With the arrival of spring, it’s time to get outside and do some yard work. This usually involves more than one trip to the local farm market. One of the items on your shopping list is probably topsoil. When purchasing topsoil, keep in mind that not all topsoils are the same. There are a variety of options, including unscreened and screened topsoil. The experts at your local farm market can help you make the best choice for your project.
What is Topsoil?
Soil that has been frequently planted can become depleted of nutrients. As naturally occurring topsoil is becoming difficult to find, most topsoil is commercially produced. It is either mixed with or used to replace your existing soil to increase nutrients and improve growing conditions. Topsoil is very nutrient-dense and typically contains 2 to 10 percent organic material. It provides numerous benefits including balancing pH levels and controlling moisture and evaporation rates.
If your plants are struggling in your existing soil, it can be helpful to mix in some topsoil. It’s important to fully mix it. Don’t just spread the topsoil over the existing soil. Simply layering them can create a barrier where the soils meet, impacting water absorption and resulting in over-watering and drainage issues. Combining topsoil with the upper layer of existing soil (approximately 2 to 5 inches) can increase nutrient levels and help your plants thrive.
Screened vs Unscreened Topsoil
Unscreened topsoil is an inconsistent mix of large and small particles. Screened topsoil is put through a mesh to break it down into consistently-sized particles. The openings in the mesh are typically five-eighths or three-quarters of an inch in size and determine the size of the soil particles. Each type of topsoil serves a specific purpose.
Unscreened topsoil is less expensive, as it requires less work in the manufacturing process. It can be a great option for creating larger, elevated landscaping features. It is also a good option for a subsoil base that can be topped off with finer soil. Unscreened topsoil is not a good choice for flower beds or vegetable gardens as the larger particles can inhibit root growth and nutrient distribution.
Due to a more involved manufacturing process, screened topsoil is slightly more expensive. However, using screened topsoil will allow nutrients and water to flow more freely, creating an optimal environment for plant growth. Thoroughly tilling the topsoil into your existing soil will promote deep root growth.
The topsoil you choose depends on how you plan to use it. Because screened topsoil is slightly more expensive, some gardeners will use unscreened topsoil when planting their gardens, especially with larger projects. While this may save a little money it can lead to less than stellar results. After all the work that you put into planting and maintaining your garden, don’t you want the best results possible?
Bulk Screened Topsoil
Oasis Family Farm stocks screened topsoil and mulch to help you create productive, beautiful gardens and landscaping features. Both can be bought in bulk and the mulch is available in red, black, or brown. Our loader has a New Jersey Weights and Measures certified 1 Yard bucket to ensure the accuracy of your purchase.
When you’re picking up your gardening supplies, bring the family and take some time to enjoy all the other things that Oasis Family Farm has to offer. Or maybe you have an upcoming event, such as a child’s birthday party, and are looking for a unique venue. We also host birthday and private parties at the farm. Stop by or contact us to learn more.