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A garden is only as good as the ground that it's planted in. Discussion forum for the many ways to improve the soil where we plant our gardens.

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Old November 3, 2014   #1
aclum
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Default Wonder Soil

Hi,

I just came across a "new to me" product that I thought some of you might be interested in. (I don't recall having seen it mentioned here at TV before and couldn't come up with any results doing a search).

The product is Wonder Soil. I came across it searching the Lowes and Home Depot websites looking for what I might order (for local pick-up) to replenish the soil in some of my raised beds. As I'm disabled and have difficulty dealing with the large bales (2.2 cu ft) of Pro-Mix or similar products and don't like paying extra for smaller bag sizes to make up the same quantities, the 10# block of Wonder Soil caught my eye. Here's a link to the product on the Home Depot website:

http://www.homedepot.com/p/WONDER-SO...PAND/204091781

The 10 lb coir based block expands to 2.5 cu ft! Adding water to and expanding the coir where I want it to go in the garden sure beats carting out large bales or buckets of other mixes to where I want it. Unless the product was really horrible, I probably would have ordered it just for the convenience factor, but it actually seems like a pretty decent product!

You can get more info on their website: www.wondersoil.com. Be sure to check out the video on the site (done by John of LearnToGrowOrganic....youtube fame). The coir itself is apparently quite different (in origin and processing) from what is usually used in garden products and it has some pretty nice added ingredients you can read about on the website. One thing of special note as far as the convenience factor goes, is that it's not as compressed as the usual coir blocks so it's easier to break up and expands faster.

I found that the best price was by ordering online from Home Depot with an order of $45 or more so you get free shipping. With the free shipping, it was about $15 for the 10 lb block of Wonder Soil that expands to 2.5 cu ft whereas the Pro-Mix that I had been using is about $25 for 2.2 cu ft.

Anyway, just thought I'd let you all know about it - esp. as we seem to have a number of people around here (myself included) who are slowing down a bit and/or have some troubles dealing with the larger bales of soil.

Anne
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Old November 3, 2014   #2
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I don't know if this is relevant at all, but hubby bought me some of the expandable coir soil (instead of mulch) and I sprinkled it over the bases of all my tomato plants to keep the weeds out. Later in the season, I became very worried because some of my healthy-looking potato-leaved tomato plants looked as if they had succumbed to herbicide damage. Since we are very rural, back onto a farm and there is a lot of shrubbery around my veggie garden, I looked for possible causes and suspected that it might have been due to the coir. My plants grew out of the distorted leaf stage and were fine.

Linda
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Old November 3, 2014   #3
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I haven't tried it, but looks like decent enough product for those who don't use plain Coco Coir in their vermicompost. If you vermicompost, plain coir as bedding is cheaper. But plain coir used straight has issues as Linda noted above. This seems a good compromise, since worm castings are added.
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Old November 3, 2014   #4
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Hi,

Seems like this product wouldn't have any herbicide issues. There are a few more additions to the basic wonder soil besides the worm castings. I suppose some people might not want the moisture control polymers - but I think they would be helpful here in CA with our drought conditions. I came across this link:

http://christophererle.writersreside...pdf?1362585957

that gives more details on the various ingredients in their standard products (the coir, worm castings, bat guano, etc.) plus other ingredients they have in stock if you want to order a custom mix. (I imagine it would have to be a fairly large quantify for a custom mix).

I'm looking forward to trying it out. I should be getting some a little later in the week to try out (maybe with a little extra azomite) in my salad beds where I'm planning to grow most of my winter greens for juicing.

Anne
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Old November 3, 2014   #5
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Default MSDS looks good

Quote:
Originally Posted by aclum View Post
Hi,

Seems like this product wouldn't have any herbicide issues. There are a few more additions to the basic wonder soil besides the worm castings. I suppose some people might not want the moisture control polymers - but I think they would be helpful here in CA with our drought conditions. I came across this link:

http://christophererle.writersreside...pdf?1362585957

that gives more details on the various ingredients in their standard products (the coir, worm castings, bat guano, etc.) plus other ingredients they have in stock if you want to order a custom mix. (I imagine it would have to be a fairly large quantify for a custom mix).

I'm looking forward to trying it out. I should be getting some a little later in the week to try out (maybe with a little extra azomite) in my salad beds where I'm planning to grow most of my winter greens for juicing.

