I’ve used ProMix potting soil for years now to start and transplant my seeds and seedlings. I was getting a little low on stockpiled soil, so I went to Menards to buy some more. No luck. The guy said they had discontinued it! Then I checked at several other stores, and they had none and weren’t planning on getting any. Oh oh! I even checked online. Some places had it listed but did not have it “in stock.” (Except one cheap place that I think was a scam; offered free shipping.) Luckily, my friends at the Watering Can, in Cook, Minnesota, bought theirs in the fall of last year and had a truck load (as in semi-truck). I bought six bags and sure hope they can get it again in the fall this year! No, MiracleGro doesn’t work. It’s full of fungus gnats and the plants do terrible in it. It might be okay for larger, more mature plants, but not for seed starting. Nor is Jiffy Mix Seed Starter. That darned stuff won’t absorb water, as it’s so dry. I mean it takes hours! Here’s hoping the ProMix drought is a local thing, and it is resolved by next year!

I was so happy to find some ProMix. After all, pretty soon, it’ll be time to start tomato seeds!

We ran out of one of my favorite pepper’s seeds, Oda. It seems the girls packed up all the seeds we had, and we sold them. Oh oh! As this wonderful purple pepper is so rare, I had a devil of a time finding any more seeds, even online. (One site showed a four-lobed lavender pepper, where Oda is a thick, wedge-shaped pepper.) Finally, I found seeds and today, I planted two dozen, and they are now waiting behind the wood stove to germinate.

hese are our Oda peppers from a better year. Not only are they gorgeous but tasty, too!
I hope to have nice Oda transplants this spring, in their nice ProMix beds. Thankfully, I did find some of both!

— Jackie


  1. I have not been able to find my favorite Promix PGX for at least 4 years here in S. Ontario, Canada.
    But the farm supply people here finally suggested to try the Promix FPX with Biostimulant. It is ground fine and formulated specifically for plug trays and germination trays.
    I bought 4 bales. You might ask for that.

    • Local nursery here in North Mississippi told me today Promix is discontinued! He showed me a brochure of some new medium called Lambert’s that they are going to replace it with!!!

  2. All we have in our area is Jiffy or MiracleGro. I started all my seeds in jiffy and they came up very well thank goodness. I had to buy MiracleGro this weekend as it was the only thing I could find. I’m using it to up-pot some of my starts. Fingers crossed! I used to use Espoma brand and loved it but last couple years the quality went way down and the price up.

    • Check out Menards if you have one nearby. We finally found a brand that’s comprable to ProMix, Sunshine 4. It’s made by the same Canadian company that makes Black Gold, which I used to use until I couldn’t find it anymore. Jiffy’s okay if you can get it to absorb water. It sure sheds water like it was flour though.

  3. You might be able to get some from the Ely Flower and Seed store. I’ve gotten it from them in the past. And then you could come to town and we could have a cup of coffee and a treat :^)

    • That would be nice Nancy. I do have my ProMix stash from The Watering Can in Cook, plus I did find a good mix, Sunshine #4, at Menards. So, I’m all set. Come for a visit some time.

  4. ProMix is used by a lot of pot growers. I actually have to buy mine at a pot nursery here in Maine. (Nope, don’t use the stuff). Don’t know if you have open grow in Minnesota but if you do go check out a pot supplier. Pyro

    • Gee, I answered you, but now it’s gone!! No, I don’t do pot, either. Only flower pots!! Although pot is now legal here, there’s still a lot of mess about growing it so there aren’t any pot nurseries anywhere around here. Maybe that’s a good thing???

  5. Hi Jackie! We have always made our own mix. Peat moss , compost, perlite and organic fertilizer. John puts it all together in a pile and runs the mantis tiller around in it till it’s perfectly blended up. It’s been wonderful 😊

    • I have too, but we just have too much to plant plus it’s always freezing when we go to plant and the homemade mix is frozen solid. We don’t have room to keep it inside. Yes, it’s wonderful if you can make your own. Just like most things!!

