Soil and compost selection

Mon. Jun. 3, 2019

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show: Soil and compost selection

So you’re standing in the garden center thinking, hmmm, what compost or soil should I buy.  Finished compost is a deep, dark brown, almost black, no clumps or chunks. It will feel slightly damp and should have a sweet, fresh, earthy smell, even if it smells a little barnyardy, don’t worry.

finished compost ready for garden bed – not the eggshells!  

If it smells like rotten eggs, it was not finished composting when put in the bag.  WALK AWAY…..

If you see red worms squirming around the pile, that’s a good thing!

As for soil, I just drove past our City’s yard waste site where they offer soil.  One whole side was covered in weeds, it was quite plush.  Maybe think twice about the free stuff depending on what your plan for the soil it.

Do not purchase top soil, especially in bulk, without seeing it.  I’ve experienced this and bought a truck load that had rocks and trash in it.  By the time it was dumped and I had a chance to see it, I just didn’t have the energy to call them up and complain. The pic below is the good stuff I checked out BEFORE buying!

adding composted material – GardenBite

You know the squeeze test.  Moisten a handful of the soil, roll it around in your palm and give it a squeeze.  You want it to slightly hold together but not fall through your fingers or stick to them.

raised bed May 2018

This weather (2019) has pushed back my planting….

The best soil smells like it came right from the forest.  Ask the supplier where the soil came from.  Of course, the best soil is from Creekside.  I’ve used their compost and potting mixes for years and have never been disappointed.  You can find Creekside in most reputable nurseries.  Click on the link at the side of the page for more information!


To figure out how much soil you need, multiply length in feet by width by depth you want.  That number will give you the cubic feet you’ll need.

2019 red container 6-1-19