Anne
Thanks for the find.
I just ordered 4 to compare with Promix as a seed starting medium,and for some delicate herbs and smaller greens.
Got mine shipped directly to house,but just wondering if ship to store doesn't require the $45 minumum.
I will compare notes and report when some results come in.
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Old November 5, 2014   #6
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Hi,

I received my order of Wonder Soil today and I'm impressed (granted it doesn't take a lot to impress me these days ).
The 10 lb Wonder Soil cube was more compacted than I'd expected, and I had to use a hammer that was nearby to knock off a chunk for testing. If you wanted all the soil in one place, you probably wouldn't need to break it up prior to wetting. Once however much (the aforementioned chunk, in my case) is wetted, it expands rapidly and is super easy to break up. It has a nice fluffy consistency - no big chunks of things like some of the potting mixes I've used.

Wonder Soil seems to make several different products with slightly different ingredients. Since ingredients on the Home Depot website Wonder Soil listing weren't complete, I'm attaching a pdf scan of the label from what I got today. Sorry it's a little hard to read, but I think you can make things out.

No bat guano, but it does have a number of other good ingredients I had suspected but wasn't sure of - including mycorrhizae, humus and compost, as well as the worm castings, etc. mentioned on the HD website.

I hope to be transplanting into the Wonder Soil tomorrow - and look forward to hearing what Kurt thinks of it.

Anne.
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File Type: pdf WONDER SOIL LABEL.pdf (374.6 KB, 63 views)
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Old November 6, 2014   #7
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Default Home Depot says

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Originally Posted by aclum View Post
Hi,

I received my order of Wonder Soil today and I'm impressed (granted it doesn't take a lot to impress me these days ).
The 10 lb Wonder Soil cube was more compacted than I'd expected, and I had to use a hammer that was nearby to knock off a chunk for testing. If you wanted all the soil in one place, you probably wouldn't need to break it up prior to wetting. Once however much (the aforementioned chunk, in my case) is wetted, it expands rapidly and is super easy to break up. It has a nice fluffy consistency - no big chunks of things like some of the potting mixes I've used.

Wonder Soil seems to make several different products with slightly different ingredients. Since ingredients on the Home Depot website Wonder Soil listing weren't complete, I'm attaching a pdf scan of the label from what I got today. Sorry it's a little hard to read, but I think you can make things o

No bat guano, but it does have a number of other good ingredients I had suspected but wasn't sure of - including mycorrhizae, humus and compost, as well as the worm castings, etc. mentioned on the HD website.

I hope to be transplanting into the Wonder Soil tomorrow - and look forward to hearing what Kurt thinks of it.

Anne.

My order just left from Las Vegas today(of all places)Weird that thier headquarters is in Adventura Fl. right up the road from me.Will show in time for my third germination of maters,lettuces,arugalas,quinoas,select basils,and some herbs.I am also looking for a cleaner medium without the chunks(mini trees!) and something you can water without sinking the seeds too deep or floating them up(i.e. basils,poppys,the finer smaller seeds)Will keep you posted.
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Old November 6, 2014   #8
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The only question I would have is about the "water saving polymers" listed on the contents. The Wonder Soil site names a product called "Stockosorb." I'm wondering if this is the same as the jelly-like blobs found in the "water saving" potting mix I accidentally bought a few years ago that turned my containers into a stinky, soggy mess.
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Old November 6, 2014   #9
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Father'sDaughter,

The water absorbing particles are similar to others I've come across, but smaller. The little blobs are fairly unobtrusive. A random sample I picked out (hydrated) was a bit larger than a radish seed and about the same size as a smallish beet seed.

Kurt, I think they do their manufacturing in Las Vegas now. It's sort of funny seeing all the strange side trips some of these packages take before reaching their final destination.

Anne
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Old November 6, 2014   #10
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I would love to hear about whether it is does create problems with those water crystals. My experience with any mix that have it is very negative, here in IL when I start my seeds is fairly cold and I really can't afford to have any water retention in pots- damp off guaranteed...
I have used pro- mix for quite a bit but sometimes it is hard to find...
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Old November 25, 2014   #11
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Hi,

It's been a couple of weeks since I first started working with the Wonder Soil and, at this point, I only have good things to say about it.

I've used it to fill my 3 elevated salad tables that I had previously filled with various potting mixes over the past 6 or so years with the most recent additions being with Pro-Mix HP. I cleaned out most, but not quite all, of the old mix before refilling things with the Wonder Soil. The beds are basically just pine board sides with 1/4" hardware cloth bottoms that are lined with weedblock so they drain very well without losing any of the soil mix.

