The Coast of Maine family of organic gardening products offer a unique blend of compost-based soil mixes, soil supplements, and fertilizers. Most of their soil mixes contain shellfish (usually lobster and/or crab shells) which are high in calcium and chitins (pronounced kite-ins) along with worm castings, seaweed or kelp, perlite, and sphagnum peat. We've been using their Quoddy Blend Lobster Compost for the past two seasons and this year we're going to try their Stonington Blend Grower's Mix and Stonington Plant Food. All the Coast of Maine products except the topsoil are OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) approved
For years we've been using Fox Farm Ocean Forest potting soil for our seed starting and even though we're trying different potting soils, we still like Fox Farm products. Two years ago our garden center started carrying Coast of Maine products and the first CoM product we bought was the Quoddy Blend Lobster Compost, and it's still our favorite CoM product. It's made with lobster shells, compost, and peat humus. It doesn't contain any perlite which is a plus because we mix the CoM Lobster Compost at a one-to-one ratio with the Fox Farm Ocean Forest potting soil, and the Fox Farm mix has quite a bit of perlite so the resulting soil mix comes out just right. We also buy a few extra bags of the Lobster Compost to use as a side dressing for the vegetables which we apply about half-way through the growing season.
The Stonington Blend Grower's Mix is a compost-based soil blend that uses the Coast of Maine Lobster Compost as the base, then incorporates mycorrhizal fungi, worm castings, fish bone and alfalfa meal, kelp, peat, and coir to formulate a kind of 'super'soil' that's perfect for container gardening. We don't do much container gardening but we're trying the Stonington Blend for the first time this season for our seed starting. The Stonington Grower's Mix is slightly more expensive than other potting soils ( MSRP of $29.99 per 1.5 cubic feet), but you don't need to add any additional nutrients to the mix - all you need to add is water and sunshine. According to the CoM website, a 1.5 cubic foot bag of the Stonington Mix will fill a ten-gallon pot. We use 3" cell packs for all our seed starting and after filling two flats (36 cell packs), there's still more than half a bag of the Stonington Mix left.
The Bar Harbor Blend Premium Potting Soil is a lighter weight potting mix that is designed for hanging baskets, house plants, window boxes, and containers, but we tried it with a few cell packs last year and the seeds (sunflowers) did fine. If you're using the Bar Harbor Blend for longer season container gardening, unlike the Stonington Blend, you'll need to add some kind of fertilizer to the potting soil. The Bar Harbor Blend is made with lobster shells, salmon, blueberry, sphagnum peat, perlite and kelp meal.
Finding an OMRI-listed plant food isn't that easy so the Coast of Maine Stonington Organic Plant Food was a welcome find, and is another CoM product we're using for the first time this growing season. The Stonington Plant Food is an organic granular fertilizer made from (according to the label) fish meal, earthworm castings, alfalfa meal, feather meal, potassium sulfate, kelp meal, kelp extract, and Epsom salts. Most fertilizers have different sized granules which can make it difficult to evenly distribute the fertilizer, but the CoM Stonington granules are all one size which makes it easier and more consistent when broadcasting across larger areas. CoM also offers four more granular plant foods, and four liquid plant foods. All are OMRI-listed.
The image below shows the four Coast of Maine products we're using this year:
The image below shows a sample of the Coast of Maine Stonington Blend, Lobster Compost, and Fox Farm's Ocean Forest potting soil. Not shown is the Bar Harbor Blend potting soil.
You can find more info and store locations on the Coast of Maine website, but we couldn't find out the shipping cost for purchasing the products online without creating an account. The CoM products are available at select brick-and-mortar garden centers which is where we shop, and if you don't have a garden center nearby most of their products are also available on Amazon. Amazon carries the Lobster Compost blend, the Stonington Grower's Mix, the Fox Farm Ocean Forest soil, and the Stonington plant food, along with quite a few of the other Coast of Maine products.
The Coast of Maine has been in business since the mid-90s and have come to represent unique, sustainable, quality products. Not the cheapest, but thus far they've been well worth the minimal added cost.
Here's a basic overview of some Coast of Maine products we're using this year: