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Searching for “Garden Soil Near Me”

Getting It Right for Your Garden

Achieving a healthy, thriving garden in communities such as Bolingbrook, Downers Grove, Westmont, Naperville, Woodridge and Wheaton (IL) involves much more than spreading black dirt, planting seeds, and watering them with a hose or a can. At Tim Wallace Landscape Supply, our goal is always to help you enjoy both the process and the reward of developing a garden that is just as robust as it is pleasing to look at.

In this discussion, we’ll review some key things to know about gardening soil, including:

the difference between gardening soil and topsoil

composted soil

fine vs. coarse sand

amending dirt for nutrients

Garden Soil Near Me: Gardening Soil vs. Topsoil

A new gardener in Bolingbrook, Downers Grove, Westmont, Naperville, Woodridge or Wheaton will get a good start on a project by knowing how gardening soil differs from topsoil.

In gardening and landscaping terms, topsoil is the uppermost, outermost layer of soil that has been screened to remove debris and establish a consistent texture. The depth of the soil can vary, but it’s usually within the first 12” or so of dirt.

Topsoil is important to planting because it includes a large amount of the matter and microorganisms among which most of the earth’s biological soil activity takes place. While it includes organic material such as leaves, grasses and weeds that support plant life, topsoil is not amended (enriched) with other vital nutrients. This limits its function in growing a garden, making it more of a general-purpose material.

Gardening soil is topsoil that has been further amended to make it even more fitting for plant growth. That might include compost or other organic matter.

Gardening soil is often enriched to suit particular types of plants. It also packs well around plant roots, which lets them develop a thick root base. Gardening soil is ideal for outdoor plants and commonly used for features such as rose bushes, herbs and vegetables, and raised-bed planters.

When you are choosing a gardening soil, you want to make sure it does not contain fertilizers or chemicals.

Garden Soil Near Me: Composted Soil

Compost is intentionally decayed (recycled) organic matter that is added to soil to make it richer. It might also contain waste from herbivores (e.g. horses). Properly prepared compost will not have a foul smell, however, and may look similar to gardening soil.

Compost might include any number of organic materials, such as leaves, straw, bark and horse manure. Because compost contains more minerals and organic matter than regular soil, it is considered a soil amendment.

Composted soil benefits gardens by:

improving soil structure. Its natural proteins help dirt particles bind, which allows the soil to retain more moisture and nutrients.

acting as a type of natural fertilizer. By introducing nutrients such as copper and nitrogen and microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria, compost helps make soil more fertile.

resisting plant diseases. Because compost contributes to the health of soil, it helps plants becomes less vulnerable to diseases and insects.

Of all amendments you can add to soil, compost is the best all-around soil conditioner with the most garden-enhancing attributes. It improves the soil physically, biologically and chemically.

Different types of compost also can favor particular plants. For example, composted horse manure promotes flower and vegetable growth. Organic compost (e.g. made with leaves, straw, bark) is good for trees and shrubs.

Mushroom compost is another type. It might sound as if it’s made with mushrooms, but it’s actually compost that is specially mixed for growing mushrooms, as well as other flowers and vegetables. Because it has a high level of water retention, it is also good for plants that need their roots in regularly moist conditions (e.g. ferns).

The high water retention further reduces your need to water the plants as often. It also attracts more earthworms, which like moist soil. When more worms settle in your garden, they contribute to the soil structure, improve drainage and allow roots to extract nutrients more efficiently.

Mushroom compost further has high calcium levels, making it superb for growing fruits and vegetables that flourish with a greater calcium supply, such as tomatoes.

It’s important to note that too much compost can be harmful to plant growth. For example, if you use pure compost in a garden, its decay will generate heat that can kill or weaken your plants. Pure compost also will tend to drain and dry out quickly. To achieve a healthy environment for plants, compost should be mixed with topsoil at the proper ratio.

Garden Soil Near Me: Fine vs. Coarse Sand

Sand is a naturally occurring granular material made of finely divided rock and mineral particles such as silica and calcium carbonate. Sand is highly porous and permeable, so within a garden, it helps increase the drainage and penetrability of gardening soil. Soil that drains well is easy to dig, work with and mix with compost.

The porosity that sand adds to gardening soil also lets more air reach plant roots while helping prevent root disease from excess water. Sand’s tiny particles break up clumps of even the heaviest soil (e.g. clay) as well. Drought-tolerant plants that do not thrive in moist conditions, such as succulents and air plants, can even grow in sand alone.

The key to using sand for plants is understanding that not all sand works in a garden and not all plants need sandy soil. It’s also important to know the difference between fine sand and coarse sand.

Fine sand is that which passes through a sieve of size 75µ (it is smaller than 75µ). Using fine sand for plants will help soil to clump and congeal. It won’t let water drain and won’t make the soil more porous. It is desirable for making a loose soil more dense. For example, fine sand in the soil adds to the lush, green grass you see on your favorite golf course.

Coarse sand is sand that is retained on a sieve of size 75µ (it is larger than 75µ up to 4.75mm). Unlike fine sand, coarse sand will create more porosity and allow more drainage. It is desirable for making a dense soil such as clay more porous. Flowers, tomatoes and root vegetables such as beets and radishes are all examples of plants that can grow well in sandy soil with coarse sand.

Course sand is the preferred choice for raised-bed gardens of all kinds. Fine sand is the top option for planting beds that are in the ground.

​Garden Soil Near Me: Amending Dirt for Nutrients

Topsoil and black dirt contain some nutrients, but they are not complete for different types of plants. The nutrients also might not always be available to the plants, and they can become depleted as the plants use them.

To grow properly, plants need an array of nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, calcium and magnesium, as well as minerals such as sand, silt or clay to assist with water drainage or retention. This becomes particularly important with soil for raised beds.

Soil amendments provide the extra nutrients and minerals that help sustain plant growth. An amendment such as the Raised Bed Mix at Tim Wallace Landscape Supply provides an optimal blend of 50% topsoil, 25% coarse sand and 25% organic compost for growing vibrant, healthy plants. We can also have your Raised Bed Mix soil delivered.

Your Local Gardening Soil Supplier: Contact Us Today

We are here to inspire and support you with the ideas and materials for the thriving, beautiful garden you have in mind in Bolingbrook, Downers Grove, Westmont, Naperville, Woodridge or Wheaton (IL). The next time you’re about to search for “garden soil near me” or “soil delivered,” just give us a call at (630) 759-1080 to speak with a gardening specialist.