Topsoil, Loam, Compost- What you need to know.

Close-up of gardening tool in a sustainable greenhouse in countryside

When it comes to dirt there is actually a lot to know. Most importantly what are the different types and what do you need for one project verses another. To help us understand, Todd Burnett gives us the low down on our dirty little friend…SOIL.

Question: There are many different types of soil sold. What is the difference between topsoil, loam, compost and growers mix?

Todd: Topsoil and Loam are essentially the same thing, they are the top layer of soil that differs from the soil below because it has years of decomposed organic matter (from falling leaves, etc).  This organic matter enables the base mineral soil to hold a lot more water and nutrients for the plants.  The top soil we sell is enriched with a small amount of compost already.

The compost we sell is basically decomposed leaves. This is what you would use if your soil was already pretty good, but you wanted to enrich it for a veggie garden or flower bed.  It usually gets tilled or manually turned into the soil to incorporate it and mix it into the soil profile, so it’s evenly distributed throughout the root zone (the top 18 inches+/-).

Growers mix is what you would use in a container that you would plant flowers or veggies in.  It is a soil-less mix that allows for good drainage (so the roots get enough oxygen) but holds the right amount of water and nutrients.  

Question: What is best for a veggie garden?

Todd: Unless the soil is really poor, usually compost is all that is needed.  The bagged Coast of Maine composts generally contain more nutrients than the bulk (leaf) compost.  So, if you have a limited area to do it may be wise to spend the extra money and buy the bagged products.

Question: What is best for your lawn?

Todd: Usually topsoil is all that is needed for a lawn unless the existing soil is extremely sandy.

Question: What is best for flower beds?

Todd: Typically, compost is best for flower beds as it helps enrich the nutrients and water holding capacity of the existing soil.

Question: What is best for planters and pots?

Todd: For planters and pots I always recommend potting soil.  Black Gold or our Greenworld commercial mix both work great.  

Have more questions or want to learn more? Come on out and see us for more great tips to get your garden growing.

Burnett’s Country Gardens offers bulk delivery of loam, compost and mulch. Contact us to place your order.

Burnett’s Country Gardens, Route 85, Salem, CT

(860) 949-8722