Brands of Soil

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

I know this gets talked about in various threads.... but thought i'd bring it up again.

Last year i used that ProMix and Miracle Grow and had good results with both.
I always heard about the WalMart brand, but never knew what it was ... until now.

as i was sorting thru the Lessons Learned threads... there was a bit of chatter regarding soil.

then i brought in my bag from the garage to begin my winter sowing.

whaddya know... I've got Expert Gardener Perfect Mix
Walmart brand.

I recall a gal mention a "shard" of glass in her's, so i'm sifting thru it very carefully ... so far, plastic, sticks and pieces of wood... shown in the little bowl.

At the time, it was all WalMart had, and Sams was out of MG. I wont make this mistake again.

Thumbnail by tcs1366
Fredericksburg, VA(Zone 7b)

Well at least you have found no "glass" treasures so far. I'm using Miracle Gro this year. Caught a sale at Lowes.

Wayne, NE

I use the wal-mart brand most of the time for my indoor house planting just because it is cheaper and so much easier to find. I've never found anything other than a few small sticks in it. Otherwise I buy Miracle Grow for my outside pots only because I can buy a huge bag at Sam's Club. Now I just need to wait for all the snow to melt to get to my pots to get to Sams Club to buy that dirt. Happy Gardening everyone!!

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

I have used both Miracle Grow and Pro-Mix and had good results with both. I think the Pro-Mix is lighter and drains better, but it is so hard to wet, it takes a lot of time.

This time I bought Fafard, and I think I'm going to like it, as long as results are good. It's really light and fluffy, has a lot of perlite and vermiculite, and is easy to wet. I've only used it on about 6 jugs so far, so the jury is still out on it until I see how it works.


Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)


where did you get that brand from ?

I got 14 containers done today. used about 2/3 of the bag.


Camilla, GA(Zone 8a)

I've been using the above brand shown from Wal Mart for years.. It is every bit as good..


Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

I got the Fafard at a local greenhouse/nursery.

Gilmer, TX(Zone 8a)

Be careful and make sure you take a good look at the bag posted, because Wal Mart has a cheaper one of the same brand and it's terrible. I made that mistake and it was so heavy and full of junk that that I don't think a seed can get through it.
I know the containers I used it in are the ones that aren't coming up

Menahga, MN(Zone 3b)

I've been using the Walmart brand for a couple of years, and like it, but did see yesterday that they had a cheaper bag, so that must be the one with the sticks and stones! A member of our garden club is a Master Gardener and he uses the Walmart brand in the yellow bag for his thousands of seedlings. He is not a winter sower, so I have to try to convert him!

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

So -- there is a different brand from WalMart??

I do recall, this one wasn't cheap... maybe $8+ for 1 cu yard.
it's smaller than the bag i get at Sams.

Gilmer, TX(Zone 8a)

I think it's called Hyponex, but it's like 98 cents a bag, so you would have to be crazy, like me, to not realize it was no good. It was like someone went in the back yard, found all the bad soil he could and put it in a bag, sticks and all.
I don't remember who told me it was good stuff, but I wish I could remember so I could put a hit out on them!! LOL

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Thanks Lorraine.... I think I would even pass on a buck a bag... cheap skate I am.

I guess i like the MG, mostly because its in a BIG bag... and i go thru a lot of it. between WS and what few house plants i have ... little here and there in the flower beds.... i still go thru a lot.

Gilmer, TX(Zone 8a)

I've bought so much MG and seed starter. they shoud give me some kind of rebate!! I'm going to check the Expert brand. Is it any cheaper than Miracle Grow?

Camilla, GA(Zone 8a)

Lot's cheaper..


Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

that HUGE bag I get at my Sams is roughly $11 [i think this is 88qts, if that makes sense]

and the bag [which i believe was 1cu foot] was just under $9

Sooo, I find the MG from Sams cheaper.

