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Gardener issues warning after being left with painful rash from new bag of soil: 'Always ask yourself why is this so cheap'

"I'm so wary of all the bagged composts I see at the box stores."

"I’m so wary of all the bagged composts I see at the box stores."

Photo Credit: iStock

Composting your garden can be a dirty, smelly job. As one gardener discovered, it can also be a painful one if you aren't careful. The gardener — who learned the hard way that all compost is not equal — shared a warning to fellow gardeners in a Reddit post to r/gardening

"Make sure you know what's in your compost," they wrote before further explaining that they bought a new compost in a blue and white bag at their local supply store for $1.79, a price that made it "super attractive and affordable."

"Apparently there is quite a lot of poison ivy/oak in the mix because my hands are absolutely welped up. It's on the side of my face and neck where I had been packing it on my shoulder too. If you've seen the compost I'm talking about be cautious and wear protection."

Poison ivy is native to North America but acts as an invasive plant in that it spreads quickly and can harm other native plants. Many gardeners have had to battle it in their own yards, and some have devised fool-proof processes to keep it from contacting their skin when dealing with it. 

As the OP learned, the poisonous plant can cause a painful rash when it touches your skin. If you come into contact with it, you should wash your skin, clothing, and anything else that may have come into contact with it immediately to prevent the rash from spreading. If any pets come into contact with it, you should also wash them, as it can be toxic to them. 

One animal that doesn't get sick from it because of their strong stomachs is goats, and they are often used as an eco-friendly way to remove the aggressive plant. 

The OP warned other buyers to be cautious and wear protection if they see the compost they are talking about, but it is better to not buy it at all and risk unleashing poison ivy. 

Healthy soil is key to healthy gardens, so it is one thing you want to make sure you know what's in it and don't cheap out on. 

"Always ask yourself why is this so cheap," advised one commenter. "Feel better soon!" 

"I'm so wary of all the bagged composts I see at the box stores," said another. "I see tons of people posting pictures of glass, plastic, and metal mixed in." 

If you don't want to take the risk, there are plenty of ways to make your own nutrient-rich soil and compost to keep your lawn natural and free of any problem plants. 

As a bonus, going au natural with your yard can save you money and time on lawn maintenance and reduce your water bills since native plants require much less water and fertilizers. You'll also attract pollinators to your yard, even if you only replace part of your lawn with low-maintenance options such as clover — a win-win for you and the planet. 

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