(NC)—If you think that all soil is created equal, think again! As all those avid gardeners who like to get their hands dirty know, while soil is made up of the same basic components it can actually be quite different. Comprised of air, water, inorganic material, minerals and decomposed plant and animal material, good soil is the most important ingredient for a healthy and successful garden.
Nutrients in soil are steadily diminished as organic matter in compost and fertilizer or plant food is used by plants and eroded by the elements. It's important, therefore, to amend your soil and add nutrients regularly.
An important first step includes determining the type of soil required for your garden to achieve its maximum growth potential. Some plants grow best when soil is conditioned, because this can increase fertility, water retention and productivity. Some types of conditioned soil include manure, compost, trench composting, peat moss, leaves, sawdust and mulch.
In new subdivisions or developments, conditioning the existing topsoil is an essential step in establishing and maintaining healthy lawns and gardens.
Know Your soil: Professionally blended soils to look for this season include:
- Black Earth, great for lawns, provides a three-in-one blend of black earth, compost and manure. The natural, organic-based ingredients help improve the soil structure by increasing porosity and allowing more water and nutrients to reach the roots.
- Topsoil is a blend of topsoil, compost and manure, an organic-based blend of nutrients to promote healthy plant growth.
- Organic Compost is designed for in-ground gardens. It's a professional quality blend of compost and manure, containing essential organic matter from composted leaves and yard clippings. Add it to flower and vegetable beds for healthier plant growth and more abundant vegetables and blooms.
- Containers require a different type of soil altogether. Since container-bound plants tend to dry out faster; choose a container planting soil with a mixture of sphagnum peat, bark fines, compost and perlite to help soil hold moisture, promote strong root growth and better drainage for container gardens. Pro Blends Potting Mix is also enriched with a slow release fertilizer for healthier plant growth. Miracle-Gro Potting Mix contains coconut fibre husks, which hold moisture until the plant needs it.
Get the scoop before buying soil blends by reading labels and choosing the appropriate one for your needs.