Is Miracle Grow Safe?

bob_in_coloradoApril 29, 2012

Hi All!

I've never used anything store bought to fertilize veges. I've also never used miracle grow on anything.

Is it really all that like people say? Is it safe to use on veges?

Everybody's opinions are sought.

Happy Sunday!

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Bob by safe exactly what do you mean? Safe to the plants or safe to eat the produce? I will give my opinions. But remember this in mine only. In my opinion if used as directed by the instructions it is safe in to the plants and also the fruit of the veggies is safe to eat. I have used Miracle Gro in the past and it works well. I personally usually use an organic foliar and plant feed. There are two I prefer. I also use a Fertilome bloom/rooting product because the P number is higher. Another I've used is Jack's Classic. Any of these products are good if used properly. If you apply too much or mix the water too strong it will hurt/kill the plants. In my haste I have before. So in short it is safe. The products I use the most anymore are a Fox Farm liquid feed, Bonnnie's liquid feed and the Fertilome product I mentioned above. It boils down to personal preference. The reason I like a high middle number(P) early on is it encourages good root growth and helps control excessive vegetation growth. I prefer a stout plant rather than a huge lush plant with a smaller root system. When you put the latter out in our severe weather conditions many times the plants don't have the root system to support the requirements of the lush above ground growth. So regardless of the product you choose the formulation you use is the critical decision in my opinion. And most products offer several different formulations. Jay

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 10:14AM
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david52 Zone 6

I use it in the greenhouse to fertilize seedlings, and if I grow things like basil, cilantro, lettuce etc. indoors. I don't use it as a foliar spray, the way its intended, just dissolve some in a watering can.

When I was first starting here, and the soil was just awful, I did try spraying it as a foliar spray it in the vegetable garden. I sure wouldn't recommend it. It does stimulate tender, green leafy growth, but thats what you get - lots of tender green leafy growth, and along comes every bug in the county.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 10:15AM
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My goal has always been to use only compost, manures, and worms.

This year I brought in topsoil with compost at a 70-30 mix and raised the soil levels, added perlite and vermiculite, and brought in cow manure mixed with sheep and chicken. (Aged of course)

I'm still learning. I plan top and side dressing this year of manures and composts.

Do I need to worry about additional fertilizers?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 10:47AM
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treebarb Z5 Denver


You've gotten good recommendations. If you're worried, try starting at a diluted half strength. Pick a few to fertilize and see if you notice a difference.

A word of caution about using sheep manure. In my experience, it is full of weed seeds, so be prepared for that.

I like to add manures in the fall, so I'm sure they break down over the winter. Maybe choose a few test plants for the manure dressing, so you don't fry your entire garden if it's too hot.

Happy gardening and let us know how it goes!


    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 11:14AM
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Bob in my opinion you are probably ok. I usually let the plants tell me what they need. In the past there have been many years I haven't added anything to the holes where I plant peppers and tomatoes. Then the last 3-4 I added mainly some organic elements and some mychorrizae. This year I'm adding nothing again. I will let the plants tell me but probably in mid to late June will work one of the Fox Farm fertilizers in around the base. I did add a lot of shredded leaves to that area and also the area my garlic is in. Even though I only worked the shredded leaves in about 5 weeks ago the area is teeming with earth worms now. I have top dressed my onions with corn gluten(also helps with weed control), blood meal, bone meal and an organic mix higher in N and also sprayed the soil with an Fox Farm organic product. I have also used cottonseed meal, alfalfa meal and soybean meal in the past. The Fox Farm products have most of these products in them along with bat guano and worm casings. It depends a little on what product you choose to use. I don't have to buy several fifty pound bags and them mix them. I don't use alfalfa meal anymore as I use loose alfalfa from around my hay stacks as mulch and also let a lot of it compost and then add it. Chicken manure and cattle manure from a feedlot can be too hot unless composted well. If composted I wouldn't expect any problems. I usually put chicken manure where I'll be planting sweet corn. It loves the extra N. Like Barb said it is always better to start at half strength than to be sorry later. Like David I mainly use the blue water products for seedlings, indoor and container plants. I will usually use a sprinkler can and pour a little molasses water with some of the Fox Farm liquid feed around transplants. I have a large old 2 1/2 gallon sprinkler can that works better than anything they make today. The molasses helps get things working in the soil. As you can tell I use several different products and methods. The main reason is different plants have different needs. And even the same plant will have different needs depending on growth stage. On onions at transplanting I use something high in P and then after 2-3 weeks go with something with a higher N number also. The P encourages root growth. The N is needed for leaf growth. As the number of leaves determines the number of rings and size of your onion. But on tomatoes I will hardly ever use anything real high in N unless a plant gets really stunted. Jay

