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What Is The Difference Between Certified Organic Soil And Organic Soil?

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Many soils may have a label that states they are Organic, but what is the difference between labeled organic soils and those that have been “Certified Organic” soils.  If you were to look up Organic Soils, you will find a definition you will find a number of different definitions depending on where you look. 


According to one definition by a source from, an organic soil is a gardening soil that contains only ingredients that have been certified as organic.   In the United States, this type of certification only comes from the OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute).  This certification must be renewed each year and the certification must be reviewed every 5 years to ensure continued compliance with OMRI standards.


A product that is not OMRI listed does not mean it cannot be used by organic growers. Some companies cannot justify the cost of being OMRI listed.


An organic soil can be defined as being a healthy soil that is rich in nutrients and life. Life being those valuable little microbes in the soil.  A good organic soil is an essential building block for a healthy garden.  Soil is a complex ecosystem all in its own.  It is composed of live and inactive materials that are necessary, not only for your plants survival but for your plants to thrive and grow strong and healthy.


A healthy soil will promote healthy populations of nature’s natural composters, Earth Worms.  All creatures can add to the health of your garden, even the feathers and droppings from pesky pigeons and sparrows!!


There seem to be a number of soils that have a label stating they are “organic”.  As with all labels, it may take some investigating to find out more about this claim.  The term “organic” means that the soil is made from naturally composted materials such as plant and animal matter instead of soil that has been treated with chemical fertilizers.


Sometimes organic material such as bark is added to this organic mix to aerate the soil and to make it looser.  There is a company called EcoScraps that makes a variety of different soils out of composted fruits and vegetables and uses bark as a binder to make the soil easier to handle.



EcoScraps has been certified by the OMRI and carries this label on all their soils that qualify for this classification.



EcoScraps Moisture Retaining Garden Soil Mix


Miracle-Gro has recently come out with a product called “natures care Organic Garden Soil” and they have qualified for the OMRI certification as well.  Miracle-Gro is a national brand and is available at all Home Depot Garden Departments. 



 Miracle-Gro Nature's Care 8 lb. Tropical and Palm Plant Food


Dr. Earth is a good example of a quality soil that states it is organic but it does not carry the label from the OMRI.  The reasoning is that, Dr. Earth feels that the OMRI feels that the OMRI label is important for the commercial application of soils but it is not so important for everyday use for soil products that are sold in local retail stores.



    DR. EARTH 1.5 cu. ft. Pot of Gold All Purpose Potting Soil                                                     


Kellogg Garden Soils carries the OMRI label on all of its soils.  Currently this quality product is only available in the western part of the US.  When a soil has he label stating that it is an ”organic soil”, the inference is that it can be considered to be a quality soil.  It is left up to the consumer to do his or her research to find out what type of soil they are actually buying. 





As with any labeling, the consumer should not take the label at face value whether it is foods, soils or even fertilizers.  Liberties have been taken with the name “organic”. 


Please let us know you’re your experience with organic soils on and share it with us.  


We want to know what you think.



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Posted 2016-02-24T00:17:56+0000  by Rick_HD_OC Rick_HD_OC
This is a great article that is very informative. Take a look at this article titled "Amending Different Soil Types" to understand how and why we amend soils.
Posted 2016-03-31T17:49:57+0000  by Ingar_HD_ATL
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