I've removed the solid covering from the greenhouse where I have 2 of the beds and just have the shade cloth in place so any rain can come through. The third bed is under the patio roof but right at the edge so that it gets wet when it rains. The weather's been pretty mild be we've had a few good days of rain in the past couple of weeks.

Compared to Pro-Mix and other mixes with a high peat content, the Wonder Soil is a dream to hydrate. I've nearly always had problems keeping the peat mixes properly hydrated. I tend to let them get too dry on the surface so they so that when I water, a good deal of the water drains straight through the mix without really wetting the soil all over like it should.

The Wonder Soil cube was easy to hydrate to begin with and once wet, retained the moisture without being at all soggy. I thought the moisture crystals were really helpful in this regard. They're small enough so they don't all come bubbling up to the soil surface in blobs like I've seen some types of moisture retaining crystals do. Tthe Wonder Soil drains really well in my application so it never really felt overly wet or soggy - even after some pretty steady rain.

The Wonder Soil is also very clean to work with. No larger bits and chunks of things like I've found in other potting mixes (including Pro-Mix) and the least "dusty" of any of the mixes I've worked with. When done mixing the soil, you can just sort of brush off your hands against each other to clean off the WS - it doesn't really get what I'd call "dirty" or muddy when wet. It seems to stay light and fluffy even when it's pretty much fully saturated with water.

So far, all my little transplants of various greens and radishes are thriving in the elevated beds filled with Wonder Soil. I've started some Picolino cucumber seeds in the WS (100% germination in 3 days and currently growing rapidly under lights) and have been using the WS in my seed sprouting trays. This is my first time with sprouting (wheatgrass, broccoli, and sunflower) and everything's growing really fast. The fine texture of the soil seems to work really well for sprouting purposes - all the seeds stay on the soil surface as they should and don't drop down nooks and crannies on the soil surface like they might with a coarser mix. And, as I mentioned before, the WS holds the moisture but still drains well.

I'm planning to grow my Picolino Cucumbers indoors under lights in a tote filled with WS and fertilized as needed with Texas Tomato Food. (Don't have the link handy but there's a good Youtube video you can look up by BoilingFrog Productions on growing cucumbers hydroponically under LED lights using the Picolino cucumbers). Supposedly the various additives to the Wonder Soil provide fertilization up to 4 months, but I'm not sure if it'll last that long - esp. outdoors where the beds might be subjected to heavy rain (one can always hope ).

So far, the Wonder Soil has worked great for sprouting, seed starting, and potting up. I've never done any long term container gardening though, so it remains to be seen how it will all work out as the season progresses and we go through various weather conditions. (I'll probably put a clear plastic sheet over the top of my shadecloth greenhouse if we get too much rain and the plants start to have problems due to that).

I haven't paid too much attention to the finer points of soil building and management, fertilizing, potting mixes, etc. in the past - so take that into account. I like to hear what some of the more knowledgeable or experienced people might have to say about Wonder Soil. Kurt, have you been able to try yours out yet?

I've ordered Wonder Soil from HD 3x so far and will probably be ordering some more before too long as I expand my container growing areas. As I've said, it takes a $45 order for the free home delivery, but it's not hard for me to find other little HD products that also have the free shipping deal to make up an order if I don't want to buy 4 cubes of the soil at a time.

So..... so far so good! (Just hope I haven't jinxed things by raving about the product so much ).

Anne

BTW, I have no association with any company that makes or sells the Wonder Soil!
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Old November 25, 2014   #12
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Thanks for posting update! I will be on look out to see what is avail locally and might give it a try.
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Old December 13, 2014   #13
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Was just putting together a Lee Valley order and noticed they had Wonder Soil. When I checked into the item details it stated "not for use with food plants". Hope this is a different product than what you are talking about above. I presume it was/is concerns over the moisture retention crystals.
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Old December 13, 2014   #14
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http://www.wondersoil.net/store/wond...ube-7-2-3.html

Same product,the Lee Valley website is misinformed,note the seed packs in the image.Description by Wonder Soil website in link above notes that it is made for veggies.Had me scared for a second,for me it is the best clone/cutting,seed starter mix yet.No twigs,no peat/mud/bug larvae.Tried all the seed starting mixes,Jiffys,agricultural grade vermiculites,DE,homemade mixes.So far out preforms them all.I have some side by side ProMix/Wonder soil maters in containers first time this year for comparisons.MSDS on the water retention chemicals have no red flags.Thanks aclum again for the find!
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Old December 13, 2014   #15
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Thanks for all who have posted their results. I think I just may try this.

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