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Miracle Gro Performance Organics Review

In this Miracle Gro Performance Organics review, I compare the container mix against two high performing potting mixes. The purpose is to provide people with the information they need to grow nutritious microgreens at home economically.

Miracle Gro Performance Organics is Scott’s top of the line natural amendment potting mix. It is meant to satisfy those that don’t want to use Miracle-Gro Potting Mix because of the synthetic chemicals added as fertilizer and as a wetting agent.

In this review of Performance Organics, I test it’s ability to grow quick and slow growing microgreens as compared to Home Microgreens Potting Mix (naturally amended) and Miracle-Gro Potting Mix.

miracle gro performance organic container mix review

Why Review Miracle Gro Performance Organics?

The mission of Home Microgreens is to provide people with the information they need to grow the best and most nutritious microgreens at home. Even though I have my own products that time and again show they perform well, providing comparisons and showing options is important to me.

The Miracle Gro brand is one of the most recognized and readily available potting mixes. I might not agree with all of the ingredients they add to their products or the large portion of the market they grasp, but this article isn’t about my philosophy of additives or controlling retail markets.

It is to provide options to you for easier access to supplies that grow good microgreens. So let’s see how well Performance Organics performs.

Performance Organics Ingredients

Miracle Gro Performance Organics is a peat-based potting mix. They call it a container mix, I’m not sure what that means, but it is recommended to grow vegetables both indoors and outdoors.

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I have written an article listing and explaining all of the ingredients in the potting mix, so I will only say here that Performance Organics does not contain any synthetic ingredients.

How the Comparison Trial is Set Up?

Like my other potting mix growing trials, I compare the test subject against other mixes that have performed the best in previous tests. 

Because some microgreens grow in as few as 7 or 8 days, and others might need to grow for a month before harvest, the test includes a quick-growing microgreen and a slow-growing microgreen.

In this case, Red Russian Kale is the quick variety, and Genovese Basil is the slow-growing microgreen. 

Performance Organics is compared to the Home Microgreens Potting Mix and Performance’s synthetic cousin, Miracle-Gro Potting Mix. You can click the links to see the ingredients of each mix.

A tray of each potting mix is planted with both microgreen varieties and grown until they are ready to be harvested.

comparing miracle gro performance organics container mix

Besides comparing the growth and progress of the microgreens, I also compare:

  • the texture of the mix,
  • how well the mix takes on water,
  • if the germination is affected by the mix,
  • how quickly the mix dries out while the microgreens are growing,
  • compare the growth rate, color, and leaf size of the microgreens.

Miracle Gro Performance Organics Review Video

Here is a video touching on the points of comparison for both grows. What I look for the most in a potting mix is how well it takes seed without funneling the seed into holes (smooth texture), and how well it takes in water.

The importance of that is if it doesn’t take water well during planting chances are it will also take on water slower when it is time to bottom water the trays.

Slow-absorbing potting mixes tend to stay wet at the bottom of the tray and too dry near the top giving less room for good root development.

A quick-absorbing potting mix wicks water along the whole profile making for a better growing environment for microgreens.

Here is the video, I will touch on the major points below the video and provide a review of Miracle Gro Performance Organics Container Mix.

Texture and Water Absorption

The texture of Performance Organics is fine and it makes for a good planting surface for microgreen seeds. A smooth surface makes it easier to space seeds more evenly across the planting area and makes for a better, more uniform microgreen canopy.

potting mix textures of miracle-gro and home microgreens potting mix
Home Microgreens Potting Mix on the left, in the center is Miracle-Gro Performance Organics, and on the right is Miracle-Gro Potting Mix (regular).

I spent quite a bit of time showing the pre-wetting of the soil and wetting the seeds. Besides how well the potting mixes grow microgreens, the wetting rate and carrying capacity is very important.

This is because these traits will determine how well the soil wicks water and how easy it will be for roots to weave around the mix as the microgreens grow.

As you can see in the video (and photo above), the Home Microgreens Potting Mix contains a larger percentage of perlite (the white specks) than the other two mixes. Perlite in a mix reduces the compaction of fine-grained particles in the soil allowing water and roots to move through the mix easier.

Perlite also contains a ridiculous amount of pore space for such a small particle and these pores hold water and dissolved nutrients.

Often when you pull out a microgreen from a potting mix you will see the roots hanging on to a piece of perlite. This is because the fine roots grow into the pores to access the nutrient-rich water.

Water pooled on the surface of both trays containing Miracle-Gro potting mixes, the addition of more perlite would help this somewhat especially since they are composed of peat.

miracle gro performance organics review
Water is pooling on the two Miracle Gro Potting Mixes (right two trays).

