As a landscaper, my clients often ask me the same three questions about gardening soil.
- What is the best soil for my vegetable garden?
- What is the right lawn soil to use for topdressing?
- What should I use to top up my gardening soil?
You can’t build a good house on a bad foundation. The same can be said for the garden: it is only as good as the soil it’s grown in.
Soil for Vegetable Gardens
The best soil for vegetable gardens is rich with organic matter and with a pH of between 6 and 7. Vegetable gardening takes a lot of nutrients out of the soil. Installing a new soil rich in organic matter serves many purposes. A soil rich in organic matter retains water and also provides more underground pore space, allowing roots of vegetable plants to expand easily. The most important benefit of enriching your garden soil is the increased level of nutrients that the vegetable plants need to thrive. When ordering soil for your vegetable garden make sure to request soil for vegetable gardens when you are ordering. There is usually a higher cost for premium quality soil for vegetable gardens and it is totally worth the few extra dollars.
Living in Vancouver means a lot of rain and if your lawn has poor drainage, you end up with moss and low nutrient levels resulting in poor grass growth. Aerating your lawn then adding new lawn soil, that is the right blend of clean sand and fine nutrient-rich soil, is one of the best ways to reinvigorate your lawn. The sand will work its way into the soil, create better drainage and the new fine soil will provide nutrients for the grass plants. When ordering lawn soil there are usually two options to choose from. Basic lawn soil is used as a base under new sod installations. Premium grade lawn soil is much finer, this allows the growing medium to work its way through the soil more easily. Once again, there is a higher cost, but the finer soil is much easier to work with.
For gardening soil that you will use in your planting beds it is again good to order the premium grade garden soil mix that is rich in the ever important organic matter. Your gardening soil will have a higher percentage of sand, for optimum drainage, than the soil for the vegetable garden and is often not as compost-rich however it does provide all the nutrients required for healthy plant growth, and also retains moisture.
Topsoil Cost & Ordering Tips
There are two options when it comes to buying soil for your garden. You can either have it delivered a yard or two of soil at a time, or you can go to your local large chain store and buy the soil in bags. From my experience, 95% of the time you will receive much better and richer soil if you order it through a local soil delivery company. Not to mention the time and effort required when filling your vehicle with bags of soil. It’s important to note that B.C.’s landscape standards impose strict guidelines regulating the quality of soils that are manufactured in our province. This is another reason to buy gardening soil by the yard from a local supplier vs. buying bagged soil, as it is primarily an imported product.
If you choose to have a yard of soil delivered to your property, then you will have a few options to choose from. Most soil delivery companies offer a range of different soil blends. Depending on your needs, these soils will contain varying amounts of sand, organic matter, peat moss, decomposed manure, and/or wood chips. Be sure to let your supplier know exactly where in your garden you will be using your new soil, and they will be able to provide you with the best options for your garden.