Suddenly have an insect infestation after using Miracle-Gro potting soils? Yeah, me too.
I was so ecstatic to have put together my first raised bed for a vegetable garden this year. It’s nearly full with mushroom compost received from a neighbor, who got a huge haul at a local mushroom farm. The final touch was to add some garden soil to the bed and plant some seeds. A special at Home Depot meant that organic Miracle-Gro soil was just $5 a bag – a pretty good deal. I got two and immediately added it to my bed.
The next day, I went out to check on my raised bed and noticed the soil teeming with tiny little flies with white wings. These insects were NOT in the compost before I added I the soil, yet appeared in droves within 24 hours of dumping the bag of soil into my raised bed. I checked the mound of mushroom compost that I still had in another garden bed that was delivered the same day. Nope, the insects weren’t in there. I asked my neighbor if he had any problems with the tiny flies in his piles of compost. That was a negative, too. So I determined that the stupid organic soil that I bought from Miracle-Gro to complete my vegetable garden actually caused a HUGE problem that now I have to deal with.
Maybe it was the compost, or just a coincidence, you might say? Nope. I bought Miracle-Gro soil (the conventional kind) last year. I had three healthy houseplants that I had bought from the store and kept in pots for a few weeks that were fine. I decided to finally repot them and bought one bag of soil. All three plants were planted in this soil, and then placed indoors and outdoors in different locations. ALL the plants started developing problems and were infested with insects. I lost $30 of plants, tons of time in taking care of them, and time spent to return the stuff to Home Depot where the cashier looked at me dubiously as to how my soil could have caused this.
Now, fast forward another year, and I’m researching insect infestations online (I have so much time to do this, thanks Miracle-Gro!!) and finding out that this is a very common problem with Miracle-Gro, as evidenced in this stream of negative reviews on their website. In fact, most of the reviews are negative and have Miracle-Gro responding on how to get rid of fungus gnats because of their product.
**This is such an issue with Miracle Gro, that the first comment for these gnat bait traps on Amazon speaks directly about using the baits to kill gnats on houseplants brought in due to Miracle Gro soil. Apparently these will work, but I haven’t tried them out.
I have been going to my new plant bed and soaking it with insecticidal soap, which apparently won’t work too well. Miracle-Gro suggests that I add sand to the top of my box. What?? How about I just avoid your product from now on?
Sure, there’s a money back guarantee on their bag. But how do I put soil back into a bag ripped in half to get the soil out? How do I return this nasty stuff to the store without getting it everywhere all over my car?!? Most importantly, what about MY time???? The time spent in researching this problem, in tending to plants at risk, to monitoring insect populations and in applying remedies to problems that Miracle-Gro acknowledges? Isn’t my time more valuable than the $5 that I spent on their bag of soil??
Their response to past complaints is that it’s a natural product and not sterilized. True, I agree, however, this doesn’t seem to a problem with other soil that I have bought (I now don’t buy potting soil at all and just use straight mushroom compost. I buy mine at Lowe’s, but you can buy mushroom compost online here). Why in the world would I willingly spend any more money to buy Miracle-Gro’s product and then spend hours dealing with the problems that their soil brings into my house and my life?
I am done with Miracle-Gro. I suggest you don’t try to pinch pennies like I was, buying the cheapest thing on sale, and go to your local garden center and get your potting soil and garden soil. It might cost more, but you will save so much time, money and energy in the long run – and actually might enjoy gardening, again.
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Where do you get your soil? Have you ever had an insect infestation with any other brand?