Peat is hydrophilic when dry and resists wetting. This is why both Miracle-Gro mixes contain one or more ingredients called wetting agents to help wet the peat moss in the mix. 

Another factor for the pooling of a fine mist of water is that the Miracle-Gro mixes are peat-based, while the Home Microgreens Mix is coconut coir-based. Coir wicks water quicker and retains it in the fibers slowing down the loss of water to evaporation.

How Well Did Miracle Gro Performance Organics Grow A Quick-growing Microgreen?

As you saw in the video, and in the photos below, the Red Russian Kale grown in the Performance Organics was the shortest of the three potting mixes. 

growing microgreens with miracle gro performance organics
Red Russian Kale Microgreens grown on Home Microgreens Potting Mix, Miracle-Gro Performance Organics, Miracle-Gro Potting Mix

Now the growth wasn’t bad, if I had to hazard a guess, I would say the Performance Organics was behind about a day compared to the other two potting mixes.

Remember, though, it is being compared to the two best potting mixes I have tested so far. 

Overall, not a bad showing.

How Well Did Miracle Gro Performance Organics Grow A Slow-growing Microgreen?

Basil microgreens are one of the slower-growing microgreens. It takes 20 to 30 days before they are ready to harvest.

Therefore, basil is a good microgreen to test how well a potting mix performs over several weeks of watering and if the nutrients in the potting mix can hold up over the duration. 

I’d like to point out that in the test there are two categories of amendments in play here. The regular Miracle-Gro has quick-release fertilizers with a lesser amount of slow-release fertilizers.

While the HM Potting Mix and Performance Organics have slow-release fertilizers and the amount of early growth will depend on how bioavailable and water soluble those natural fertilizers are.

Some slow-release fertilizers are dependent on bacterial and fungal activity to break down the amendments so the plants can use them. It is unlikely that much of this activity will occur in a microgreen tray.

For this reason, it is hard to decipher how well the NPK analysis provided by the manufacturer will benefit microgreens.  

You can see that both of the Miracle-Gro potting mixes got off to a good start.

basil microgreens
Genovese Basil on Day 21. Potting mixes left to right; HM Potting Mix, MG Performance Organics, MG Potting Mix (standard).

I think the problem with the thinness of the standard mix was more of a user error than a potting mix problem.

As the test progressed, the growth rate of the basil in the Miracle-gro potting mixes slowed down relative to that of the Home Microgreens Potting Mix.

I guess in the end you do get what you pay for as the cheaper Miracle-Gro potting mixes do not contain the same quality of ingredients as those designed for commercial use. 

growing microgreens with miracle gro performance organics potting mix
Basil Microgreens Day 30. Home Microgreens Potting Mix surpassed the Miracle Gro Performance Organics Potting Mix in the last 9 days of the grow. Taller & larger leaves, better color.

Not that Miracle-Gro Performance Organics is a dude. It did grow a nice tray of basil microgreens and if shown by itself would look like an awesome tray of basil.

Keep that in mind when you see advertisements, articles, or videos where someone is touting that their growing media is the best. 

If there is no comparison growth test, take it all with a grain of salt. 

Do I Recommend Miracle Gro Performance Organics for Growing Microgreens?

Performance Organics is a good potting mix and will grow nice trays of microgreens. Both quick-growing and slowing-growing varieties. 

I do recommend it more than the standard Miracle-Gro Potting Mix because it does not contain synthetic chemicals and grows plants as well and the cost is very similar. So why use soil that contains chemicals if there is no advantage either with growth or cost savings? 

Performance Organics is relatively inexpensive and comes in many sizes bags that can be delivered to your door.

If you want more information on Miracle Gro Performance Organic container mix, you can see what Miracle-Gro says about their product by clicking the link.

If you are having problems finding professional potting mixes or don’t want to spend the money on better-designed products then Performance Organics might be the potting mix for you.

Tip: If you are looking for better soils, or one that does contain coconut coir rather than peat moss (see my reasons) go to Google and type in Hydroponic Stores in {your closest city}. They will have the better potting soil blends. 

Of course, you can purchase Home Microgreens Potting Soil in the Home Microgreens Store. As you can see it grows microgreens very well. 

If you like this Miracle Gro Performance Organics review, you can see all of my soil review recommendations here. I will continue to update this page so you will have the most up-to-date information on good soils and eventually non-soil media. 

Author

  • Todd

    Todd is the founder of Home Microgreens & the Home Microgreens store. He also writes for several other websites, including MyViewFromTheWoods.com. Todd worked at a large farm market, garden & nursery center for 20 years. Somehow he snuck off to become a geologist and professor before coming back to his senses to write & lecture about microgreens and gardening. When not at the computer, he can be found in the garden, trout stream, or mountain trail with his new Springer Spaniel Caden.

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