Landscape Supply: Key Differences Between Garden Soil and Topsoil

When a Colts Neck, NJ, homeowner wants to plant a vegetable garden but has no idea where to begin, the best place to start could be the soil. Healthy soil is the foundation for thriving plants, which also improves the surrounding environment. So, before you visit our landscape supply, you’ll want to help your clients understand the key differences between garden soil and topsoil.

Topsoil Characteristics

Topsoil is exactly what it sounds like—soil taken from the top of the earth. The exact composition is reflective of where it was collected. So if the topsoil was packaged in Connecticut, the soil will most likely contain quite a bit of sand. If the soil was collected in West Virginia, it will contain clay. Topsoil is typically not transported far from where it was collected because the cost of shipping is high due to the heavy weight.

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Garden Soil Characteristics

Garden soil is usually a mixture of sand, silt, clay, and dirt. Enriched with organic matter and sometimes fertilizer, garden soil is designed to reduce the amount of irrigation necessary as it holds in moisture better than average soil. Plants grow well with garden soil because it also drains better from reduced compaction, allowing light and air to reach the roots. It can contain small pieces of bark or tiny pebbles to keep it from settling once it is spread and the plants have been put in place.

Preparing for Planting

Landscape Supply: Key Differences Between Garden Soil and Topsoil Colts Neck, NJ

Beginning with testing the soil pH is a necessary first step. Magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, potassium, and sometimes nitrogen must be present in the correct ratios. If the soil of the Colts Neck, NJ, yard and garden is out of range for healthy plant growth, you could suggest amending the soil with organic matter such as manure or compost. You want to improve both the nutrients available and the compaction of the soil.

Organic matter also improves the drainage. Plants or new grass that constantly sits in water will decay and die, resulting in no plants and maximum frustration. Covering the ground with some form of mulch, whether it is straw, shredded bark, or pine needles could help to keep the moisture in the ground for the new plants.

Select Plants That Will Thrive

There is nothing more discouraging than taking on the expense and effort of preparing soil and installing plants only to see them languish or grow below expectations. That is why the homeowners you work with need to choose plants that will thrive in our area. The choice of plantings becomes a joint effort between you and them. While your clients may have loved the palm trees or flowering bushes they saw on vacation to Florida, those will not grow in the New Jersey climate. Most vegetables will flourish in a summer garden, but plants native to other hardiness zones will be finicky.

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When you are ready to plant the selections your clients have made for their yards, LE-ED Concrete & Supply Co. has everything you need to create a successful and gorgeous garden. From topsoil to quality garden soil to plants to mulch, we are your one-stop resource for your landscape supply.