After I’d spent 70 bucks on 25 bags of "topsoil" for my backyard makeover, I thought I’d look at the label to find out exactly what’s in the stuff. The brand is Mr. Garden and the words "Organically enriched" are proudly displayed, but no ingredients were to be found. No instructions, either, just some tiny print telling me it was "Packed with pride by Loudoun Heights Fuel Company" somewhere in West Virginia.
Readers can just imagine my rising level of suspicion about this product and the fuel company that packed it – with pride or not – despite having bought it from my favorite independent hardware store. So I continued the sleuthing with a phone call to the company, only to be told by the person answering that the ingredients were "all organic." Told that twice. I know, but what’s in it? No idea, but she’d have someone call me back.
Didn’t happen. My suspicions go nuts! So I call again and this time talk to the foreman, who told me the product contains:
- Compost that’s 4 parts wood fines to 1 part manure
- Composted leaves
Now that all sounds innocent enough, so I was relieved but damn, why was it so hard to find out? If I want my new garden to have the nutrients it needs it would sure help to know what’s in the "organically enriched" topsoil I’m adding to it. And what’s up with the lime? What if my pH is just fine the way it is? And I wish I’d asked about the percentage of "dirt" to all that other stuff.
Well, the Mr. Garden Topsoil is now indistinguishable from my regular home-grown topsoil, so I’m not losing any sleep over it. But getting back to the original mystery bag with no ingredients, aren’t there any requirements for labeling garden products? And if not, why not?Posted by Susan Harris on September 11, 2007 at 3:32 am, in the category Taking Your Gardening Dollar.