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I can't stand to see neglected plants in shops, it really makes me sad and has me reaching for my purse before you can blink. One day, I found Cheesy; a sad looking, questionable Swiss cheese plant. I didn't buy him though as I didn't have time to wait in the queue before catching my bus, but let me tell you Cheesy played on my mind. I had to save him before he was ignored further then thrown in the bin, not even worthy of the reduced table. A few days later, I made it back in and bought him. I also bought this Miracle-Gro potting compost for two reasons - the first was that I wanted something quality to give Cheesy as much chance as possible to recover, and secondly, I needed a smaller bag with a handle since I was on the bus. I chose this Miracle Gro over other smaller handled bags, as I know the brand. I know it's an enriched compost, containing lots of goodies for plants. It comes in the usual Miracle-Gro yellow and green packaging, with some cheerful flowers and pots on the front. You are told this compost is enriched with Miracle-Gro plant food and that this will feed for up to three months. It also claims to have 40% more nutrients in it than bog standard multipurpose compost, specially formulated to care for pot plants (indoor or outdoor). It also contains a water retention agent, meaning it will hold onto moisture better; this means more hydrated plants, easy watering (you know how annoying it is when you water a plant and it takes ages to start to drain, so spills over the top of the pot, or runs right through and spills out the saucer...?). If using outdoors, it can also be used all year round, obviously the same applies if using it for houseplants. So when I opened the bag, the first thing I noticed was that this compost is soft and fluffy; it feels moist too. I had high hopes this would give Cheesy every chance he needed. There is also next to no smell, I have had bagged composts that stink to high heaven, but this is very inoffensive. Great for using indoors! It also didn't stick to or stain my hands too badly, washing off easily. When I brought Cheesy home, he had only 2 large leaves (not even 12" tall), and various new leaves that had started to come were withered and dead. He badly needed repotted (I had to cut the shop pot off his root ball!) and my folks thought I was mad, they thought he was a goner but I had faith! Soon after repotting in a larger pot with this Miracle-Gro compost, removing dead growth, watering carefully and generally talking to and reassuring him, Cheesy started to sprout new leaves. I was overjoyed and now, some months later, he is huge (over 24" tall) with loads of leaves and new growth almost daily. As for Miracle-Gro's promises, I would say they fulfill every single one. I noticed a difference in Cheesy very soon after using this so I am happy with the enrichment of this compost. The water retention is amazing too; watering really is easy, the water sinks in and doesn't run right through. I even found that Cheesy did not need watered as often as any of the other 23(!) plants in the same room, as his compost was still damp when the others had dried out. I actually didn't pay attention on the day I found this out, and watered him as usual only to have to go back and sit there mopping it up since no more could be absorbed! Cheesy is doing brilliantly, and save for the few leaves that suffered a teething puppy, is in beautiful condition. I can't remember the exact size of the bag I bought - I think it was 10 litres - but it was one of the smaller handled bags, and I paid £5.49 for it from Focus. Most of it was used to repot Cheesy and I had a little left over. I would usually have bought the biggest bag for the best price, but as mentioned I was alone and on the bus so needed something easier! I am delighted with how well the compost has saved Cheesy though, and think it's been worth every penny. To be honest though, I would never choose this to do all my plants (I have my own jungle) as it would be too expensive. But it does work and is brilliant compost, so definitely gets a 5 star recommendation from me.
Gardening! Not everyone's cup of tea and I'll be honest I have always been a buy it from the super market kind of chap for the majority of my life, until recently that is when I have discovered a depth of excitement, enjoyment and challenge of a little green fingeredness. Don't get me wrong I'm no Monty Don or Stew Benson, but recently my potting successes have been speaking for themselves and I'm really pleased with myself. However before the fanfare and streamers are thrown I must give my credit where it is due! Good old British soil. It is easy to take this for granted let me tell you, whilst many will buy compost from a garden centre or simply plant straight into a back garden or plot without really giving the soil a second thought, I certainly had until that was until my recent trip away. I have spent the last 4/5 months in a hot, arid, dust bowl of a country; in order to pass the time and create a little project good friend and I decided to grow some simple produce. Tomatos, herbs, chillies and the like. Now, the UK the adage of just add water was employed, with disastrous effect! Initially we would have shoots and seedlings pop up out of the ground for a few days, realise how horrid the country was before returning to its life provider, and dying. A huge disappointment! Following these initial failed attempts we went about preparing the soil. Now the soil in this country is similar to clay when wet, and like moon dust when dry! Useless! We added our home made compost, nutrients and our very own nitrites! With again limited success. Plants that grown need constant care and attention and protection. In fact a gruelling frustrating task. Which leads me to Miracle gro. Having returned I have wished to continue with my limited success of a the arid nastiness of the previous months and popped out to the local garden centre a bought 8 Litres of potting mix to get me going in my unheated propagator! On opening the mix I was amazed even at its smell...Earthy and rich taking me back to warm summer days with my granddad planting in the greenhouse as a kid. It's a simple thing, but smells can take you places and this just made me glad to be home! On reaching inside you are met with a moist, not wet feeling that feels wonderful and spongy, nothing like the hot, dry, flour like sand I had been used too. The soil is soft and almost granular, and did not stick to my hands as you would expect what is effectively mud would do. I bought miracle gro compost because of my limited gardening experience, and the lack of time I have daily to tend to my tiny small holding (a few pots in the garden). Miracle gro is enriched with nutrients that will feed you sown plants for up to 6 weeks compared to normal soil. Keeping things earthy, the compost is actually mixed with organic plant food, so any people concerned with what goes into their food can have strict control over what they are adding. The constitution of the potting mix, like all 'Scott's Miracle-Gro' are made from a reduced peat or peat free formulas enabling a sustainable composting facility for generations to come. The bag I opted for was 1%-39% peat. The 8L bag does come with preparation advice depending upon what you wish to grow, the advice ranges from out of the bag growth to seedling sowing/plugging. It also advises upon when to water. I know this may seem like common sense, but as this compost contains the miracle gro formulae, it does give specific instructions to optimise potential growth. Whilst there is no strict use by date, the soil does have an optimal use within a year advice lable, it also states to not to allow the soil to dry out. Having sown some seeds not 4 days ago I already have the sprouting of my salad leaves and various other herbs in my propagator, something I am excited to crop ready for summer BBQs! If you are a novice or have never grown so much as a sunflower as a child I would urge you to start! It really is satisfying growing and eating/cooking with produce you have made with your own hands! It doesn't take much other than some mud, seeds, pots and water! and I would recommend miracle gro as a growing medium; it's full of good stuff that is essential to plant development and growth. Good old British mud, slightly more expensive than other compost, but it is packed with extra goodness that should double the amount of crops you can use!!