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Just found some very old Miracle Gro. Any good?

We're in the process of renting out one of our homes and in packing things up I've come across four unopened bags of Miracle Gro, the water soluble powder stuff. I don't use that anymore but was considering giving it away to someone who does. It must be AT LEAST five years old, maybe older. But it's been kept in a dark, cool place.. Any opinion as to its efficacy after this long? Thanks.

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  1. I had the same question, as I found an old box, myself. According to the Scott's website, its shelf life is indefinite--like nuclear waste, I suppose! LOL

    24 Replies
    1. re: choco_lab38

      Love the analogy! I'll pass it along then. For several years now I've been using a pelleted product (approx. 15/15/15 - not exactly that) that I only need to use every six weeks or so. That fits my lifestyle better. thank, cl.

      1. re: choco_lab38

        Here is a somewhat related tip on bagged fertilizer-related items that may be helpful to know. We picked up a bag of Tomato-Tone this weekend, got it home with our plants and saw a date on the bag from last year. Thinking it was an expiration date, I brought it back to the nursery to swap it for a new bag. But oddly enough, all the bags on the shelf had 2008 dates. Come to find out the date is the date the product was BAGGED (not an expiration date). At least it's a scenic trip to the nursery. :)

        And on an odd note, I can't imagine what's appealing about Tomato Tone, but the bag resembles a cat treat bag and you know who was all over it, so I had to move it into the closet.

        1. re: choco_lab38

          this stuff lasts indefinitely. I dont get the critique of it. the color can be useful in gauging the concentration and the ingredients are natural products, you dont put any toxins into the soil by using it. No I dont want to argue the point, to each his own. It will be of use to someone, C Oliver, glad you are passing it along.

          1. re: jen kalb

            Oh, I don't think it was a criticism but what do I know? I use this pellet version simply because I only have to apply a couple of times a summer and it suits my lifestyle. For those who are around more the Miracle Gro is great I think.

            1. re: jen kalb

              I think jen kalb was referring to me and my "nuclear waste" comment. That was totally in jest, and, as a matter of fact, I use Miracle Gro myself (have been for years) and also use Miracid on my citrus trees.
              Given the current craze over organic gardening, I know that there are those who do critique the product--who prefer to use compost teas and earthworm castings, or what have you (and some are borderline militant about it). I personally find Miracle Gro to be much more efficient and time-saving for myself, without the worry of e coli contamination (a possible hazard of improper use of organic materials)

              1. re: choco_lab38

                Not to go all militant on you, but the the runoff from fertilizer can cause algae blooms in water, depleting oxygen and causing "dead zones." Anyhow, you probably already know that -- and obviously farms cause most of the runoff. As far as home gardening goes, my guess is that lawns are more of a problem than vegetable gardens. I use homemade compost 95% of the time, but I do fertilize my lemon/lime trees. With Miracle Gro you feed the plant, but with compost you feed the soil. It's wonderful to see the texture change and improve over time. (Yes, my son calls me a hippie, but I'm really not.)

                1. re: Glencora

                  "With Miracle Gro you feed the plant, but with compost you feed the soil."

                  Excellent point! Agreed, and I'll admit to harboring some guilt about not making my own compost and relying solely on that.
                  But it's some consolation that I do not use chemical pesticides or herbicides. My neighbors spread around enough of those toxins to make up the difference. While my yard has the look of a cottage garden/potager, they take great pride in their perfectly edged, dandelion-free lawns and mulched shrubbery. I'm certain they're shooting death-stares at me everytime a dandelion manages to sprout on their manicured lawns.

                  1. re: Glencora

                    The production of compost also creates N-P-K runoff.

                    1. re: Shazam

                      If the moderators would allow it, I think it would interesting to start a thread on composting as it can relate to vegetable gardening. I'd love to compost but we have a BIG bear problem where we live. They even break into houses to raid fridges and pantries. So I put out nothing that smells like food. Even coffee grounds attract.

                      1. re: c oliver

                        A thread on composting as it can relate to vegetable gardening is on-topic for this board, so go for it!

