer, or they got caught up in china labor issues, or they don’t repair products, just replace them (not very design for the environment friendly). We live and learn…lighten up folks.

  • Dave T

    The best tomatoes I have ever grown have been with the Miracle Grow blue powder. It says to use every 2 weeks, but I spray every 2 days and get the biggest, reddest, and juiciest bad-ass tomatoes in the world – and more than I know what to do with. The horse-and-buggy people can do whatever they want, but I’m a gonna get mine through the miracle of modern science.

  • Dave T

    If I gave you vegetables fertilized with cow shit, would you eat them?? Of course you would – and manure attracts all kinds of insects too. Best tomatoes I’ve ever grown are with Miracle Grow. Life’s too short to eat crappy tomatoes and LOTS of them. Modern living through science – go for it.

  • tom

    Your future Cancer man (in 10 years)

  • tom

    You guys buy dirt and compost? Head to the forest, leaf rake the top compost and leaves for mulch into a pile. Then use a garden rake to get up the AMAZING loam and

    organic matter into a pile. Then use a shovel to get up the blackest of dirt on the planet. In one hour, two people can have enough in a pick up truck for 22′ 44′ garden.

  • Dave T

    Been using it for at least 35 years – back when it was Stern’s Miracle Grow. I’m fit as a fiddle today – after all those years of delicious bacon, lettuce, and home grown tomato sandwiches – and living guilt and shame free. Sour grapes to you Chicken Little – spread your fear somewhere else. LOL

  • Sadie Slays

    I’m torn on this issue.

    I personally boycott Scott’s, Miracle-Gro, and Monsanto products for political reasons.

    On the other hand, Miracle-Gro is the only reason why people like my in-laws even have a backyard garden in the first place. I’ve tried to gently encourage them to move to organic gardening, but they insist that it’s too difficult. And then there are my neighbors who just started their very first container garden this year using Miracle-Gro soil purchased from the nearest big box store. They aren’t the type to go seeking out organic alternatives.

    My point here is that these are people who wouldn’t otherwise garden without Miracle-Gro. And I’d rather see people give gardening a try and have that experience with growing their own food than shame them for buying Miracle-Gro. Gardening with Miracle-Gro is better than no garden at all, IMO.

  • Jason

    It is inappropriate to use a process of thought that begins from a conclusion.

  • John

    I used to believe chemical fertilizers were harmful to humans, but I think the real issue with chemical ferts is the harm it does to the environment, and the lack of micronutrients in large-scale agriculture.

    In other words, loading up soil with chemical N-P-K ferts will produce large plants quickly, but they will not have all the nutritional value of a plant grown in organic soils. Also, all those salts leech into the water supply where they do strange things to our environment.

    Sort of like how people are all up in arms over GMO as if they will be getting cancer and growing extra appendages out of their heads. The real issue with GMO crops is not any intrinsic health risks, but the simple fact that ultimately, at some point down the road, the only food crops we’ll be able to grow will have a registered trademark and a patent filing, and will be owned and controlled by a corporation. Food security is the real issue. GMO corn isn’t necessarily unhealthy just because it is GMO, but once it pollinates the non-GMO cornfields, those farmers are unable to save seed for next year’s crops because Monsanto will sue them for intellectual property infringement and bar them from using any cross-bred seeds.

  • John

    The excuse of needing to extend the shelf-life of a product doesn’t make any sense now that we have reefer trucks, ships and trains, and special containers to put fresh produce in the bellies of 747’s.

    Back when they put food on wagons to ship back east, that made sense. But I go to the grocery store often enough to realize that most foods are delivered to the store on a daily basis. Just-in-time inventory, refrigeration, pasteurization, etc.

    There is no need. The non-food or food-derived ingredients in our food products are there because they are cheaper than the natural alternative, or because that company’s lawyers want to eliminate all risk of liability for any health problems. Like, I can’t imagine why we need to have natamycin in our blue cheese dressings, but it’s there. The only reason I can come up with for putting an antibiotic used to treat ear and eye infections directly into a food we eat is because the food producer is afraid to sell a product with an actively growing fungus in it, even though that is exactly what makes that food the food that it is. Most flavored yogurts are flavored with petro-chemicals because it is cheaper to create blueberry flavor in a beaker, compared to buying a truck full of blueberries and all the handling costs involved there.

  • John

    I’ve been reading ingredient lists on all the food products I buy for years. In the 1980s, a lot of food products used pretty basic ingredients. During the 1990s, there must have been a glut of petro-chemicals, because the ingredient lists on a lot of mainstream products began to grow. Breads started listing HFCS, weird “dough conditioners”, and other things. Even the ingredient lists on some macaroni, which used to be durum wheat and water, started growing larger.

    Somewhere between 2005 and now, many food producers began dropping a lot of those extra ingredients and moved toward more natural product inputs. They certainly still try to slip some cheap chemical replacement in where ever they can, because profit, but at least you can see that they recognize the market is aware of what is in the foods now, and they do act accordingly.

    If Scott’s profits begin to be proportionally larger in the “organic market space” than in the “chemical fertilizer space”, they will adjust their business model to exploit this. Sure, they may still gather in some dark room and plot our destruction, but even if they have some kind of evil agenda, it will eventually come into conflict with their desire for profit.

  • emcgreevy

    Lucky for you to live near such areas.

  • chethardy

    I’ve gone the other way; in my area there are wood chips,vbut few nitrogen sources. So I threw in the towel and used urea, 46% N chemical fertilizer. Compost pile fired right up. Works great. I have a ton of compost. Literally.

    I don’t have a problem with Miracle Grow except that it is mostly overpriced urea. I don’t think Scott’s operates on a lower moral plane than a mycorrizhae fungus snake oil product that may or may not have the actual fungus spores in it.

  • chethardy

    Illegal in California.

  • chethardy

    True, but did you know you can poison the groundwater with nitrogen by growing hairy vetch, a particularly efficient nitrogen fixing plant? I make an effort to use urea in biological quantities i.e. 25 grams equals a day’sworth of a goat’s urine, and to compensate for the extra solubility, and leave it at that.

  • Maria E Morris

    as once said..the more I learn the more I realize I know very little…recently investigating Monsanto and although I haveused miracle gro for years come spring I will find an organic brand. In NC and I’m told there is a organic group outside my home town of Asheville that sells organic plants, seeds etc. Reccomend if you can

  • Maria E Morris

    after reading the post I now see why the “masses” seem asleep. Please, please educate yourselves if only to investigae Monsanto. Our food sources have been taken over, our bees are disapering, animals are being abused to the point one would cry to see them, breeds are being lost, plants are being lost and the list goes on. Monsanto is one of the “Big 5″ and not to be singled out maybe, but it’s amazing how much they control our lives. They have gotten to the current level because we have set silently by without the knowledge to be aware. Perhaps thinking our government would take care and that they have by protecting Monsanto at every turn. Money talks. If you are healthy now be thankful, but remember your children and t;heir children.