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Lawn & Garden

What Are Organic Soils

What is an organic soil?  

The term organic refers to “earth friendly.  In an organic soil, there are no chemical additives like fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides or herbicides.  Rather than using a chemical fertilizer in their soil, a company that has an Organic Soil will have amended the soil from organic sources.   


An organic soil may contain mycelium, which is the thread like body of a fungus.  To keep it simple, the mycelia in an organic soil, helps that soil retain moisture and nutrients.   An organic soil can be mixed in a variety of ways for specific uses and with varying levels of pH and nutrients.  A good organic is soil is very dark, moist and fragrant.

What does the OMRI Certification mean? 

 The initials OMRI stand for the Organic Materials Review Institute.  Out here on the West Coast, we have three soils that carry this labelECO ScrapsKellogg Soils and recently Natures Care Organic Potting Mix, are the only three soils in our garden department that have this certification and are only available on the West Coast.  Miracle-Gro, a national brand, has now produced a product called “Natures Care” which now also carries the OMRI label on their Natures Care Organic & Natural Vegetable, Fruit & Flower Food and Natures Care Organic POtting Mix.  Although there is nonly one soil at this time, it is available on a natoinal level and it is a step in the right direction.


Can all organic soils have a certification from OMRI?


Not all soils are OMRI Certified.  As long as the ingredients in the soil comply with the products listed in the OMRI list, then an application for this certification may be made.  To obtain an OMRI Certification, an application must be made with a list of all the ingredients and materials in the product.  This list is then reviewed by the OMRI office.  There are many restrictions and each ingredient must pass the certification requirements of the OMRI board.  The OMRI Generic Materials List© is an authoritative catalog of over 900 materials and their statuses in organic production, processing, and handling under the USDA National Organic Program. 



Why is an OMRI certification important to the home gardener? 

The companies that carry this certification must be reviewed for continuing compliance every 3-5 years and need to annually submit a renewal fee for their OMRI Certification to ensure that the OMRI Listed products continue to meet OMRI’s standards.  The renewal fee also allows OMRI to maintain an accurate product listing. 


In the United States "The Organic Material Review Institute (OMRI)", is a non-profit organization created to ensure and benefit the organic community and the general public. OMRI certification is worldwide recognized as a high standard for Organic manufacturers, distributors and, of course, for the end consumer.

 A New Organic Soil for The Home Depot 

A new addition to our quality soils and fertilizers has come from Dr. Earth.  This is a great addition to our current organic soil products.  The Dr. Earth Products may also be available “Online” from the Dr. Earth website but it is currently only available in our West Coast Stores as a walk in purchase. When the consumer goes out to buy and “Organic Soil”, be aware that not all products labeled as an “Organic Soil” are the same.

Miracle-Gro has also entered the market with their organic version called “Natures Care”. This is a national brand and should be available from coast to coast. 

The reason that an organic soil is important to gardeners is that this type of soil is more Earth Friendly.  We live in such a chemically enhance environment where nearly everything that we touch or consume has been chemically treated with something.  Yes we are living longer, but at what price?  More and more allergies are surfacing as well as more and more dangerous reactions to our bodies, especially in our children.  We are consuming so many preservatives that we are even staying around longer after we die! 

The Dr. Earth, Kellogg, Eco Scrapes and Natures products are quality based and will provide an exceptional soil for growing your garden plants as well as your ornamentals.  My moto has always been, “Quality in, Quality care and Quality will be your result”. 


An organic soil is not only environmentally friendly, but it also is less likely to produce any harmful runoff that can pollute our waterways as a regularly packaged soil would be.  Using an organic soil will promote a slower, healthier growth of your plants as well as a greater source of vitamins, minerals and amino acids.


Keeping your soil organic has also been proven to produce more phytonutrients that help your plants protect themselves against pests and diseases.  These same phytonutrients are being studied in medicine as a useful treatment in the fight against cancer.


When looking at a price comparison, organic soils may appear to be higher priced then some name brand soils, but I have found that the Kellogg & EcoScraps and Natures Care soils for example are priced very competitively with our national brand soils and in many cases, the Kellogg & EcoScraps soils are less expensive as well. Check your local store to see what local organic brands are available in your local Home Depot Garden Department.


Ultimately, you, the consumer will make your own choice.  The next time you walk into your local Home Depot Garden Center, be sure to ask lots of questions about the soils you are purchasing and make sure that you are getting the best buy for your money.


Remember that “Cheap”, does not necessarily mean that you are getting a better buy for you dollar and just having a label that says “Organic Garden Soil” may not be all organic.  Ask questions and read any available material.  Be an informed consumer.




Contributory information from:

The WiseGEEK

Luis Bartello at Progressive Growth

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Posted 2015-06-26T17:45:25+0000  by Rick_HD_OC Rick_HD_OC