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Buying Topsoil - Guide

Need help buying topsoil? this buyers guide should help answer some of the questions you may have.

Buying topsoil can be a confusing job, especially with so many different suppliers, grades and the different terminology used by different suppliers.  We have put together this simple buyers guide to make things a little easier for you.

What is Topsoil?

Topsoil is the top 10 to 30 cm of soil in the ground, it differs from sub soil by having an organic matter content.  Organic matter is the essential ingredient of any topsoil, it contains the essential nutrients that plants and mirco organisms feed off and also improves the structure of the soil by improving drainage and locking in  moisture around plant roots.  Essentially without organic matter a soil is infertile. more info

Choosing the right topsoil ?

When buying topsoil it is important to choose a topsoil that is fit for the purpose you intend to use it for, any topsoil you buy should come from a reputable supplier and should have been analysed for contamination and fertility.  Topsoil should be sourced from site clearance operations prior to development or virgin soils, not from soils recovered from building works and skip waste.

What are you using the topsoil for?

Topsoil comes in many different types and grades, depending on the area it has come from and the use it has been specified for.

There are many uses around the garden for different grades and blends of topsoil, these uses include infilling holes and ponds, turf laying, topping up and creating flowerbeds and filling up raised beds and vegetable patches.

Topsoil for Turf Laying - Turf laying requires a general purpose topsoil, preferably screened to 10mm to remove larger stones and lumps and free of clay.  A screened sandy loam is the best soil for turf laying.

Flower Bed and Border Topsoil – A better quality screened topsoil with a higher organic matter content is best for flowerbeds.  Where possible choose a topsoil blended with an organic compost or soil improver.  This added organic matter will ensure the best possible growing conditions for your plants.

Topsoil for Vegetable Growing – Vegetable crops can absorb a large amount of nutrients from the soil so to get the most out of you vegetable patch or new raised beds it is best to use a topsoil with a higher organic matter content than would normally be used in other applications.  You are going to eat your crop so grow it in the best possible soil you can buy. Find out more here

Improving Existing Soils

The alternative to buying better topsoil for your garden is to improve your existing top soil by adding soil improvers and organic composts.  This is often a less expensive way of achieving better results from your garden.

Buy good quality organic composts (preferably screened to 15mm or less) and blend this with your existing soil by applying a 2 to 3 inch layer over your topsoil and incorporating it with a garden fork or mechanical rotavator.  Adding organic compost to soils will increase soil fertility and improve soil structure, the basics of a good topsoil.

Now you know which topsoil to buy you probably want to know how much you need.. visit our topsoil calculator page.

 

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