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

I used Pro-mix this year because I bargained for a broken bale at the Seed & Feed Store. Some of the DG gardeners seem to really love it, so I was happy to land a bag of it.

I didn't realize at the time that there are several kinds of Pro-mix and I don't know if I am using quite the right one, but it seems very nice...perhaps there is one with a fine grain, although the BX seems to work fine for seeds I am sowing. I don't think mine has the 'mycorise' which some seem to think is helpful (I don't know what it is exactly).

I added some Osmocote and moisture crystals just for good measure.

Here is the Pro-mix home page if anyone wants more info on it:

Thumbnail by tabasco
Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Oh, I just looked on the Pro-mix website and found this explanation of 'Mycorise'.

MYCORISE PRO is a beneficial fungus that assists root systems in nutrient absorption and enhances overall plant growth

And here is a comparison chart of different kinds of Pro-mix (there are quite a few!)

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

The compressed bales of Pro-Mix really do contain a lot of mix and go a long way.

First impression, though, I think I'm going to like the Fafard better, as long as the germination and growth are comparable to what I've had with Pro-Mix. Because it's easier and faster to wet initially, sowing is faster, too. Also, if they dry out in spring I imagine it will be easier to re-wet with bottom watering. (That also can take some time with Pro-Mix). I prefer to bottom water, and do that if they are very dry and weather is hot.


Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

k., You didn't say where you got the Fafard?

For those who have questions about Miracle Grow products, here is a link to the Scott's/Miracle Grow home page:

And I notice they offer some organic products/planting mediums and here is the link for those:

Apparently Osmocote is owned by Scott's too and here is the link for their products:

Osmocote isn't necessary (and often it is counter recommended to include fertilizer for wintersowing), but I mix a little into my Pro-mix planting medium anyway because I want to be sure the seedlings get some nutrients (and I probably would forget, otherwise!) Miracle Planting Mix already has fertilizer in it.

Thumbnail by tabasco
Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

February 14, 2008
5:39 PM

Post #4539162
I got the Fafard at a local greenhouse/nursery.


thanks for the links Tabasco.

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

tabasco: I got the Fafard at Nature's Corner, Ebenezer Rd. @ Rapid Run in Western Hills, kind of the other end of the world for you. They're not even open in winter, but a guy was there working the day I called and said he would sell me a bag if I showed up. This fellow said he's has used the Fafard exclusively for 15 years for everything- seed starting, container planting, etc.


Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Ahhh! I thought you may have purchased it at AJ Rahn's or Delhi.

I googled Fafard because I thought it was a local or regional company, but I see it's quite national. Sounds like an excelent product and source, but they don't seem to retail their stuff on my side or town...

Here is company FAQ's about their mixes FYI everyone.

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

t. : This website doesn't list the place where I got it, though. I just called and asked what they use, he said Fafard, and I asked if I could buy a bag...


Cordele, GA(Zone 8a)

I have used both Miracle Grow and Walmart's Perfect Mix. I like Perfect Mix the best. Much better drainage and I like the organic mixture and texture.

Gilmer, TX(Zone 8a)

Crap, crap, crap!! I bought soil today and just automatically picked up the MG and I wanted the Perfect Mix
Think I can take it back since I've only used half of it? ha ha ha

Cary, NC(Zone 7b)

I had to switch to Jiffy Mix at Walmart becuase Home Depot stopped carrying the other soil mix i used, the Miracle Grow stuff. Either one worked fine.


Thumbnail by rebecca30
Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

aside from the lil pieces in this mix... it really wasn't bad to use.... nice absorbtion. I do recall one that i used last year, i think ProMix [but i'd have to check on that] did not mix as easily.

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Yes, I noticed our Walmart was majorly into Jiffy mix seed starter, didn't have anything else.

They had a nice range of other seed starting products though, (but no heat mat) and a garden center helper who was the most knowledgeable of anyone I've met in a garden center! Surprised me!

