Warning! Do NOT buy miracle grow organic moisture control potting soil!!

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Chasdev

Master of the Pit
Original poster
Jan 18, 2020
1,064
891
It's probably too late but here goes.
The wife and I bought 6 large bags of the above at Costco, seemed like a great way to start out this year.
The saga began in early April, but after planting tomatoes, thyme, and several different hot pepper plants along withb a bunch of oramentals, but in a few days we had a swarm of tiny flies around the new starters.
They looked just like house flies but were tiny.
I googled and found out they are/were fungus gnats, and their eggs are resident is organic soils.
The eggs hatch and then the larve feasts on new growth root systemss, after which the flies emerge and swarm only to lay more eggs in the soil and so on.
An internet search of reviews shows that the problem has been going on for three years.
Miracle grow knows all about it!
We tried to kill them off first with neem oil, then with nematodes, then with hydrogen peroxide and finally diamtomaceous earth.
Nothing worked so we uprooted all the plants and sent them along with all the dirt and coconut baskets that 16 of the newly planted ornamentals were in to the Austin landfill.
Total monetary loss was over $300 so I called customer service and demanded a refund.
like they say, good luck with that.
 
It's probably too late but here goes.
The wife and I bought 6 large bags of the above at Costco, seemed like a great way to start out this year.
The saga began in early April, but after planting tomatoes, thyme, and several different hot pepper plants along withb a bunch of oramentals, but in a few days we had a swarm of tiny flies around the new starters.
They looked just like house flies but were tiny.
I googled and found out they are/were fungus gnats, and their eggs are resident is organic soils.
The eggs hatch and then the larve feasts on new growth root systemss, after which the flies emerge and swarm only to lay more eggs in the soil and so on.
An internet search of reviews shows that the problem has been going on for three years.
Miracle grow knows all about it!
We tried to kill them off first with neem oil, then with nematodes, then with hydrogen peroxide and finally diamtomaceous earth.
Nothing worked so we uprooted all the plants and sent them along with all the dirt and coconut baskets that 16 of the newly planted ornamentals were in to the Austin landfill.
Total monetary loss was over $300 so I called customer service and demanded a refund.
like they say, good luck with that.
thanks for posting. I've been highly unsucessful with the last couple tries with "pot basil."
It's bad enough I have to build a chicken wire cage to keep the iguanas out. My last attempt was with Miracle grow and Florida sand/dirt mixed. I've gotten to where I just buy bunches of basil for my annual pizza sauce adventure.
 
That is good info... Where are you located? Might not have the same results in different parts of the country...
I'm in Austin Tx, the negative reviews were on Costco's web page.
One would think they buy many thousands of bags from Miracle Gro and distribute all over the states?
 
Is this outdoor or indoor ?

I use Miricle Grow when I pot up my plants. While they were indoor we had no problem. But this year on our patio, we've been pestered with gnats. We've never had the problem before.
 
Head to lowes/home depot and buy BTI mosquito dunks (it's safe for people/pets/organic uses). It's a natural fungus gnat larvae (plus mosquito) killer.

We've been using this to kill FG larvae in soil for 15+yrs in the cannabis field. 100% safe non-tixic.
 
According to Miracle gro the hot set up is to put an inch of beach/sandbox sand over the top of the soil and all around the stem.
It prevents the fly from laying eggs that survive to turn into larve.
I wish I knew that trick at the front end of the ordeal, but sadly all the root systems had been chewed down to near nothing and I did not fancy trying to revive almost dead plants.
 
According to Miracle gro the hot set up is to put an inch of beach/sandbox sand over the top of the soil and all around the stem.
It prevents the fly from laying eggs that survive to turn into larve.
I wish I knew that trick at the front end of the ordeal, but sadly all the root systems had been chewed down to near nothing and I did not fancy trying to revive almost dead plants.

So tell me more about what you're doing , are you planting tomato and pepper in containers with potting soil ?

I potted up my tomatoes with Miricle Grow blue bag, that is the moisture control. But when I plant , the root ball with the potting soil gets buried 6 to 12" .

I've had two plants die mysteriously. And I got three more that on the ropes. I just dug the root ball up one of the dead plants and did not see any gnats.
 
