1. Why are products labeled “Garden Soil” on the package when it doesn’t look like garden soil?
The industry long ago started calling certain types of soils that amend native soil “Garden Soil” because the formulation was specifically designed to be mixed with the native soil found in gardens that produce edibles, flowers, even shrubs and trees. When mixed with the native soil found in your garden, the larger particle size found in Garden Soils provide a better balance between water retention and drainage, create pockets in the soil allowing air and water to reach deeper in the soil, and provide nutrients for beneficial soil microbial activity, which help plants become more pest and disease resistant.
Garden Soils were never designed to be used as a stand-alone product to grow plants, but always to be mixed with native “garden soil.” One of the primary ingredients in our garden soils is wood. We choose wood for a number of reasons.
To learn more about why we choose wood click here to read our blog.
2. Are your soils sterilized?
None of our soil products are sterilized. Doing so would kill all of the beneficial nutrients and microbes in our potting soil. However, it is composted in large piles. Each of the piles reaches temperatures over 130 degrees – hot enough to kill any type of pests and weed seeds.
3. What is the pH range of your soils?
Shade Mix – 4.5-5.5
Garden Soil – 6.0-7.3
Potting Mix – 5.8 -7.5
Soil Conditioner – 5.9-7.4
4. What soils are best to plant directly into and which are not?
Any of our Kellogg Garden Organics and G&B Organics soils that are made as a Potting Mix are ready to use right out of the bag. While theses soils can be used in the ground to help with moisture retention and nutrient revitalization, they are typically used in containers such as raised beds, pots and window boxes.
Soils that are referred to as a Garden Soil or a Planting Mix should always be mixed with the native soil found in your garden. The benefits of garden soils and planting mixes are to revitalize your native soil, rebuilding life in the soil to provide a healthy environment to grow full, lush plants. These soils also add structure to native soil, helping break up clay soils and open up the soil to allow air and water to penetrate deeper. This gives plant roots the opportunity to “stretch” and go deeper into the ground where it is cooler.
There are however, some exceptions with some of our soils that are formulated to be mixed with either native soil or used right out of the bag, so you have the flexibility to plant right in your garden or landscape or use for container planting, depending on your gardening project. Kellogg Garden Organics has three such soil products:
- Native Smart Planting Mix for Western Native Landscapes
- Palm, Cactus & Citrus Mix
- Shade Mix for Acid-Loving Plants
There are complementary products in the G&B Organics brand as well:
- Native Planting Mix for Western Native Landscapes
- Palm, Cactus & Citrus Planting Mix
- Acid Planting Mix
To get more information on specific products:
You will find our Garden Soils and Planting Mixes to be a little more course than Potting Mixes because we use a fair amount of wood fines in our Garden Soils and Planting Mixes – this helps with soil structure. Some think it reminds them of mulch. It can be used for that application, but don’t be fooled, there’s a lot of great soil microbe activity in that Garden Soil that is great for “in the soil” as much as it is for “on the soil,” like mulch. The native soil in your garden beds and landscapes will respond with bigger, fuller plants, adding new growth that will make your garden a delight.
For more information on Why We Choose Wood, click here to read more.
5. I have this old plant in a pot for years, why is the soil shrinking and what should I do?
Settling usually occurs over time as a result of irrigation, gravity and/or decomposition. If you are still getting good plant response from the soil, simply lift up the root mass and fill underneath/sides with new potting soil or mineral soil. If plant response has diminished or the plant appears to be root bound, transplant to larger container with fresh potting soil. In either case, take special care not to damage the root system.
1. If I use too much of your blended fertilizer, will it burn my plants?
All of our blended fertilizers are made with natural and organic ingredients, which typically come with a lower NPK value than synthetic fertilizers. This means the risk of burning plants is not likely.
ORGANIC FERTILIZERS VS. SYNTHETIC FERTILIZERS: WHAT’S THE SKINNY?
2. How do I know if soil or fertilizer I am buying is really organic?
All Kellogg Garden Organics and G&B Organics products are “Proven Organic.” This means each ingredient in each product has been verified as meeting the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) standards through a stringent review process by a USDA NOP accredited agency. All Kellogg Garden Organics and G&B Organics products have been reviewed and approved by the California Department of Food & Ag’s Organic Input Material (OIM) program. Manufacturers are allowed to call their product “organic” in California, but must have a disclaimer on the label stating “Not To Be Used For Organic Food or Crop Production.” and the independent, third-party accreditor, the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI). Look for one or both of their logos on our labels to be assured it is Proven Organic.