Gilmer, TX(Zone 8a)

Wal mart here only has jiffy too. Glad you found a knowledgeable
helper too. I was in the garden center in this Walmart and asksed where the begonias were. She gave me a blank stare and asked what begonia was. So, nice person I am, I found one, showed it to her so she'd never say that to anyone else. Showed her where they were too

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

BUMP! Any updates on WS soil choices?

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

not here... i've been using Miracle Grow with good results... plus i can get teh HUGE bag.

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

I picked up a bag of Metro Mix Special Blend the other day. I switched to this when I ran out of Fafard last year. Work well. It was $13 for 2.8 cu.ft.


SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Hey Karen,
That's a bit more than the 2.75 cu. ft. bag of Miracle Grow potting mix...

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

This is going to sound snobby, but I use the store brand from one of the local organic nurseries or the Ladybug brand of potting soil. I'm not fond of chemicals in my dirt where I can control it.

Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

I use the Promix BX for everything; seedstarting, wintersowing and containers. I usually buy about 6 big bales and get them from a wholesaler. Retail, it sell for about $30 a bale and it goes a long way. 3cu.ft compressed.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Not snobbish at all. I'm moving toward using more natural products in my operation, too.

Now. I'm gonna need all ya'lls help pretty soon, cause my Dear Niece that I love, just asked me to help her landscape the front of her BRAND NEW HOUSE! They got a humongous property for a STEAL! They are young, industrious, and are putting faith and trust in me to help guide them.

I've only grown veggies.....

But! Linda-Sahn gave them theIr very first assignment: She had to commit to following Auntie Linda's directions without question (she'll try to argue about all those milk jugs all over the place, but she'll thank me come Springtime....). And, she MUST join DAVE'SGARDEN.COM IMMEDIATELY!

Steph, I'll be tearing through the landscaping forum like crazy.

P.S. (since they have "means" I'm gonna suggest things like having a very attractive compost bin built in a section of the property to help build up the RAISED BEDS they don't know they'll be working with down the line).

Thanks to God that I've been venturing out from the veggie forums to at least read about some of the landscaping stuff!

I think we should have a forum called: Designer's Challenge! to assist newbie landscapers! Experienced growers could submit landscape design ideas for a specific property, and the winner of the Challenge would win an all expense paid trip to the property to see their finished design -- or not! ^^_^^_^^_^^_^^


Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Linda, be sure to ask folks in the Texas forum for suggestions for natives and such.

Fremont, OH(Zone 5b)

I could go for a designer help thing. Ihave an area that is dry shade and have a large pergola with walkway that my DH built. Iwant to put this area all in garden in order not to have to get a mower in there.I also have a challenge of a propane tank in there.Last year I painted some frogs on the tank as I have a small pond behind it in a corner that I also want to landscape arpubd.

Norristown, PA(Zone 6b)

Folks, I've often grown seedlings in situations very similar to the winter sowing described in these threads. But I've never used the jugs and want to do that this year. I've also never covered my seeds before, except in periods of intense deluge or high frigid winds.

My question after reading this thread, is why use all bagged premixed soil? I have always mixed my own soil for planting holes, containers and seed starting. Is there something about using the jugs that requires one to use commercially packaged soil mixes?

Does having the covers over the seeds make them more prone to fungus and pathogens?

Mid-Cape, MA(Zone 7a)

Stormyla, the only reason I use bagged premixed potting mix is that it is easy and I know that it is sterile. Here's a link that talks about this:
Having said that, it sounds as if you've had excellent luck with making your own potting mix for seed-starting, so you must be doing it right. I am less expert, so I just go with a purchased soiless potting mix. (Usually MG 'cause it's easy for me to find.)
I've never seen any signs of pathogens in my covered WS jugs. Even when the weather warms up in the spring, I've never seen one example of damping-off for instance. The seedlings that emerge are pretty hardy!

Post a Reply to this Thread

Please or register to post.

Upload Images to your reply

    You may upload up to 5 images