Soil and compost selection

Fri. Jun. 9, 2017

Click below to listen to my 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

If it smells like rotten eggs, it was not finished composting when put in the bag.  If you see red worms squirming around the pile, that’s a good thing!

My compost – it takes time!

As for soil, we’ve discussed this before but I know that many of you are now finally getting a chance to do some landscaping so it’s a reminder.  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.

Horse manure with rocks and weeds.  I took a bunch out and am still adding soil!

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.

Squeeze test

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.

Creekside Soils

I’ve used their compost and potting mixes for years and have never been disappointed.  You can find Creekside in most reputable nurseries.

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.

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