Earlier this spring, I started an experiment growing lettuce in two movable raised beds in my backyard. One bed had just plain potting soil and the other I used EcoScraps Raised Bed Garden Mix. I planted both beds with pelleted Salanova lettuce seed from Johnny’s Selected Seeds so I would have a more controlled environment. Unfortunately, my best laid plans were thwarted by our neighborhood cat Sammy who decided to use my EcoScraps bed as a litter box or just moved the light dry material around. Either way, I thought my experiment was over, but decided to let what seed hadn’t been disturbed continue growing. I also cast some radish seed to fill in the empty spots on both beds to see how they would do.
Sammy - our neighborhood kitty, experiment stopper, and mouse catcher
As you can see from the picture below that I took three more weeks later, the EcoScraps Raised Bed Garden mix (on the left) was much more successful compared to the plain old potting soil. To be honest, I’ve used potting soil in my raised beds before with better results than you see on the right. I also used this specific brand to start my Swiss chard this season and had the same stunted growth. I’m not sure what the issue is with this specific brand/version of potting soil, but I know I’ll be using EcoScraps in the future for such applications. We’ve been eating lots of lettuce and a few radishes from the EcoScraps bed, though the warmer summer temperatures have slowed down the emergence of much of the seed I’ve added since.
Raised beds with the EcoScraps mix on the left and plain old potting soil on the right.
Don Abbott (aka The Snarky Gardener) is a gardener, blogger, author, educator, speaker, reluctant activist, and permaculture practitioner from Kent, Ohio. Professionally, he's a software developer but spends his spare time producing food at Snarky Acres, his rented 0.91-acre urban farm. He is also the founder of the Kent, Ohio, chapter of Food Not Lawns and received his Permaculture Design Certification from Cleveland-based Green Triangle. Read all of his MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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