What You May Find in a Bag of ‘Organic Choice’ Garden Soil From Miracle-Gro

Prepare yourself for a nightmare, organic users.

By Anne Marie Blankenship

As a young adult in and out of college with big plans and a small budget, I thought I’d be able to cut a financial corner or two. Big Lots had bags upon bags of ‘Organic Choice’ Miracle-Gro. ‘Organic Choice’… Hah! I realize Miracle-Gro is the last place to go looking for organic soil, but where does false advertising come into play? This is either false advertising or bits and pieces of modern technology does indeed occur naturally in the soil of our world in 2016.

Apparently it’s the latter. In one of my bags of ‘Organic Choice’ Miracle-Gro topsoil, I found the remains of an Android phone charger. I realize we live in a world of ‘tech’, but I don’t think this organic yet.

Maybe in a thousand years when people turn over their soil in springtime, this could happen. I can picture myself stomping a shovel into the earth and feeling the rusted metal crunch as the shovel sinks into the dirt. Maybe Android phone charging ports will be part of the soil of our future. (I’m still able to plug the charging port into my old Galaxy S II!)

When you grab a fresh scoop of ‘Organic Choice’ Miracle-Gro.(Actual charging piece, and STAGED piece of trash)

The “organically occurring” TRASH doesn’t stop there, either. I found a couple of broken up foil wrapping pieces and a “Laffy Taffy” wrapper in the assorted 8 bags of soil.

Here is a list of the ingredients on the back of my 2 cubic feet bag of ‘Organic Choice Garden Soil’ from Miracle-Gro (it doesn’t exactly match what I found):

Image credit

So, this stuff sounds great. Ten out of ten, would recommend these ingredients. IF THESE WERE THE INGREDIENTS.

The front of the bag advertises:

“Grows Plants Up to Twice as Big as Topsoil… Naturally!”

“Okay Google, define organic.” Merriam-Webster defines Organic as the following:

of food : grown or made without the use of artificial chemicals
: not using artificial chemicals
: of, relating to, or obtained from living things

“Okay Google, define naturally.” Then, Merriam-Webster defined naturally as:

— used to describe something that happens or exists by itself without being controlled or changed by someone
— used to say that something is expected or normal
: because of a quality or skill that a person or animal is born with

Thanks, Merriam. If Miracle-Gro “Organic Choice” Gardening Soil is “a mix of all natural organic ingredients” then why did I find part of a phone charger in my gardening soil?! That, folks, is not organic.

Not to waste my small amount of cash flow, I still filled both 9 square foot garden beds with the battery infused soil. Maybe this is where the “Grows Plants Twice as Big as Topsoil!” comes into play. Although, I still can’t pinpoint where the “…naturally” part could be coming from.

After having a nightmarish experience with Miracle-Gro’s Organic Choice, I headed up the road to Mustard Seed Market. Hoping to not make the same mistake twice, I picked up two bags of a gardening soil called “Organic Mechanics” for my vertical pallet garden.

‘Organic Mechanics’ ingredients:

“This product contains forest products, coconut husk fiber, and pure worm castings. Also contains the active ingredient compost(35%).”

I broke up all of the soil, and I did not find a single wrapper, foil piece, or charging port while picking through it. Miracle-Gro’s trash soil doesn’t actually come out of the ground everywhere.

Lesson learned, don’t look to Miracle-Gro to grow organic veggies. Even if the label looks to be up your alley and the cost is in your budget. Look for the “Approved For Organic Growing” stamp!


My mother suggested trying out a vertical pallet garden for herbs and lettuce of sorts. This is the weird concept.

A sneak peak of my vertical garden cubbies bedded with ‘Organic Mechanics’.

Anne Marie Blankenship is a gardener and barista living in Akron, Ohio. If you enjoyed this story, please click the below.