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 12:48PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Hi Bob,

I'm gonna do the same thing here that I did on another of your threads---link to a past thread where I did a dissertation on "my thoughts" on fertilizers, and my opinion of Miracle Grow--which pretty much anybody who's been around here for a few years already knows.

This won't make sense till after you read my 05.01.09 post on the linked thread---but......

Sometime after I posted that I decided to compare the Peter's soluble that I bought AFTER MG had bought the product (but before I KNEW they had bought it), to Jack's Classic which is the same stuff that Peter's USED to be before MG bought it. Same analysis, and presumably the same stuff! Put water in two containers and added a teaspoon of each to one of the containers. Waited! The Jack's Classic dissolved almost immediately--the Miracle Grow version of Peter's, not so fast! After letting them sit for "a while" (I think it was at least ten minutes), the MG version of Peter's still had undissolved "particles" in the bottom of the container---the Jack's Classic dissolved completely! Since I don't have any way to test the actual analysis of anything, that's about all the testing I could do, but if you're using a "soluble" fertilizer--and it isn't "soluble-izing"--uh--something's wrong!

This is strictly personal opinion, but I don't use MG anything! I tried--really, really hard--one time to find out what was "in" their "soil mixes" and I couldn't find ANY information--anywhere! Online OR on any of the packages! Don't know if that's changed or not, but I doubt it! If a company won't tell me what it is that I'm buying---I don't buy it! From everything I could find back whenever it was that I tried researching their products, everybody seemed to be getting something different! My--ongoing--impression is that they put whatever in their bags that they happen to have at the moment--which would explain why they don't (can't) list the ingredients on the bags. I find it unlikely that they'd do anything differently with their fertilizers. I'm sure other folks around here have used or currently use their products and are quite satisfied with them. I tend to go with: If it works, don't knock it! BUT, with an inconsistent product, you never know what you'll get the "next" time you buy it! And, also IMO, their stuff is WAY overpriced! For potting soils you can get a good--and consistent--mix for considerably less, and for fertilizer, while Jack's Classic is pretty expensive, I doubt that it's much--if any--more than MG.

I was just over to Timberline last week and found out that Kelly uses Jack's in his injector. Paulino's used to use Peter's in their injector, and I feel pretty certain they now use Jacks, and my brother, in Illinois uses Jack's in his greenhouses now too. I, personally, have never heard of a commercial operation that used MG products (soils OR fertilizers) in their plant production. Seems to me that says something.

I VERY rarely feed anything in the ground outside, as long as things are looking ok I go with the--cheaper--hands off approach, but when I do I use Jack's Classic "all purpose" (which is 20-20-20) the same as I do for my inside stuff or anything I have outside in pots. It's always worked well for me so I'll keep on keepin' on! I vary the strength, depending on what I'm using it for, but it's been a LONG time since I've used anything else. When I was just at Timberline I ordered a 20 lb. bag of it---which will, hopefully, last me the rest of my life!!!

The link I put in the below post didn't work for me anymore, so if you want to check out what it is I'm talking about, here's some info about Jack's Classic fertilizers. Their history page used to tell all about "selling" their "original" Peter's to MG and how they started producing it again as Jack's when MG "messed" with it, but they leave all that part of the story out now. To the best of my knowledge there is no longer ANY fertilizer available under the name Peter's!

All just my opinion! Nice to know we can agree to disagree here on RMG without anybody getting in a snit about it! :-)


Here is a link that might be useful: See 05.01.09 post!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 8:08PM
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I think I'm going to stick with my organics.

Elkwc, I also use corn gluten. Natural premergient and a natural N fertilizer as well.

I'm going to add natural matter every year, keep the worms happy.

