Topsoil is the most important component of your garden. Whether you are landscaping your yard or you are rebuilding your flower beds, it is important to use the right soil.
If you use the wrong type of top soil, all your hard work may be of no use. Using the wrong soil may result in washing away of soil during the first heavy rain. If your top soil lacks nutrients, your flowers might fail to bloom.
You should be very careful about choosing the right type of soil for your garden. You should know the difference between soil, topsoil and gardening soil.
Today, we are going to tell you about the importance of top soil. We will also discuss the difference between top soil and garden soil. By the end of this article, you will know everything about topsoil and its uses in your garden.
What is Topsoil?
Topsoil Is the top layer of soil visible on the surface of the earth. Organic matter (decaying organisms, living and dead) present in it gives it a darker shade than the soil underneath it.
The top soil layer is usually 4 to 12 inches deep. Variation in depth depends on location.
For gardening-related tasks, don’t use clay, sandy, clay and slit topsoils. This is because these types of soil retain moisture after it rains. As a result, air cannot reach the plant roots. Therefore to ensure proper air circulation in plant roots, avoid using such types of soil.
Topsoils that have a loamy texture and are composed of 26 to 51 percent silt, 6 to 27 percent clay, and under 53 percent sand are considered as best. These topsoils have a low water retention capacity. But they are very easy to till.
In comparison to garden soil, topsoil is sold in larger quantities as per the needs. Top soil can be seen as a general-purpose soil mix. Depending on what your garden needs, you can add compost, fertilizer or other organic matter to it.
What is Garden Soil?
Whenever you visit a nursery or departmental store, You might have seen packages “garden soil”. Garden soil is often sold as a separate type of soil. But that is not true.
The soil present in your garden has its own unique texture. It has its own combination of silt, sand, clay and many different minerals. Packaged garden soils are made to target a specific type of plant or garden.
For different types of vegetables, gardens, and flowers you can find different types of garden soil in the market. If you are planning to buy garden soil in bulk, know the sources the soil company uses for making garden soil. By doing this, you can be sure the garden soil will blend well with the existing soil present in your garden.
Why do I Need Topsoil?
Topsoil helps to improve the quality of garden soil. If your garden soil is well-draining, easy to till, rich in nutrients, then there is no need to add top soil. However, in regions with heavy, sandy and dry soil, clay soil, topsoil helps gardeners to grow a wide variety of plants.
It is very easy to test the quality of your soil. let me tell you the process-
- Pick up a handful of soil.
- Squeeze the soil between your forefinger and thumb.
- Sandy soil will break apart easily. Clay soil forms a ribbon 3 to 4 inches long. Loam soil (topsoil) will form a ribbon about an inch long before breaking.
Checking Quality of TopSoils
Gardeners can easily check the quality of topsoil. Any of the rock fragments should not be wider than 3 inches across. Also, the percentage of rock should not be more than 5 percent.
Large lumps of organic matter should not be present in topsoil. The soil needs to be moist and loose. Don’t purchase top soil if the seller is not allowing you to examine a sample. Also, do not buy it if he doesn’t tell you the ingredients and source of extraction.
Choosing Between Garden Soil and Topsoil
Whether you use garden soil or topsoil in your garden completely depends on what your garden needs.
The Best way to decide is to perform a soil test. Performing a soil test will tell you what nutrients your garden lacks. Depending on the test results, go for topsoil or garden soil that has those nutrients.
Additionally, along with comparing the ingredients in the soils, considering the price is also important. the price. High-quality garden soils are very expensive to buy. Whereas topsoils are much cheaper in comparison to topsoil.
Topsoil is ideal and best for general-purpose landscaping. Whereas packaged garden soil is prepared for a specific type of plant. If you have a lot of space to cover in your garden, you might consider mixing some of each is great if you have to cover a large space.
How to Use Topsoil?
- Break up the upper layer of the soil to a depth of 4 to 5 inches. Use a garden fork for this.
- Mix in 3 to 4 inches of topsoil with the already present soil. Whatever topsoil is left, spread it on the top.
- Before planting any plants, you can add ready to use fertilizer 12-4-8. spread the fertilizer at a rate of 4 tablespoons per 4 square feet. Or, add the fertilizer as per the need of the plants and soil.