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Last year when we decided to grow some vegetables in containers and raised beds we used normal compost with some mixed success. So when I saw these gro-bags by Miracle- Gro this year I decided we had to try them as they promised great results and were designed especially for vegetables. I was a little uncertain about it not being organic but decided that if we got a large crop of vegetables from using the compost and were not putting any additional pesticides on the crops then this would be sufficiently green for me this year and maybe next year we would look at more organic gardening when we had a bit more money to spend on quality soil.
The gro bags contain 50 litres of compost and claim to contain enough plant food for 8 weeks' worth of growth. I thought this would be a great start to our seedlings as this would help them get established and when they were fruiting and producing vegetables later we could feed them more as needed.
I decanted various gro-bags into some of our raised beds and planted pumpkin plants, courgette plants and some beetroot. The soil itself seemed very dense with what appeared to be bits of wood in it that looked very tough and fibrous. However it was a lovely dark colour which I hoped meant it was full of lots of fertilisers to help our seedlings grow. The seedlings we placed into them were quite well established due to the warmth of our conservatory windows. However a month later despite a mixture of sun and rain in the weather I have seen barley any growth in any of the plants that we placed into the compost. This for me is very disappointing and certainly not living up to the claims on the bags of giving more vegetables for your money. Now in case you're wondering if this lack of growth is down to the weather conditions or positioning I can say fairly certainly it is not as the beetroot that is grown in the same bag next to the Mircale -Gro bag but with the regular compost left over from last year are twice the sizes of those placed in Miracle-gro. This leads me to think that it is not doing the job it is designed for as if I am having results with cheaper compost with the same vegetables and the only difference is the soil then it is this at fault.
As I was disappointed with the results so far I was concerned that we had received a defective batch so I contacted the company via email to ask for advice and to complain. What response I received back was disappointing to say the least as it appeared to be a generic email reinforcing their claims about the product and how the batches of compost were made in large qualities so no defects were made and basically saying that I should just watch and wait to see them grow.
Overall I cannot recommend this product for growing vegetables in my experience it just doesn't live up to the claims of encouraging growth and being more effective than using simply compost. This is because as I have found that B and Q's own brand compost is having much superior results to these gro bags. It has left both my 5 year old disappointed too as he is the one who loves growing vegetables and was hoping for enormous pumpkins we are now trying to raise some other seedlings to see if we can try some better luck with normal compost. At around £5 per bag it is not cheap and compared to results we have had with own brand and cheaper compost I think it has been an expensive mistake we have made this year and not one I would repeat.