• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
  • Nicole Alderman
stewards:
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • paul wheaton
  • Mike Haasl
master gardeners:
  • jordan barton
  • John F Dean
  • Carla Burke
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Jay Angler
  • Leigh Tate
  • thomas rubino

Store bought

 
gardener
Posts: 534
Location: N. California
190
hugelkultur kids cat dog fungi trees books chicken cooking medical herbs ungarbage
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I read in one of the threads that a lot of store bought soils are basically dead because they have been heated to kill the bad stuff, but everything else dies also.  This has me wondering if I have been waisting my money the last few years.  I have raised beds for my garden, and I have been buying organic soil, organic compost, and organic chicken manure.  
I have changed a lot since discovering permies, but my compost isn't ready, and I always refresh my garden before I plant a new crop.  It is time to get started on my fall/winter garden, but I am wondering if the products I buy are worth using.
Is store bought compost still compost, or is it dead so to speak too?  There are a few places I could dig up some native soil, should I add that too?
What about worms?  My raised beds have weed cloth on the bottom.  When I garden in other places in my yard and come across a worm I toss it in one of the beds.  I have read this doesn't work, but since I find worms in my beds, I guess no one told the worms.
Mostly I'm just wanted to know thoughts on using bagged soil type products until I have my own. Thanks
 
steward
Posts: 4184
Location: West Tennessee
1685
cattle cat purity fungi trees books chicken food preservation cooking building homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think some, but maybe not all bagged potting soils are steam sterilized. Some have bacterial colony forming units & mycorrhizal spores added back to it before packaging to help soil life spring forth when it's used and watered (with non chlorinated water).

I believe store bought compost is indeed still compost, but, there is almost no way of knowing what was used to make that compost. There sometimes, but not always, can be problems, which have been reported of companies and municipalities using conventionally grown produces and farm wastes, which can contain persistent herbicides that don't break down in the composting process like chemicals such as aminopyralids. If you've been buying organic soils and composts, then that pretty much assures the consumer that what's in the bag is free of poisons.

I don't think anything you've bought or done has been in vain. Bacteria and fungal spores are just about everywhere all the time, in the air and on the surface of everything, and especially abundant during the non freezing months. Those earthworms you've been relocating have oodles of awesome bacteria in their gut and some of them leave the worm every time it poops in and on your soil, going on to live in the soil. Bugs that fly and crawl their way onto and into your garden and soil are covered in bacteria and spores, and when they die they become food for microbes. This is just a couple examples, and nature is so incredibly dynamic in proliferating and seeding life everywhere.

I have used bagged products, and will again if I need to, but I am slowly working my way to not needing them. I just started a small farm, and I hope that within ten years to have fully functional and independent biodynamic farm, which really means I will be 100% using on farm fertility, and I will not be buying any fertility. It's a stretch for me, but I think it's doable.
 
pollinator
Posts: 286
Location: Ozarks
68
homeschooling goat dog tiny house chicken cooking building solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm near St Louis so one day I typed into a search engine,

St Louis Compost


Lo and behold, there's a company called St Louis Compost that even has certified organic compost. Looking at googley maps, I saw that they had big piles and their website gives prices by the bag or cubic yard. If you have a truck or access to one, you might try searching by replacing St Louis with your nearest decent sized city or check the phone book etc. I would imaging bulk from a pile would have some life. Not sure about store bought but just bringing in the goodies that the little munchers like will increase the life of your soil and add tilth and nutrients. Square Foot Gardening recommends store bought but from at least 5 different sources/companies so that you get a good variety of stuff. I've got a truck so I'm just going to get it from St Louis one time and after that, start making my own. Next year, I'll have enough animals and garden waste to add to our kitchen waste, to do so. We don't have much kitchen waste.
 
gardener
Posts: 6686
Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
1340
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jen Fulkerson wrote:I read in one of the threads that a lot of store bought soils are basically dead because they have been heated to kill the bad stuff, but everything else dies also.  This has me wondering if I have been waisting my money the last few years.  I have raised beds for my garden, and I have been buying organic soil, organic compost, and organic chicken manure.  
I have changed a lot since discovering permies, but my compost isn't ready, and I always refresh my garden before I plant a new crop.  It is time to get started on my fall/winter garden, but I am wondering if the products I buy are worth using.
Is store bought compost still compost, or is it dead so to speak too?  There are a few places I could dig up some native soil, should I add that too?
What about worms?  My raised beds have weed cloth on the bottom.  When I garden in other places in my yard and come across a worm I toss it in one of the beds.  I have read this doesn't work, but since I find worms in my beds, I guess no one told the worms.
Mostly I'm just wanted to know thoughts on using bagged soil type products until I have my own. Thanks



Most all compost, garden soil, potting soil has been sterilized (laws require it for bagged products) but this isn't the end of the world, since we can make additions at the time we use it.
I have several beds that were built up to the right level with bagged "potting soil", they work fine for us. But, I did make fungal and bacterial additions at the time I poured in the commercial "soil".
If you do any fermenting of foods, you can use small amounts (so you aren't cheating your tummy) of those to amend your purchased compost/ garden soil/ potting soil.
If you find a slimy mushroom in a purchased container, just toss it whole (or you can cut it up) into the bed you want to add fungi to.
You can take stale bread pieces, mist them so the surface is moist and leave them out, the bread will act as a food source for all the microbes that will land on it (particularly if you set these pieces outside for a while and the birds don't steal them).
Another good source of microbes to add to these soils is in fruits that are going bad.

Redhawk
 
Whoever got anywhere by being normal? Just ask this exceptional tiny ad:
Permaculture Community Garden fundraising effort - You can Win Stuff!!!
https://permies.com/t/152211/Permaculture-Community-Garden-fundraising-effort
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic