Understanding the role of topsoil and how it works in your garden is a no-brainer when it comes to keeping your plants happy, so what’s the dirt on the dirt?
In a nutshell, good topsoil contains the necessary nutrients for the plants in your garden to not just survive, but thrive. Not only does it help to protect plants and seedlings, but it can also correct deeper soil issues with things like pH levels, drainage issues, and reduce erosion. As the name suggests, the term is used to describe the mineral-dense top layer of earth.
Typically, this form of earth is characterised by its accumulation of organic matter, from both living, dead and decaying organisms. In turn, this gives topsoil a darker shade when compared to the soil that is usually found below it. When comparing it against other forms of soil such as potting mix, topsoil is the natural layer that forms on the ground’s surface, while potting mix doesn’t actually contain soil. Instead, potting mix is a mixture of organic matter, such as pine bark, peat moss and other materials.
Topsoil is a great choice for a medley of gardening solutions, such as filling up raised beds, repairing areas that have been eroded, or even just filling in holes. When planting a new lawn or overseeding a patchy one, gardening enthusiasts can use a thin layer of topsoil to protect seeds as they begin to sprout. However, one thing that you shouldn’t use topsoil for is to fill any pots or containers, as it simply won’t drain as well as the pots need it to, and can in turn make them extremely heavy.
However, adding this magical substance to a garden is often avoided by both rookie gardeners and seasoned veterans simply because of the misconceptions surrounding it – so let’s debunk a few of them, shall we?
Debunking Four Common Topsoil Myths
When it comes to common gardening myths and separating fact from fiction, the information we believe to be true about topsoil can sometimes be difficult to navigate. In turn, here are a few of the more popular myths about using this substance that we aim to dispel.
All Topsoil Is The Same – Although they are the same as a concept, topsoil can differ dramatically from one patch of your yard to another. While all of the earth in your garden is made up of various levels of sand, silt and clay, the very best of these elements allow for good drainage, yet hold enough moisture for the roots of your plants. The soil, which is made up of organic and inorganic material, can also vary dramatically in pH levels, which can also change the makeup of your topsoil too.
I Don’t Need To Use Topsoil – While you might think that the existing soil used in your garden or backyard is fine as is, more often than not, the quality of soil around homes – especially newly constructed ones – simply isn’t the best for plants. High quality soil takes time to develop, and usually includes large amounts of organic matter such as decomposed plants, this matter is essential when it comes to building a healthy ecosystem full of microbes in the soil.
Tilling Is Always Required – Turning soil manually, otherwise known as tilling, can actually stimulate weed growth via sprouting. While this practice may be a necessary evil if your soil is extremely compacted with not enough air pockets for the roots to breathe, more often than not, it’s best to leave it undisturbed and let nature do it’s thing. Adding organic matter to your compacted soil can help alleviate compaction as the microbes will break down the organic matter and aerate the soil at the same time. To minimise the need for topsoil tilling, try to keep off garden beds when the soil is wet.
It Doesn’t Need Fertiliser – Things like compost, manures, and liquid seaweed are all used to fertilise gardens, as they deliver essential nutrients to the plants. They will always have a breakdown of NPK content – that is Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium – which are key elements most plants require to survive and thrive. No matter which type of soil you have, these need to be topped up from time to time, as it’s important to have that balance between organic and inorganic material.
Generally speaking, there are five common types of soil microbes found in the earth: bacteria, actinomycetes, fungi, protozoa and nematodes. Each of these microbe types has a different role to play when it comes to boosting overall soil and plant health, but may be conspicuously absent in store bought soil mixes – so what else can you do to introduce them to your garden?
Improving The Health Of Your Soil The Natural Way
Do your plants – and yourself – a favour, and give them a head start by optimising your soil prior to planting. By adding a chemical free garden foodlike Biotic Booster, this will help your garden to:
- Provide essential nutrients and microbes
- Act as a liquid fertiliser to unlock your soil’s potential
- Drought proof your plants and lower water consumption
- Increase and speed up the germination process
- Assist in protecting your plants from pests and diseases
- Provide an organic solution that’s safe to use around your herbs, fruit and veggies
If you’re ready to take the leap into improving the health of your plants while minimising the use of chemical based fertilisers and plant food this Spring, then it may be time to try a plant food and plant probiotics. Our Ultimate Garden Health Pack includes our Biotic Booster, FP-60 Probiotic Spray, RE-250 Soil Energiser. In each concentrated bottle, millions of natural bacterias are waiting to find a new home in your garden.
Here at Bioweed, we specialise in environmentally friendly gardening products, including herbicides, plant food, plant probiotics, and natural alternatives to traditional gardening solutions. Should you have any questions about how to improve the sustainability of your garden, get in touch with us today.