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.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Nice. Good stuff.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

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

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com 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.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    That’s what ultimately matters.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=614175178 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.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=624692882 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.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Amen sista. I’m with you on that.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

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

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    True dat!

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com 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.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

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

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com 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.

  • http://twitter.com/HomeGrownFun 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.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com 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.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

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

  • http://skymindedandevergrowing.blogspot.com 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.

  • http://marysgardeningendeavors.blogspot.com 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 ;)

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

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

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com 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?

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com 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. 

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com 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.

    Win-win.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com 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?

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com 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!

  • http://www.geodesic-greenhouse-kits.com/ Stacey Couch

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

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com 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.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com 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.  :-D

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

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

  • http://annnoire.tumblr.com/ 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.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Would be interesting as to what the brand was.

  • http://annnoire.tumblr.com/ 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

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com 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.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com 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?

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com 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.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jean.connor.52 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.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bekahsa 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!

  • http://twitter.com/jennydecki 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?