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Fox Farm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Review 2024 – Pros, Cons & Final Verdict

Fox Farm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Review - Featured Image

Review Summary

Our Final Verdict

We give Fox Farm Ocean Forest Potting Soil a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Nutrient Quality: 5/5
Drainage Quality: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5

As gardening becomes more popular, customers are seeking higher-quality potting soils and ingredients to give their plants the best chance of success. Fox Farm’s Premium Ocean Forest potting soil blend is formulated with everything that your plant needs: earthworm castings, bat guano, forest humus, sphagnum peat moss, crab meal, fish emulsion, and more.

You might pay a premium price for this potting soil, but the blend of high-quality ingredients has a light texture perfectly suited for starting seeds, and it works great for most container plants. Let’s check out the pros and cons of this soil, when to use it, and other important info you might be interested in.

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Fox Farm Ocean Forest Potting Soil – A Quick Look

Fox Farm Ocean Forest Potting Soil

Pros
  • 100% organic ingredients
  • Doesn’t require many amendments
  • Bat guano adds unique antifungal protection for plants
  • Sandy loam and sphagnum peat moss give the soil an airy, light texture
  • Earthworm castings improve water retention, aerate soil, and anchors plant nutrients
  • Fish emulsion & crab meal provide high levels of nitrogen
Cons
  • Reviewers note the soil gets dry in hot climates
  • May benefit from perlite or vermiculite
  • More expensive than comparable brands

Specifications

Soil pH: 6.3–6.8
Available Sizes: 12 quarts, 1.5 cubic feet, 3 cubic feet, 27 cubic feet, 55 cubic feet
Ingredients: Aged forest products, sphagnum peat moss, earthworm castings, bat guano, fish emulsion, crab meal

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Fox Farm Ocean Forest Base & Composts

The base for this potting soil contains high-quality and sustainably sourced ingredients, including aged forest products, sphagnum peat moss, forest humus, and sandy loam soil. The humus is provided by decomposing earthworm castings, which anchor nutrients in the soil and help the soil’s structure remain stable. Forest humus also encourages beneficial soil organisms to populate the soil, providing a host of other benefits.

Sphagnum peat moss is an essential base ingredient, holding up to 20 times its weight in water. This keeps the surrounding soil and plants supplied with valuable water without flooding and prevents the soil from drying prematurely. Sphagnum also contains sulfur, which is essential for crops like beans.

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Fox Farm Ocean Forest Drainage & Aeration Agents

This soil blend has a robust combination of drainage and aeration compounds that provide plants with the perfect mix of water retention and drainage. The main agents providing aeration and drainage are aged forest products (including bark), sandy loam, and sphagnum peat moss.

Bat Guano for Nutrition and Disease Protection

Bat guano, which is just bat feces, is an unusual but beneficial ingredient in this upscale soil mix. Feces is already healthy for plants, but bats’ diet of fruit and insects gives it unique characteristics. Bat guano has antifungal and antibacterial properties for the soil, which extends to your plants.

One of the pests that bat guano repels is nematodes, which are despised for their wanton garden destruction. It also inoculates plant roots against common soil-borne diseases.

Fox Farm Ocean Forest Extra Ingredients

The other notable ingredients in this soil blend include fish emulsion, crab meal, and shrimp meal. These ingredients are high in nitrogen and phosphorus but won’t burn your plants like man-made fertilizers.

Crab meal is also known to repel common pests like ants and slugs. Over time, these natural ingredients break down in the soil to release nutrients at a steady pace. Chemical fertilizers, on the other hand, release their nutrients all at once and risk chemical burns to your plants.

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May Benefit From Perlite Amendment

We mentioned that this soil doesn’t require amending with perlite, which is true. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t benefit from extra perlite, though. Mixing a few cups of perlite in with the soil before adding it to pots or the ground will help the soil stay airy and prevent soil compaction.

Out of the bag, Fox Farm Ocean Forest soil will work great for your plants, but we’d suggest throwing some perlite in there if compacted soil is an issue for your environment.

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FAQs on the Fox Farm Ocean Forest

What types of plants can I use this soil for?

Fox Farm Ocean Forest soil is formulated to work for nearly any plant, but we’d recommend it for container planting, trees, vegetable plants, shrubs, and flowers. Plants that require specific nutrients not provided by the soil may need amendment, so be careful.

What’s the difference between Ocean Forest and Happy Frog soils?

Both are offered by Fox Farms, but they’re not identical. Both soils contain earthworm castings, sphagnum peat moss, bat guano, and aged forest products. Happy Frog doesn’t have the ocean-borne ingredients, however. Instead, it has beneficial humic acids and microbes. Overall, Ocean Forest is the premium soil blend to Happy Frog’s economical soil solution.

Should Fox Farm Ocean Forest soil be used alone or mixed with native soil?

It’s intended to be used for container planting, and their site doesn’t recommend mixing with native soil because it can introduce other diseases to the soil. However, they say you should 1 part native soil to 2 parts Fox Farm soil if you intend to mix soils.

Potting soil in a sack with a shovel and a flower pot
Image Credit: M. Schuppich, Shutterstock

Does Fox Farm Ocean Forest require fertilizer?

Fox Farm recommends not using fertilizer when you start using the soil, and to wait a couple of weeks before introducing fertilizer to the soil. This way, you can closely observe your plants for dietary deficiencies and other important problems. If your plants are looking a little wilted after 2 weeks in the soil, consider supplementing with fertilizer or compost.

Is Fox Farm soil sterilized like other commercial potting mixes?

No, Fox Farm doesn’t sterilize its potting soil because that would kill beneficial microbes and organisms in the soil. The manufacturer is very outspoken about only using sustainable, 100% organic ingredients with nothing artificial, so you know what you’re getting in each bag you order.

What the Users Say

User reviews are a powerful tool when you are trying to sort out the chaff from the best products on the market. To save you time, we’ve picked out some of the most useful info from user reviews, both good and bad. Let’s check those out below.

  • Some users note the soil dries out fast in direct sunlight.
  • A few reviews mention the soil has some perlite but could use more to prevent soil compaction if you water irregularly.
  • Several reviews say this soil is very high-quality and worked well to boost their plants’ health and yields.
  • A few critical reviewers say their products arrived opened or otherwise damaged.
  • Most reviews agree that the soil is more expensive than others but backs up the price with high-quality ingredients.
  • A few reviews are surprised by the perlite content, considering that the bag doesn’t list it as an ingredient.

Of course, Amazon is one of the best places to check out reviews from other customers, and you can read about them here.

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Conclusion

Fox Farm Ocean Forest soil is an excellent, albeit pricey, soil blend full of all the stuff your plants need to thrive. For veggies, you may even enjoy increased yields from the array of nutrients in the soil. If you are worried about compacted soil, we would suggest adding some perlite to make the soil airier. However, most plants should do just fine with this all-natural potting soil!

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