  6. I use Sunshine mix #2 and when I can’t find that I use Sunshine mix #4. It went from 24 dollars to 38, and some times in the 50 dollar range all in a matter of a few years. It is so frustrating.
    I’m sure glad you found the pepper seeds and the seedling mix.

      • Yea! I did find Sunshine #4 at Menard’s. They’re selling Sunshine products instead of ProMix. Sunshine is a good brand and I bought a few bags. The good news is that it was only $16 a bag, on sale.

  7. Oh wow! Is another great product going away? It seems all the good products are being swallowed up in corporate deals or run out of business lately. I’m starting my seeds this week. The yard still has two feet of snow covering it with the drifts a foot or so taller. Getting lights and heat to my plants will be a bit of juggling. I’m using coffee cups from the store and some new seed starting trays with a built in light. Hopefully they work. Glad you found the pepper seeds and the gromix.

    • We kind of miss having tons of snow in the yard. It just seems so weird!! The upside is that we’re able to get things done earlier because the ground is bare.

  8. do you have an Amish or Mennonite greenhouse nearby? Their mixes they use are very good for starting seeds. Ace Hardware in Central WI is out of stock for your promix. So there must be something going on!

  9. I ordered 4 compressed bales of Promix BX (60# each) through Ace Hardware to be delivered to my local store. They were $56.99 each with free shipping to the store which I think may be the most I’ve paid. I didn’t look at acehardware.com to see if they had the smaller bags.

    • Yep, it’s gotten VERY expensive. If it wasn’t for our seed business, I’d be making my own seed starting medium like Mia and John do. I’ve done it before, baking each batch in the oven to kill pathogens. Pee U! It sure stinks!

  10. Fortunately, my local source just received several pallets of Pro Mix. Thinking I should go pick up some for a stash. I have also had good luck with Happy Frog. There can be some larger items in the mix, but they are easily sifted or picked out. I do like starting some seeds in Jiffy pellets, but the netting is a pain and does not decompose. I am trying a new product from Jiffy, where the planting material is coir, and they say the netting is biodegradable. The pellets come in boxes of 756 pieces and are less expensive than the peat pellets.

    • Super for you to find it!! I’d for sure pick up some to set aside. I think when what we’ve gotten is gone, that’s going to be it. We don’t have Happy Frog available that I know of. I used Jiffy pellets for years but found that plants I started in 6 packs, in ProMix grew faster and stockier than those I’d started in the pellets. Same varieties, same time. That’s why I switched to all ProMix last year.

  11. Thanks, Jackie, so very much for your patience in answering all my “Ask Jackie” questions. I learn so much from you, and really like your cookbooks, and other books that I have.
    Also thanks for giving us your knowledge and experience about potting mix. Have you ever made your own with the coconut coir and what do you think of it, and making my own? At least my own would be safe as those with the QMRI (?) label, and wouldn’t have sewage sludge in it.

    • Yes, I have made my own, but we just have so much to plant, due to the seed business, we just don’t have the time or space inside needed. Coir is nice but I don’t like it for starting my seeds as there are no nutrients in it. Mixed with other potting mixes, it’s great!!

  12. I’ve been looking for the Promix at Menards too! I figured last week they weren’t planning on getting any when I didn’t see a shelf space for it in the garden center. I love Promix and will now be in the hunt for another way to get it. Happy growing Jackie.

  13. Have never been able to find ProMix around here., Miracal Gro has always been it but especially in the last few years the quality has been horrible. Chunks of wood and larger twigs but the worst has been the mold. If we planted and put in bags then in a warm place , when opened the surface of the soil would be covered in a white mold that seems to snuff out the tiny plants almost like a damping off.
    We need to come up with a simple way to make our own.

    • I noticed the same thing with the seed starting mix, all kinds of sticks and other stuff. I’ve been putting it through a homemade sieve with 1/4″ hardware cloth, which gets much of the stuff out.

