3 Natural and Organic Alternatives to Scotts Potting Soil for Your Container Garden

A bag of Happy Frog Potting Soil


girl holding flowers

When I started gardening I used to use Scotts products all the time. It wasn’t until my siblings started to have kids that I began to think about the consequences of the products I used.

When it was just me touching and eating the plants I grew consequences didn’t matter. After my nephews and niece were born, replacing the potting soil mix I used was my contribution to baby proofing.

The kids are older and for the most part, don’t stick everything in their mouths, but now they’re at the stage where they want to plant seeds and grow their own flowers and vegetables. So, I make sure that the soil and fertilizers I use are either natural or organic and don’t contain chemicals that I have to Wikipedia to make sure they’re safe.

Here are three natural and organic alternatives to Scott's potting soils you can use in your garden to grow a healthy container vegetable garden.

1. Organic Mechanics Potting Soil

Organic Mechanics potting soil

I first became acquainted with the Organic Mechanics brand last summer at a trade show when I spoke to a representative about their new line of seed starting soil. Then this past winter I met Mark Highland, the company's founder, at another event and came away impressed by the feeling that this wasn't just a business for these guys.

Their website says they're passionate about natural, sustainable gardening and I genuinely believe that. The soils are 100% organic, peat-free, and used by home gardeners and professional gardeners. I'll be trialing some of this soil this year because they're starting to produce it here in Illinois, and I want to see how it stacks up against my favorite potting mix.

2. Happy Frog Potting Soil

Happy Frog Potting Soil

I first learned about Happy Frog potting soil by FoxFarm when I toured the rooftop farm at Uncommon Ground in Chicago and discovered that their raised beds were filled with this potting soil. I figured if it was good enough for the nation's first certified organic rooftop farm it would be good enough for my container gardens.

While trying to find Happy Frog potting soil at garden centers I learned that it's popular with people who are into "hydroponics." So don't be surprised if the salesperson laughs or looks at you funny when you ask for it by name. This potting soil is so good that I'm willing to be mistaken for a "hydroponics" grower.

3. Make Your Organic Potting Soil

Tipi Produce's Organic Potting Soil Recipe from the University of Illinois Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture Program (ASAP) Illinois on Vimeo.

In this video of organic farmer Steve Pincus, of Tipi Produce, describes the ideal potting soil. Tipi Produce is a supplier of Whole Foods Market. Probably the best potting soil is the one you make yourself because you know what's going into it.

Penn State Extension website provides information for organic potting mixes that you can make at home. You can make your homemade potting soil mix even more earth-friendly by substituting peat with coconut coir.