A friend had told me that Menards had a potting mix called Sunshine #4 that she bought, and she really liked it. So, when Will and I were in Virginia (Minnesota), we went to look. Yep, they had big bags of it for $15. We bought two and when we got home, I opened one of them and dampened it with hot water to hurry the soaking in process. It was very nice. Fluffy peat with no debris. It also had dolomite to sweeten up the peat plus pearlite and mycorrhizae added. But the germination/growing thing was still unknown. So, I researched the company that made it. It’s a Canadian company, like ProMix and also made Black Gold potting medium, which I’d used several years ago until it became unavailable. That’s when I switched to ProMix. Feeling much better, I planted a flat of “test” peppers in 6-packs. Whew! I’m going to buy a few more bags to keep on hand … just in case.

I really like Sunshine #4 potting soil! Whew, we weren’t sure what we’d do down the road.

I’d been worrying about my main crop peppers which still hadn’t popped up after more than a week. That’s unusual for them. But, today, a few are starting to show. I think the slow germination is because at night the house cools down after the wood in the stove has burned up. Even though the daytime temps behind the stove are about 85 degrees, at night it does get cooler. And peppers germinate best at 80-95 degrees. At lower temperatures, they take longer to germinate, up to a month sometimes! I guess I was just getting impatient. But then, I do have a lot of tomatoes to get planted and not any more room to set flats. I’m really glad things are looking up!

Even though my flats are about 85 degrees during the day, behind the stove, they do cool at night.
I can’t wait for the weather to warm up with REAL spring weather so I can see some of my peonies again.

— Jackie


  1. whew! my peppers areas slow as yours. so i l be patient a bit longer. yep no Pro in Northwest, will have to search for #4 sunshine.It looks like the ‘old ‘style of potting mix-back in the good old days” thanks for sharing.

  2. We are fortunate to have big box stores that carry the Promix. I’ll be getting some soon! So glad you found a substitute you are happy with.

  3. I’ve been using Sunshine mix for about 12 years now with great results. It used to be $24 a “bale” now it is anywhere from $38 – 52!
    That flower photo is pure beauty!

    • That’s great to hear. I feel confident in it as I used the company’s other product, Black Gold and really liked it.
      I can’t wait until we see colors again!!

  4. Thank you for sharing about the Sunshine # 4. I will see if the Menards close to me has some. I have been unable to find Pro Mix anywhere. I am going to try growing potatoes in containers this year and need some decent soil for the grow bags. I’m watching the weather this morning and it looks like you are in for some more snow and winter weather. That’s hard to take after having such warm weather. I hope we get some rain from that system. I am so ready for true spring weather. I have peonys, iris and rhubarb peeking up now and it makes me anxious for warm sunny weather. Sending prayers for a blessed week.

    • Thanks Marilyn. Our daughter in Illinois got Sunshine #4 at her Menards. So, I’m hoping others can get it there too.
      Yep, our weather definitely turned winter again. No snow yet, but windy and in the twenties. Brr. I’m so spoiled!

  5. I just looked on Walmart.com . They have a lot of different types of Pro-Mix. Which do you normally use? I see where I am it is a 3 day delivery. They also have Sunshine #4…….. Might be worth looking at. If you have Walmart+ shipping is free. If you don’t, I would be willing to order for you (I would need the amount for the actual product) but get you free shipping. I am sure you know of other folks near you that have Walmart+. Members can arrange for shipping where ever (at least in the U.S.)

    • The only ProMix I’ve found at Walmart, online, was in small bags and we use bushels!! No, I don’t have Walmart +. Maybe others will have better luck than I did. We used the white bags of ProMix BX or the blue compressed bales and plenty of them!

  6. My peppers were slow to emerge-10-12 days. Some-around 1/4 never did sprout. I heat with wood but temp fairly constant. I was stuck with miracle grow potting soil and had to run it through a screen to improve it, then I poured boiling water on to kill the “rascals”. I couldn’t get any Promix. I’ll check Menards for the Sunshine brand. Snow for my area tonight. 5-8 inches predicted. Ugh!

    • You’ve got that right! We were supposed to get snow last night, but it dawned sunny and clear. No snow. Yet. Be sure to spritz your peppers with fish emulsion or other soluable fertilizer when they get their second set of leaves as the MiracleGro seems to be lacking. Had a lot of friends’ plants die after only a week or two out of the soil from sprouting.

  7. Jackie, I searched far and wide in NW Washington for Promix and found nothing anywhere near by. Our local Lowe’s says they carry the Sunshine #4 so will give it a try. I’ve already planted all my tomatoes, in sifted Miracle Grow raised bed, and i’m not happy with the results. I had to replant many seeds. I’ll transplant them once I get the new dirt and hope I get better results. They are in a greenhouse on heat mats and the last week has been warm, yet the plants have grown little. You are likely correct about the soil. I thought it was something I was doing wrong. Still might be but I have a renewed hope in better ideas, and soil.

    • I’m thinking it’s the soil. I’ve had friends’ plants die after only two weeks or so following sprouting. Transplanting them into a better soil might help.

  8. I couldn’t find any Pro-Mix last year except at one Walmart store. Same thing this year. They have what seems like plenty at a different Walmart store near St Louis MO.

    • A lot of times, it SEEMS like a store has it, but when you go there or call them, it’s an “out of stock” thing or they only have those little bags, which we sure can’t use, as we use bushels of it.

  9. Yes, I did use that, to start my habaneros and a few other later season hot peppers. I still have a little left over from last year, but we sure use a lot, especially when transplanting hundreds of seedlings.
    We’re getting winter again, with a storm going to move in on Sunday. I don’t know how much snow we’ll end up with and we sure need moisture!!

  10. thank you for sharing about the promix and the new kind you found. Around central WI the Ace hardwares have been advertising the promix.

    I just love all of your seedlings popping up and growing. I miss doing that.

  11. Hello Miss Jackie….I heat with wood also and I found the same thing happening with my peppers. I do believe you are correct about the night temps. Glad you figured out the ProMix. I use that as well but have to buy it at the “pot nursery” stores because we don’t have any other place to buy it. Love seeing all the little bags of future plants around the wood stove. Decorations only a gardener appreciates :-). Pyro

  12. If memory serves, didn’t you put some ProMix in a tote or other container to keep it “pet” free? Did you use that up already?
    Plenty of Maynards in this area so might try a bag of Sunshine #4. Price seems reasonable and if you catch the 11% off (rebate in form of store credit) or 15% what you can fit in a bag, might be able to lay in a stash. Still haven’t made it to local Wally to check for ProMix (make plans, life happens).
    Back to more seasonable temps here – might get a bit-o-snow here Friday. Moisture is moisture.


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