clean garden soil free of pesticides...

Asked March 11, 2019, 4:27 PM EDT

Hello, I need good clean garden soil in bulk, but lots of local companies call their soil organic just because they have added organic materials to it. This might include pesticide laden grass and leaves made into "compost". The soil is generally not tested for pesticides and I can't believe they get away with calling it organic! One company told me they used cow manure for their compost, and we all know that can be a real problem given how they are raised and fed. Are there any sources of clean soil you are aware of? This is for raised bed gardening, and I need about 10 cubic feet. Thanks

Prince George's County Maryland soil vegetables compost raised bed media

3 Responses

Maryland does not have regulations that set standards for soil sales.
However, Leaf-Gro is a Maryland made composted product that is regularly tested and analyzed. Here is their FAQ page, and note that you can search retailers who carry bags and/or bulk.
We recommend a 70/30 mix of topsoil and Leaf-Gro for a raised bed.
Some bulk dealers will mix it with topsoil for you and deliver:

Compost that is properly managed should get hot enough (and regularly turned) to kill pathogens. The risk of minute amounts of pesticides being found in commercially available soil/compost is extremely low. With few exceptions, herbicides are short-lived in soil and rarely show up as a problem, and when they do it is clearly evident.

The only way you can be sure of 'clean soil' is to use or make your own sterile mix, but it will lack important beneficial microorganisms present in healthy soil.

See more here:


thank you for the information, sounds like we need some new regulations so people aren't trying to dupe consumers! When pesticides are present, someone shouldn't be allowed to say it is organic!

Regarding the 70/30 mix, is there a concern the leaf grow gets too compacted? You mentioned some bulk retailers, do you have any resources in that regard?

I had spoken to the leafgro producers before I contacted this website, I was told they only test every two years. This is an issue, and as you hinted, I won't know if I have a problem until it's too late, and 10 cubic yards is a lot of soil to have a problem with. I have seen too many gardens ruined for two years with a bad batch of compost. Thanks

Organic matter is used to keep soil from being compacted. We do not have concerns about Leaf-Gro compacting.

The retail sources for Leaf-Gro are on its homepage (above) and we do not have additional sources.