It’s worth considering using an organic soil when starting to grow your own fruits and vegetables. Obviously if you’re growing your plants indoors or in pots outside you can choose your soil. In this case, organic soils are definitely the best choice.
However, if you’re planting in the soil already in your garden, you may not know if there are any harmful chemicals or pesticides. Also, you may not know what the pH (acid/alkaline) balance is or what minerals and nutrients are in the soil. We recommend you analyze your garden soil with an inexpensive pH testing kit such as the Sonkir 3-in-1 Soil Moisture/Light/pH Tester, and amend it accordingly.
Potting Soil vs Potting Mix
These terms tend to be used interchangeably, but there can be a difference. Manufacturers confuse the two so it’s important to read the labels carefully before buying. Basically, a potting soil contains some soil with other ingredients and is intended for non-container use, whereas potting mix contains no soil but is just a mix of vermiculite, perlite, moss and other non-soil ingredients.
What Does Organic And Natural Mean?
Having said that organic is best, there is no hard and fast rule as to what “organic” or even “natural” means on a bag of mix. That’s because garden products are not regulated by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). And organic and natural can mean different things to different people. However, there are some organizations that verify that mixes are free from synthetic ingredients. Look for the one or more logos of OMRI, CDFA or WSDA on the packages.
Why Use an Organic Soil?
Using organic soil means there will be no harmful chemicals to add to toxic runoff which is a major source of environmental pollution. Organic soil also helps your plants grow healthier and stronger than non-organic soils depending on the ingredients. And, organic soil also tends to retain water for longer periods, which reduces the amount of garden maintenance needed.
The following are 6 of the best brands of organic soils and are ones you can trust to grow healthy plants.
For use in hanging baskets, containers, herb and vegetable gardens, this is a very versatile potting soil that contains earthworm castings, Canadian sphagnum peat moss, compost and forest humus, blended with perlite and/or pumice for aeration. Note that the ingredients vary depending on the region, so check first that it’s intended for your area. It’s competitively priced and is OMRI listed for organic use.
Specially formulated for seedlings and cuttings, this popular potting soil contains ingredients from the forest and the ocean, as its name suggests. These include rich composted forest humus, fish emulsion, bat guano, sphagnum peat moss, Norwegian kelp meals and worm castings, all of which promote healthy root growth, leafy foliage and disease resistance. It is also pH adjusted for optimum fertilizer uptake. Ideal for containers and for indoor or outdoor plants.
Perfect for container and raised bed gardening, this mix is formulated with coconut coir that helps maintain moisture between waterings. It’s enriched with Burpee plant food and releases essential nutrients immediately and continues for up to 3 months. It is OMRI listed for organic use.
For most indoor and outdoor uses, this product is based on coco fiber/coir and is amended with organic ingredients including, but not limited to, bat guano, earth worm castings, fish bone meal, feather meal, green sand, mycorrhizae, glacial rock dust, soybean meal and humic acid. It is also blended with pumice and perlite for excellent drainage and a vigorous root system. This potting soil encourages healthier plants and better yields.
This is a true mix of “living” organisms that have been “cooked” and are designed to be used only when some potting soil has been added. The ingredients (which have a strong smell when the bag is opened but which dissipates when mixed) are numerous and will take your plants from seed to harvest without any feeding on your part. It’s best for indoor and container use.
From the makers of Miracle-Gro, this potting soil triples in size when watered and is made sustainably and organically from 100% renewable sources. It holds up to 33% more water than basic potting soil, allows 90% more air to a plant’s roots and grows bigger plants. It can be used in both containers and in-ground gardens.
If keeping chemicals and pesticides out of your body and the environment is important to you, finding a good organic soil in which to grow your own food is something to take seriously. We’re confident that you’ll find at least one of these recommended soils will meet your organic gardening needs.