When it comes to selecting the appropriate soil for your garden or landscaping job, there are two types of earth you will need to be familiar with: topsoil and garden soil. Because using the wrong soil can result in a total washout after a heavy rain or your flowers and plants won’t be getting the right nutrients. Knowing when to choose the correct one can mean a world of difference for your garden.
“Garden soil” is a type of soil labeled as such by retailers because it is premixed with other materials, not because it is a separate type of soil. In an attempt to mimic your landscape, garden, or flowerbed, garden soil is mixed differently to suit a variety of plants, shrubs, etc. They are not all created equal, and a buyer should understand the mixture and how it will affect their current situation before making a purchase.
Topsoil is named as such because it refers to the top 6 to 12-inches of earth. For most gardens, it is best to avoid topsoils that have clay, sand, or silt in them because they often stop moisture from penetrating to the roots after a rain, and do not allow for proper air irrigation. Topsoil is a multi-purpose soil that is fine when mixed with other things like fertilizer and organic matters.
Which One to Choose?
As with most things to do with gardening, which one you choose will depend on your needs and soil conditions. Performing a soil test to determine your soil’s pH levels and nutrient needs is a great way to start. This way, you will then be able to select the appropriate soil that will balance things like acidity, nitrogens, soluble potash levels and so on.
Additionally, you might want to consider price as a contributor. If you are planning a large scale job and need to replace much of the existing soil, consider topsoil because it tends to be less expensive. Similarly, it’s not a good idea to simply use garden soil in all situations. Garden soil is usually plant specific, so purchasing a large amount for one job may not work. If you have a lot of space, consider blending them for optimum results.
You still have time to get your topsoil before spring officially takes off!