The Planting Experiment: Organic Vs Nonorganic Soil

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Have you ever wondered if your plants would grow better in organic soil versus regular potting soil? Do you think all those manufactured fertilizers and chemicals really help plants grow bigger, better and faster, or is it just a myth?

Then there’s the taste factor to consider. If you invited a few friends over for a taste test would they be able to tell the difference between vegetables grown in organic soil compared to ones grown in a potting mix filled with chemicals?

Well, over the next few months I’m going to try and find out.

For this experiment I purchased 2 different bags of potting soil.

Nonorganic Soil: This potting soil claims to grow plants twice as big and that it will feed the plants for up to 6 months as well as produce “more blooms for more color.”

Organic Potting Soil: Ingredients in this potting soil include chicken manure, worm castings, bat guano and kelp meal among other things. (I don’t know about you, but I was a little excited to see bat guano on the list).  Bats = Creepy. Bat Guano = Kind of interesting.

In each garden container I planted:

  • 3 seed potatoes
  • 14 Sugar snap pea seeds
  • 8 Red onion bulbs
  • 6 Strawberry plants
  • 6 Lettuce Starts

The plants and seeds I selected were based on what I could plant in my backyard garden in early spring. Companion planting and fruits and vegetables with a harvest window of about 60-70 days each also were important in my decision making.

We’ve had some pretty heavy rains up here in the Seattle area this past week so I went ahead and planted my pots in our greenhouse. Once the weather warms up a little and it stops raining 24/7, I plan on moving my pots outside next to my garden beds.

The plan is to take a photo and document the progress of each container over the 60-70 day growing period to find out which soil the plants will grow better in.

Personally, I’m rooting for the organic blend instead of the one jacked up on a bunch of chemicals because I grow all my other fruits and vegetables in my garden organically.

How about you? Do you want to guess which one (regular or organic) will produce more vegetables?

And what are we going for here, quality, or quantity?


All photos courtesy of Mavis Butterfield

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