Showing posts with label compare garden soil. Show all posts
Showing posts with label compare garden soil. Show all posts

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Raised Bed Soil: Comparison of three products

This was the first year I had a raised garden bed, and I will admit, I was a bit overwhelmed reading all the blogs on the perfect combination of soil /  compost / manure, etc., etc.. I was recovering from a medical procedure and just wanted some dirt. I went to the local Lowe's and bought six 2 cubic foot bags of Sta-Green soil. At $6.98 a bag, I was hoping I could find a more economical option. I scoured the internet and finally found two rebates offered on Miracle-Gro products that would suit my needs. First,
Nature's Care 1.5 cubic foot raised bed soil. With a $2 off per bag rebate, these were $5.97 per bag after rebate, normally $7.97. Second, $3 off a 1.5 cubic foot bag of Garden Soil, Vegetable and Herbs. Normally, $7.98 a bag, the discount brought each bag to just $4.98. after rebate. The clincher here is that you also must purchase regular top soil to mix with it. Those are about $2.00 a bag so although you save money by not buying as many bags of soil, you do not save as much in the end.

In case you are confused, here is a breakdown. Sta-Green is about $3.49 a cubic foot. After rebate, Nature's Care comes to $3.98 a cubic foot and Garden Soil, Vegetable and Herbs, $3.32 a cubic foot.

5/3/2016 Sta-Green

Now, to the real test. How do they measure up, when it counts?

The Sta-Green was very light. The soil was light brown and had some pieces of plastic and inorganic objects in it. When I watered the bed, the water would float to the top and it would take several minutes for it to sink in. I was concerned about what this would mean for my vegetables, but after dumping six bags into the bed, I decided to put it to the test.

5/3/2016 Nature's Care

Nature's Care soil is  rich black, and looks like dirt. I was impressed by the texture and thickness of it after the Sta-Green.

The Garden Soil, Vegetable and Herb, is very dense but it is meant to be mixed with bags of topsoil or your native garden soil. I was nervous about this product because I was unsure if I got the mix ratio right.

The end results are pretty clear.
6/9/2016 Left to Right: Garden Soil, Vegetable and Herb; Sta-Green; Nature's Care

6/9/2016 Left to Right: Garden Soil, Vegetable and Herb; Sta-Green; Nature's Care

With the rebate, Nature's Care is worth the extra $.66 a cubic foot as it creates a healthier vegetable and can be dumped right into the bed without mixing. Second, Garden Soil, Vegetable and Herb created a strong early harvest and is the best option if you are creating an in-ground bed. I would not buy Sta-Green again, for any reason. I purchased mail-order plants from Burpee online, and feel I wasted my money due to this soil. Next year, I will empty this bed and replace the soil with Nature's Care.

                                                          Nature's Care Bed 8/13/2016

                                              Garden Soil, Vegetable and Herb 8/13/2016

 Sta-Green Bed 8/13/2016

There are several options for raised beds on Amazon. I modified the Greene's Fence bed below and will post about the modifications to make it an above-ground bed on a future blog. The PVC pipes also a modification to hold bird netting or plastic during the cold months to winterize the beds.