TOPSOIL TIPS FOR HORTICULTURISTS - Most horticulturalists will know that topsoil is an essential element of any garden. In order to give your garden the best possible chance of success, it is crucial to find nutritious and highly organic topsoil.
Photo credit: Downing Street @ Flickr.com
However, finding the right high quality blended loam is not necessarily an easy task. Here are a few tips to help you find the right topsoil, as well as why it’s an important consideration for any thorough horticulturalist.
Why is topsoil important?
Finding the right soil will increase the fertility of the crops you would like to grow, providing them with essential nutrients and organic matter to flourish, as well as keeping your garden healthy.
Topsoil is generally brought in when the current soil is low quality or non-existent. When developing a garden in a courtyard or patio, topsoil will be essential as there is often no natural soil available.
In terms of horticulture, high quality and enriched topsoil can be used for creating new beds or borders in the garden, as well as providing a base layer for turf or sewing grass seeds. Therefore this makes it an essential element in any garden renovation.
Types of topsoil
General requirements include topsoil that can offer any vegetation the nutrition they require as well as maintaining a healthy garden for years to come. Whether you are growing fruit, vegetables or alternatively are producing flowers and other such plants, there is perfectly formed topsoil available for your garden. Blended loam usually comes in three different grades:
Premium - This topsoil is usually used for garden features such as flower borders and beds. Premium topsoil offers you good structure, high fertility as well as avoiding weed seeds, giving you a hassle-free gardening experience.
Multi-Purpose - This blended loam can be used for both beds and flower borders, as well as having the flexibility to provide a stable surface for new lawns. Available in a variety of coarse grades, multi-purpose topsoil can be used for various lawn environments.
Economy - When you require quantity over quality, economy topsoil is the loam for you. Mainly used for building up parts of the garden, this topsoil is usually unscreened and therefore a lower quality for horticulture.
For the more passionate gardener, both premium and multi-purpose blends are a good choice. This is because of their good structure and fertility, an essential for gardeners looking to create a high level of productivity in their garden.
Maintenance, nourishment and preservation
Conserving your topsoil is important as it allows your garden to maintain its nutrients and therefore keep the growing productivity at an impressive level. Maintenance can be carried out by planting a variety of plants and rotating this regularly. This means that the soil will not be drained of nutrients whilst also promoting soil health throughout the year.
Many gardens begin to suffer during harsh weather conditions as wind and rain can quickly wash away topsoil, diminishing your garden’s nutritive value and durability. To combat this, many gardeners choose to plant cover crops throughout the year which allows the topsoil to be anchored into place using the plant roots should harsh weather conditions arise.
Your topsoil should be well nourished as your plants will extract a lot of nutrients from it through time. In order to look after it, consider composting your garden on a regular basis. Composting replenishes nutrients and also increases fertility, especially if you plan to carry on planting for a considerable length of time.
A Few General Tips about Topsoil
Tools of the Trade
Be prepared to look after and maintain your garden, including the topsoil with all the right equipment to carry out a relaxing and thorough job. A strong mini cultivator and a soil sieve will become essential tools in the transformation of your garden patch.
For added comfort, don’t forget to invest in some durable gardening gloves as well as a pair of strong boots for both comfort and safety. When it comes to planting and weeding, transplanters and hand forks are a popular choice for getting your patch into good health and maintaining the topsoil too.
Mix and Match
Don’t be afraid to mix a few scoops of multi-purpose compost with your topsoil to suit your needs. Plants love a good combination of nutrients so it’s important to find the perfect soil that is enriched with various organic matter to make it as fertile and productive as possible. The majority of topsoil will consist of:
- 50 to 60% Sand
- 34 to 45% Silt
- 10 to 15% Clay
This will of course vary greatly depending on whether or not you are buying in your topsoil or alternatively using what you already have available in your garden.