I generally avoid using quick fix chemical fertilizers in the garden. I prefer to enrich the soil using compost, manure and other organic materials that feed the soil organisms slowly, thereby giving a slow and steady long term boost to the plants.
Building good soil is probably the single most important thing a gardener can do in my opinion. If you take good care of your soil, it will provide for you! I use fish emulsion fertilizer, liquid seaweed or homemade compost tea if I need a faster acting boost for seedlings and other plants.
But now I have yet another good reason to avoid the popular Scotts Miracle-Gro fertilizers. It seems that from 2005 to 2008 Scotts sold birdseed that was coated with an insecticide that is toxic to fish, birds and other wildlife. Scott recently pleaded guilty to federal charges and agreed to pay $4.5 million in fines. You can read about the settlement at RodaleWellness.com and at the Columbus Dispatch .
I don’t know about the rest of you, but personally I am going to add all Scott’s products to my ever-growing list of products and companies to boycott. I mean, if I can’t trust them to sell bird seed that won’t kill the birds, which of their products can I trust? I’m unlikely to be using many of their products anyway. My idea of lawn care is to make it go away, and plant something else!
Gardener’s Supply Company has some good tips about how to provide conditions favorable for birds in your backyard, including leaving the stems and seeds of your perennial flowers intact for winter time food and cover. Not cleaning up the flowers is something I can whole-heartedly support!
I never use any of these products. Here’s an interesting fact. When we lived on the farm, my son’s business was high-end estate restoration work. One of his clients was one of the Scotts. He came home one day and said “Mom, you wouldn’t believe all the weeds they have in their yard. I guess that stuff must not be safe if they don’t use it!”
And that’s the truth!!
Wow, that would be another good reason to buy something else!
scott’s has been on my long list of companies to boycott. they’re in cahoots with monsanto (monsatan).
Isn’t the fact that their plant fertilizer is blue a pretty good indication that something is wrong.
Jody, you are SO right about that!
Wow. Bird seed sold for that purpose that kills birds. I am at a loss for words.
It boggles the mind, doesn’t it?
It really does boggle the mind…and so did the fact that the National Wildlife Federation was *this* close to partnering up with Scotts….if it hadn’t been for the toxic bird seed suit, they would have! Unbelievable. I’m with you in sticking to building soil and feeding plants NATURALLY, without chemicals.
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We quit using any chemical products on our lawn and garden (and for the most part in our home) about 6 years ago. A perfect lawn and giant tomatoes just isn’t worth the added chemical exposure to my family!
Wow from the comment here it looks like the conspiracy crowd is out in force today. For the record, the blue in miracle grow is a basic coloring so it cannot be mistaken for clean water
I’m not into conspiracy theories myself, so I’m not sure to what you are referring. Chemical fertilizers like Miracle Gro have their place, if you’re looking for a quick fix. There are much better solutions out there for liquid fertilizers though – ones that feed the beneficial soil organisms. As for the blue coloring, it may be necessary for Miracle Gro, but it isn’t necessary for my garden!
What the Scotts company did with their insecticide laced birdseed was unconscionable though, and that was the other main point of my article.
Thanks for your comment. I’m always happy to bring this topic to the forefront as an example of Scotts’ flagrant corporate disregard for the environment, and their cavalier attitude towards their customers.
You can say that again, and again Dave! ’cause you’re absolutely right.
I once purchased a bag of Scott compost which turned out to be not so finely ground up tree bark. This stuff had never been composted. I avoid their products like the plague now!