3. After planting my new garden, how long should I wait to fertilize?
Most organic fertilizers are docile enough to start fertilizing immediately. You can do a pre-plant application of a dry blend (in planting hole). Throughout the season use one of our liquid fertilizers every other time you water.
Proven Organic Questions
1. What does “Proven Organic” mean?
We use the term “Proven Organics” because Kellogg lead the way with product approved by two reputable agencies; the California Department of Food and Agriculture Organic Input Material (OIM) program and the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI). Both agencies are accredited by the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP). This means, every ingredient, every process and every production facility has been reviewed and found to meet the stringent standards set by NOP. Kellogg was one of the first to be approved by both agencies, making Kellogg Garden Organics and G&B Organics products “Proven Organic.”
2. I see a logo that says OMRI on some of your bags. What is OMRI?
All of our products are listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI), the leading non-profit, internationally recognized third party accredited by the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP). OMRI reviews and verifies every ingredient and every process that goes into making our products, ensuring it is 100% compliant as organic, all the way to the original source. It is a stringent review process taking several months to complete. Look for the OMRI logo on the bag, ensuring every product is proven organic.
3. Do any of your products contain bio-solids/sewage sludge?
Of the 300+ products we produce, four products once contained biosolids. Since we have moved to register all of our products to be compliant with the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP), none of our products contain bio-solids/sewage sludge in any form. Bio-solids/sewage sludge is a prohibited ingredient under USDA’s National Organic Program. All Kellogg Garden Organics and G&B Organics branded products are approved by the California Department of Food and Ag Organic Input Materials (OIM) program and listed with the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI). No product with an OIM seal or OMRI seal on the bag may contain bio-solids/sewage sludge.
1. Why do mushrooms grow in my vegetable garden and will they hurt my vegetables? More continue to sprout up after I have pulled them up.
When gardening organically, one has to think differently than conventional gardening. Mushrooms are naturally occurring in all soils, but can be more prevalent in organic soils.
Mushroom blooms usually occur in decaying matter when the soil is exceptionally damp, either through over watering or poor drainage. We tend to notice them more as we transition from the warmer summer months into cooler fall or winter months because our watering habits tend to be more frequent in the summer due to the heat. We have to remember to “back off” the watering as the air cools and soils take longer to dry out. Because mushroom mycelia (roots) grow on decaying organic material, plants are safe from the mushrooms and it is not uncommon to have mushroom blooms happen with rich organic material. Reduce the amount of watering to the area and ensure your soil drains properly. The mushrooms will disappear in a few days.
2. What are the little tiny flies that are flying all over my house and around my potted plants?
Like mushrooms, fungus gnats love damp soil. So much so, they lay their eggs in it which only increases the problem. And just like ridding our soil of mushrooms, we need to reduce our watering as we transition from the warmer summer months to the cooler fall and winter months. The best cultural practice is to water your plants from the bottom, limiting the amount of moisture at the surface of the soil. By doing so, the top 1-2 inches of soil will be dry enough so the gnat larvae die and interrupt the life cycle. This is easily accomplished by putting your plant in a 2 inch deep dish or saucer, filling the saucer with water and allowing the soil to absorb the water like a sponge through the holes in the bottom of the pot (make sure you have holes in the bottom of your pot!). Water in this manner instead of watering the plant from the top like we all normally water. Over time, the fungal gnats will disappear. An alternative solution, if you’re not able to water from below, would be to put a one inch layer of sand or fine decorative rock on the top of the soil to limit the fungal gnat access to the soil surface.
3. My kids love playing in the yard. How long should I wait to allow them back in the yard after I have used your products?
The great thing about using Kellogg Garden Organics and G&B Organics products is they are safe for kids and pets to be around after they are applied. There are no chemical ingredients in any of our products – only natural, organic ingredients that have been reviewed and approved by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI), the leading independent, third party agency accredited by the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP).
One thing to keep in mind specific to your pets – because we use natural ingredients in our soils and fertilizers like poultry manure and bone meal for example, our pets are attracted to those smells. To minimize your pets participation in your gardening project (usually by digging up what you just planted to reach whatever ingredient might be attracting them), be sure to work fertilizers well into the soil when applying and water thoroughly afterwards. The same should be done for soils. For soil applications like Topper Soil for Lawns, Sod & Seed, where the soil isn’t typically worked into the native soil and is accessible to pets, be sure to water thoroughly after application.
While our products are natural and organic, they are not food, and common sense should prevail by keeping out of reach of children and pets.