Yard and Snow

What’s The Difference Between Topsoil and Garden Soil

topsoil-vs-garden-soilWhen looking to improve the soil on your property you have probably come across the phrases topsoil and garden soil. These are common especially when you look at a “big box” stores and local landscaping companies. In the bigger stores, most of the soil is bought and sold in bags for smaller projects. Often this is garden soil and can come in a variety of different soils, everything from flower garden soil, to vegetable garden soil and herb garden soil. The question then becomes are these different than “topsoil” or is this all the same type of soil, simply put together in a different format to sell? Most handyman will know that these are indeed different soils and here’s why.
Topsoil
Topsoil is just that. It is the top 5 – 12 inches of surface on the earth depending on the location. The amount of topsoil will differ depending on the climate and composition of the soils in different areas. For instance topsoil Utah county can tend to be more sandy and arid due to the dryness of the Utah weather and the salt from the Salt Lake area. This can increase the need for fresh quality topsoil to be added to property. All soil, including topsoil has a mix of clay, silt and sand. Topsoil generally has a mix of 7-27 percent clay, 28-50 percent silt and under 52 percent sand. Topsoil is perfect when you need to prepare a large landscaping or lawn area.
Garden Soil
Garden soil tends to have its own mix of sand, silt, and clay but also is mixed to pertain to particular types of gardens, such as flower gardens, vegetable gardens, and herb gardens. This ingredients in the various blends will vary but will often contain different types or fertilizers and organic matter to help bolster the richness of the soil and better feed the plants that you may use. Often this type of soil is sold in smaller quantities than topsoil and is often available only in bags. Occasionally you can find this type of soil in bulk through local landscaping companies. If bought locally, it is always a good idea to ask where the soil was acquired from, what sources the company uses for its sand and any fertilizer or organic matter that may be present in the soil to ensure the quality of garden topsoil you’re looking for as well as compatibility with your soil.
Once you know the difference between garden soil and top soil, you can now determine which best fits your needs and you are better prepared with this home tip!