I've never been a fan of synthetic fertilizers. They are designed to kill off most of the soil biome (it's like taking broad-spectrum antibiotics for every little stomach ache), which helps make your plants *dependent* on continued applications - good for the manufacturer's bottom line, bad for your wallet and plant resilience. Also, apply slightly too much and even your plants will suffer; apply too little, and the harmful stuff (including pests) actually have an *easier* time taking over, since there will be less competition from the benign life that is normally dominant in healthy soil.
 
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Sorry to hear of your ordeal. I never liked to use the moisture control stuff. A pot is supposed to go through varied levels of moisture in my opinion. It needs to dry somewhat, then be re-watered...in my opinion. I dont trust gel regulating that for me.

That said, I razed my garden and dont pot anything anymore. I got tired of dealing with the disease, insects, deer and the final straw was when after probably 15 years of growing, the squirrels decided they love tomatoes. The B@$!*&#'s dont just eat them, they wait until your best tomatoes are just blushing and you are licking your chops, then pull the tomato off, eat maybe 20% of it and leave the rest there to really irk you. The last year I grew, I literally built a chicken wire cage around the plants. That worked for the squirrels but was a pain, and the ever present fungal bottom-up disease never stopped, even with ground cover to reduce splash-back and anti-fungal spray. We are in the forest with a porthole of sky...not the best growing conditions.

I just turned the garden back in to lawn...done with it. I can buy fresh stuff in season and I probbaly put as much time and energy and money in to growing as paying for the vegetables! The wife keeps a pot of basil every year so we can have caprese salads and we have recurring chives I seldom use because I simply forget about them! We have thyme and rosemary too, I just dont use either very much in general anymore. Getting lazy I guess.
 
I don't like miracle grow moisture control simply because of how the moisture control works. If you leave it for too long before watering, it near turns into cement.

In terms of the FG, most people simply nuke the soil for a bit to kill the eggs. Those little buggers are present in more than just miracle grow soil.
 
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I had the same problem growing peppers indoors with a different brand of organic soil. I tried the usual things to get rid of them but what did it was Victor hold fast glue boards. I taped a couple of them on the wall and changed them once a week. After about a month they were wiped out. They are $.62 ea so it didn't cost much.

This is the first two after being up two days. The gnats are really attracted to them.

2024_growing_peppers_001.jpg
 
I don't like miracle grow moisture control simply because of how the moisture control works. If you leave it for too long before watering, it near turns into cement.

In terms of the FG, most people simply nuke the soil for a bit to kill the eggs. Those little buggers are present in more than just miracle grow soil.

I normally use the Miricle Grow in the yellow bag. I don't like the texture of the moisture control when I'm using it to pot up to 4" and 6 " pots.

I can't imagine that this is the source of my gnat problem outdoors on the patio, however.
 
So tell me more about what you're doing , are you planting tomato and pepper in containers with potting soil ?

I potted up my tomatoes with Miricle Grow blue bag, that is the moisture control. But when I plant , the root ball with the potting soil gets buried 6 to 12" .

I've had two plants die mysteriously. And I got three more that on the ropes. I just dug the root ball up one of the dead plants and did not see any gnats.
Yes, several varities of hot peppers and four different types of tomato, all in pots along with 16 ornamentals in coconut fiber baskets.
The gnats swarmed a few days after we planted the starters and watered them.
The first watering activates the eggs which change to larve pretty darn fast and then to gnats, also darn fast.
If you had fungus gnats, you would know it, they form a swarm and hover around in the area where they hatched.
The larve do consume new root systems which of course starter plants have nothing but.
 
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I had the same problem growing peppers indoors with a different brand of organic soil. I tried the usual things to get rid of them but what did it was Victor hold fast glue boards. I taped a couple of them on the wall and changed them once a week. After about a month they were wiped out. They are $.62 ea so it didn't cost much.

This is the first two after being up two days. The gnats are really attracted to them.

View attachment 697418

I also killed thousands of them with sticky boards but their larve ate all or most of the roots off my tomatoes.
 
Update, Miracle grow has agreed to send me $75 to cover my inconvience.
Not that the $300 I lost was their problem, and I have to agree to hold them harmless in order to get the funds sent, but hey I thought they were going to tell me to take a hike from the get go.
 
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