      I have an old 18 quart roaster oven, the kind they sell around Thanksgiving for your turkey. I put that thing outdoors (for the smell) and fill a big tray with the potting soil and bake it at roughly 250º for an hour or two. It seems to kill all the nasties in the soil and I haven’t had any trouble since then. Yes, it takes a long time to do all the soil I use every spring and it’s a drag that it has to be done, but it’s better than losing seedlings. I suppose I could rig up a solar cooker in the summer to bake the soil for the next spring and then store the starter soil carefully so it doesn’t get reinfected. Will have to experiment.

    • For home gardeners, you can make your own seed starting medium by mixing good soil, rotted compost, using a sieve to separate out the big stuff, then baking it, as above. Unfortunately, we use many big bags of ProMix and making our own would not be an option. For now, I’m going to stock up on expensive ProMix, as I feel that it’s going to disappear soon. For good. Ugh!!

  14. Yes, the Pro-mix was very late showing up here (Texas) last year and so I bought a bunch and stashed it for future years. This year it showed up at our local Walmart but not at any of the other Walmarts in the area or the other stores. So I bought more so I wouldn’t use up my stash but I think it’s last year’s Pro-mix. It’s very dry and the mycorrhizae that usually is growing all over in it seems dead. And it cost $18 for 2 cu ft instead of $13.

    • Yep, everything has taken a big jump up. Like groceries, lumber and about everything else! I did hear some Walmarts are supposed to be carrying it this year. But none of the stores within decent driving distance have it and were “unsure” if they would be having it at all.

      • yeah i looked at menards as well and they didn’t have any either. Then went to walmart and found some, and they never carried it before so im excited, my hot peppers are growing very slow getting really impatient to transplant them into bigger pots, just not sure when i am able to do so.

  15. Holland Industry website has it at 50 to 60 dollars for a 3.8 cubic foot bag. I don’t know what you paid, but that seems high. There are still small bags which I will be switching to, I agree on not using miraclegro anymore as none of my house plants seem to do well in it. Ace hardware is supposed to have it too so going to check with them.

    • Yep, I checked out the Ace hardwares in our area. No dice. Yes, that’s expensive. No, I didn’t pay that much. But it is not cheap!! I searched the internet too but couldn’t find a reputable source. One source was a scam: $15 a bale and “free” shipping. Yea, if it is too good to be true, it isn’t true.
      So far, no ProMix at all around here, other than The Watering Can in Cook, Mn.

  16. Thank you! for the ‘miriclegro’ hint! its about the only starter in this area. I’ve wondered at the way seeds do/dont and the gnats!!!! so glad i didn’t stock up. I’m going to scrounge around for Promix to start the rest of my seeds. Thanks Jackie! so glad you found the Oda pepper seed. i hope to buy some from you for next years starts.Happy gardening

    • I can’t figure why a huge company like MiracleGro would put out such an array of terrible products. I do sometimes use it for large plants in pots, in my yard and they seem okay, but when a friend transplanted a bunch of well-started tomatoes in it, they all died within a few days!! Not good!

  17. Well this weekend I will be checking the “where to buy ProMix” in my area. And yes, hopefully the “shortage” is a short term issue.
    Still a bit early for me to start any seeds – I don’t care if the weather has been unseasonable warm. I do want to get out and dig some weeds. But of course after the second rain this week, the temps will drop. However *maybe* 30 minutes of weeding in 40 degree weather is doable (gloves or no gloves).
    Looking forward to my state being cicada central. I’ve lived in this area my whole life but until we moved to this house, never experienced cicadas. Previously lived “in town” (if you want to call it that) as well as an area that was farmland (meaning “disturbed” land – aka few trees but excellent, and I do mean excellent, soil).

    • Good luck with your ProMix hunt. It’s gone here and many other spots in the country. We’ve had cicadas before and I kind of love them. They don’t seem to do damage and I enjoy hearing their “song”, a kind of buzz, in the trees.
      Will has all the old fence down and gone in the front yard as well as several dead and dying trees cut out of the wooded area next to it. I want to pull the peony support cages from the flower beds, but our temp has dived again and the ground’s frozen.

    • That, it was!! Too early to start tomatoes yet, but I want to get some snapdragons, petunias and pansies started meanwhile. Happy spring!


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