                        1. re: The Chowhound Team

                          I'll leave it one of you upthread. Until I can move away from bear country I have to stand by the wayside on this subject, I'm afraid.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            You can make compost without using food scraps, it just might take longer. Try to mix fresh green weeds with some drier leaves and keep it slightly moist. It won't be "hot" compost, but it will rot eventually. Everything does.

                            1. re: Glencora

                              I was keeping my reason simple :) I also have the issues that we live at a high elevation, we have snow on the ground for a number of months, we have no weeds. We have shrubs and trees, some nasty fire conducive shrubs (very woody) but NO weeks. AND since a warm day for us is about 75 in the summer, to say we can't have "hot" compost is an understatement :) Oh, and I forgot to mention that we have few to no deciduous trees so don't really even have leaves - haha.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  You can take some of my weeds home with you when you visit. HA HA HA!

                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                    Ooh, you know I'd LOVE to but I'm sure TSA wouldn't allow it :)

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      Ok, reading this post made me curious to know where it is that you live. In looking at your profile, I found "Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup made with milk!"!!! Do tell!!!!!

                                      1. re: CocoaNut

                                        Ya wanta know about the CNS??? Well, growing up (in Atlanta) my favorite comfort food was Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup. My mother substituted half the water with milk. I now use the half can of milk and NO water. A little pepper on top and a few Wavy Lays potato chips make it perfect :) I live at Lake Tahoe in NE CA about a hour from Reno. We're at 6500' elevation. I'm not sure WHY we don't have weeds but we don't. We also don't have grass. A very natural setting. Several different varieties of pines, some spruce, cedars. Wild currants, manzanita and various pesky manner of brush. The ground is mostly covered deep with pine needles so it makes it easy to garden in the soil. Vegetable gardening is a challenge because of the length of our growing season. Our summer doesn't dependable begin until almost July and it has snowed on each of the 365 during recorded weather history. Pot of herbs that can be moved around the deck to catch the sun is the best thing. Most of my limited garden knowledge derives from almost 15 years living in Southern Oregon where we have typical four seasons. BTW, you really should try that soup. My husband insists we always have a can on hand in case I need a fix :) Sorry you asked?!?

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          Never sorry to ask much of anything - how else does one learn. Let me see. I have milk in the fridge and probably a can of CNS tucked in the corner of the pantry. It's 12:07 - the lunch hour. Hmmmmm..........

                                          1. re: CocoaNut

                                            Ooh, I wish I were there. But then I never consider one can a shareable amount!

                                          2. re: c oliver

                                            Your posts are charming to read! c Oliver- I now live back in Texas where I grew up but lived for 14 years in Flagstaff AZ where real cottage gardening was divine! No plant disease and VERY few pests, not to mention not having to watch for snakes. Took the Master Gardening class there and LOVED gardening! All the cottage flowers just GREW! It was a huge adjustment when we retired and moved back here to be with our extended family, but after 4 years I am beginning to learn what works and starting to enjoy it. Especially my 20 shrubs of Knock Out roses that were gorgeous this year! I do miss the summers in Flag though! :)

                                  2. re: Glencora

                                    About using weeds in compost...I was once given some compost for my garden from a co-worker. While I really appreciated the gift, the compost sprouted so many weeds (and even some volunteer tomatoes) that it was ridiculous! Is this typical, or was the compost prepared incorrectly or not allowed to "cook" enough? To be honest, it kind of turned me off to the idea of composting.

                                    1. re: choco_lab38

                                      If the compost is hot enough, it will kill the weed seeds. Mine usually isn't that hot. (Though there was the time when the rotting jack o'lantern made the pile steam -- that was kind of creepy and cool.) As a rule, I never compost gone-to-seed weeds or anything diseased or thorny. Of course, I try not to let the weeds go to seed in the first place, but I'm not always on top of things. The bad stuff goes into the city debris container and I compost the rest. I'd hate to waste all that material.

                                      1. re: choco_lab38

                                        My knowledge of composting is from reading and talking but I've always heard that you have to be careful if you put weeds in your compost bin. It will have to generate ALOT of heat to kill the weeds. And I used to have horses and their poop will grow a large amount of grass since they eat it and it comes out the other end really warm. So I'd do plenty of research before introducing any weeds or grasses into your compost pile. Again, I only read, not practice, out of necessity. So take it for what it's worth :)

                    2. Does the concentrated liquid expire?