green tomato plants in garden

Furry Soil?

I recently tried a gardening product from a popular company, Miracle-Gro Organic Choice Bone Meal, and I wanted to share my experience for the benefit of my fellow gardening friends.

“Miracle-Gro Organic Choice Bone Meal is an organic phosphorous supplement, ideal for promoting vigorous root and flower growth or correcting a phosphorous deficiency in your garden soil.”

The company boasts of using a non-bovine source for the product. I have been using bone meal to help give my seedlings a better start for the past two years. I’ve mixed it in with the soil and also have sprinkled it on top as a type of side-dressing and have noted remarkable improvement in growth and appearance after making the application. When my husband ran to the local ag store a few weekends ago, I asked him to grab me a bag while he was out and he returned with the different Miracle Gro product. Within one week, the side-dressing application congealed  into a slimy orange substance and had begun to grow fuzzy mold. I took the plants outside and carefully scooped the mold shell off the top. As I scratched the surface, I noticed that the little tiny white tendrils, that I thought were the roots of the plants beginning to be exposed, began to move. Upon closer inspection, there were numerous nearly microscopic critters wriggling around that had not been there a week or two prior when I was working with the tomatoes and other plants. I tried to remove as much of the insects (they were only located near the surface) and I added a bit more soil to replace what I had removed.

Incidentally, the only seedlings that didn’t receive a new side-dressing were the peppers. They still were making use of the bovine sourced bone meal and they had neither the mold growth nor the insects that all the other plants had.

You can see how lovely my “babies” are! I was terrified that they were going to be ruined by the infestation, but they don’t seem any worse for the wear.

Has anyone else had any experience with Miracle-Gro Organic Choice Bone Meal? I’d be interested to hear of it!

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  1. As an update, we’ve had the same issue this year with the Miracle Gro Seed Starter. This was white fuzzy mold instead.

  2. I’ve never tried that before. However, it looks like my “Roma” variety of tomatoes have contracted the “wilt” virus. My dad says all of his tomatoes – $100 worth – have it too. We were thinking maybe the cow manure we bought from a farmer might have something to do with it. But honestly, I don’t know.

  3. Shannon,
    Don’t scare me! I’m trying to think happy thoughts- I’ve got about a hundred tomato plants (Many of which I’m sharing with family) I don’t know if I could bear losing them two years in a row!!

  4. Thanks for commenting about this Bekki- I heard about the eggshell trick last year and I’ve started a collection for when we transplant. I didn’t know if that was something that should be done when seeding them or not. (I’m not sure that it would have mattered with how poorly the girls were laying a couple months ago anyway!) But useful info. none the less. I like the eggshell idea better than bonemeal, because shells are free!

  5. Uh…. no, but I won’t be buying any of this. That is disgusting. It will be interesting to see how this affects the future of your plants and the produce you get. Hmmm.. on the other hand the little worms, etc. could be good for airating (sp?) the soil and could produce some rich poopy soil. It could work out in your favor as long as you can control the moisture level (if there’s is mold I am thinking it’s probably very damp). At any rate this is all very interesting… but I am still not gonna be buying that stuff. LOL!

  6. That’s just gross! My husband only uses egg shells when planting seedling so I have never run into anythign like this before! Thankfully it didn’t destroy all of your seedlings!