The perlite and vermiculite will add the oxygen I'm hoping, plus ll the top soil and everything I've added, I need to let things settle in for a season or 2.

Any one have input on red wigglers or European black worms? I was thinking a mix.

Thanks everyone once again!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 10:32PM
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Here is my two cents. Miracle Grow has been around since 1868. My family has been using it for all of it's 144 years. No one in the family has ever grown a third eye, extra limb, or died young. All we have done is eat fresh, lush veggies, and cut nice flowers for bouquets, and that is probably the reason for our longevity.

I do not work for Scott's, but I worked for years in automotive manufacturing. I know that large companies, such as Scott's, makers of Miracle Grow, spends literally millions on research and development every year, employ hundreds of PhDs and microbiologists, just to ensure that their product is both safe and beneficial, otherwise they would go out of business. If there were something 'sinister' about Miracle Grow in the past 100 years plus, trust me, we would have known about it by now!

Don't be afraid of Miracle Grow! I have used it for decades and, like I said, both myself and offspring are healthy and not mutants!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 2:38AM
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What about that 3rd hand you typed that with? LOL j/k

I also don't think there's anything sinister or Machiavellian in Miracle Grow.

I simply want to be sure I'm not putting any chemicals on my plants. :-)

My wife and I have a new baby and I'm thinking down the road of making junior's food.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 9:30AM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

I didn't realize you were asking about "organic." I don't know which MG products are considered to be "organic" and which aren't, but I don't consider MG fertilizer to be "dangerous" either. Just believe there are better alternatives.

If you're looking to stay as organic as possible, this ATTRA page has some really good "organic production" information.

But if you're trying to keep things organic--and as safe as possible, and especially with a new baby, do you know that there have been significant problems "in the past" with asbestos in vermiculite? Supposedly it is now regulated and said to be safe, but there are some ongoing concerns, and since it's mined all over the world, "regulation" can be problematic. I don't use vermiculite for a couple different reasons, and even the very remote possibility that it could contain asbestos is one of them. My (favorite) uncle died of mesothelioma--a very slow and painful death. He was in construction (electrician) in the 50's, 60's and 70', a time when asbestos was still freely used--and vermiculite was the primary insulation used in most buildings. I remember when my father filled our attic with vermiculite, insulating our house for the first time. We kids thought it was "fun" to go up there and "play" with it, and see how it "squished" to a flat, shiny "piece" when we squeezed it between our fingers. I have no idea if "that" vermiculite had asbestos in it or not, but the stuff was very dusty, and it now creeps me out to think about it. As I understand it the only, or at least main, way to be damaged by asbestos is by breathing it, and once it's mixed into soil and is moist it shouldn't be any problem, but, if you're interested, here are a couple of the many articles online about it. The bottom line for most of them seems to be that even with regulation it's better to not use vermiculite that is "dusty" when you open the package. Maybe you already knew about this, just wanted to be sure.

And, with a baby in the picture, do you know that talc is also closely related to asbestos, and can also contain asbestos depending on where and how it's mined. Lots of info online about this too, but here's some very basic info from the Mesothelioma Alliance. Not trying to scare you--or anybody, but I use talc myself, and I just found out about this possible problem a couple years ago--and now when I "dust" myself with it I hold my breath and then "remove" myself from the room/area before I inhale again. Maybe not the best solution, but I don't like corn starch, and I figure it's better than doing nothing!


P.S. The ATTRA site linked above also has some info about possible asbestos in vermiculite, and, something I hadn't yet heard about, the conceivable connection between blood meal and bone meal to mad cow disease.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 2:52PM
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Thanks oh great bird of the sky!

I don't use talc but believe me everything that comes into our home is closely checked

It ambitious, but I'd one day like to make all the babies food. One major obstacle is I don't know how to can or jar. I'd love to jar, but I don't know how. Before you say, oh that's easy, I'm not interested in getting book or reading.

Maybe we should orchestrate an end if the year hands on how to jar your veggies thing. :-)

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 10:07PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

LOL! Can't help you with either one of those things, Bob! Don't have a clue how to make baby food, and haven't done any canning since I was the "involuntary labor" packing the jars back when my mother canned stuff! I stick to freezing or drying these days--it's easier!


    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 10:36PM
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