Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.


Friday, April 30, 2010

The Jolly Gardener...and I don't mean me


I spend a lot of time thinking about potting mixes, don't you?

So much of my work is in containers that finding a quality potting mix is crucial, and not always easy. There's a trade off between being light weight (significant for rooftop plantings) and providing adequate nutrition (peat-based mixes don't supply as many nutrients as topsoil), and it's tricky finding just the right balance. One of the questions I'm asked most often is which brand of mix do I recommend.

Big box stores carry Scott's Miracle Gro almost exclusively, but frankly, that's not good enough. Sun Gro's Metro Mix 560 and 310 are fine, but they're usually sold in wholesale nurseries, so recommending them doesn't help the home gardener.

Last year I was introduced to a new product: The Jolly Gardener line of potting mixes.


You might recall I started a comparison test last fall. I transplanted Montauk daisies and dusty miller (among other things) into two large, identical, stainless steel containers with two different brands of potting mix. This spring, the herbaceous plants in the Jolly Gardener mix are twice as large as their brothers and sisters just a few feet away. (I've included a solar panel in each photo to show scale.)

planted in Jolly Gardener


not planted in Jolly Gardener


I'm the first to admit that this is a single, small experiment; I don't have enough data to make sweeping statements about the best potting mix ever. But I'm excited about the Jolly Gardener product and plan to keep using it. I look forward to seeing how it performs throughout the season.

Jolly Gardener is available in several formulas (regular, moisture mate, fruits/vegetables) at independent garden centers and nurseries. It may cost a little more than a non-premium brand, but I consider it money well spent. I don't mind paying a few more dollars for superior quality, do you?









3 comments:

SaraGardens said...

WOW! It's not just the size difference... the plants in the JG mix look positively jolly.

frank@new york city garden said...

Did the other mix have fertilizer in it as well? I noticed the jg bag said it fed up to four months.

Ellen Zachos said...

Excellent question, Frank. I should have addressed that in the post. Yes, the other brand also says "feeds up to four months," so it's apples to apples. Guess four months is the magic number.

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