Hydro Store Soil vs. Garden Center Soil


Hydro Store Soil vs. Garden Center Soil

Ever wonder what the difference is between the big chain store soil and soil sold at a hydro store? Price? Brands sold? Besides prices and brands, the differences might surprise you!

Better Quality. Better Prices.

Most hydro stores have higher quality soils compared to the basic offerings of a big box garden center. Think of a hydro store as a performance auto parts store for plants. The soils are amended with higher quality ingredients and some that you'll never find in the big brand soils. Hydro stores will have small batch and local or regional soils that you won't find in a garden center. Typically the biggest brands you'll see in a hydro store are Foxfarm or Black Gold.

What the average gardener doesn't know is that often times the cheapest (good) soil is going to be found at the hydro store, not at the chain store or nursery. Although in recreational and medical states the chain stores are coming down on their prices more aggressively, the hydro store still usually wins out. If they don't, take a picture of the price and ask if they price match, they most likely will as long as it is the same product.

Soil Storage and Why it is Important!

Chain stores that have a garden center will usually have all their heavy bagged products like soil and fertilizers stored outside. Sometimes under cover, sometimes not. However, a hydro store will almost always have their premium soils and fertilizers stored indoors and climate controlled. What's the difference mean? For one, being kept out of the elements and rain means that bag of soil isn't soaking up an extra 20 pounds of water weight, making moving several bags much easier. But the big difference is - Bugs! Soil stored outdoors will almost always get infested by bugs. Mainly fungus gnats, but other baddies can move in as well.

Why is bug free soil so important?

If you're growing indoors having pest free soil is a very important part of keeping a clean and thriving grow room. Infestations can cause harvest losses if it is bad enough. Buying soil stored outdoors greatly increases the chances of getting an infestation in your grow room. So next time you're going to buy soil, stop by your local hydro shop or order some online (though expensive unless you're buying a pallet of soil) rather than buying from some chain store garden center. It'll usually be great pricing, but even if they are a buck or two more the indoor storage is well worth the small amount to ensure bug free soil.

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