The topsoil is the upper layer of native soil found in any environment. It contains the highest amounts of micro-organisms and organic matter and is usually between two and eight inches in depth. However, the depth and the organic matter amounts can vary from place to place.
Since most of the planet’s biological soil activity can be found in this top layer and it’s where almost all plants grow their roots, it’s of incredible importance to gardeners, agriculture and the survival of the environment.
Topsoil is largely made up of four different elements. These are water, air, minerals and organic matter. The exact amounts of each varies according to the type of natural plants, the moisture content and several other key environmental factors. That’s why most gardeners check the type and consistency of topsoil before planting. As certain plants are more adept at surviving and thriving in certain types of soil, it’s important to know about the nature of the topsoil when planning your garden.
There are three main constituents of topsoil found around the UK and wider world: clay, sand and silt. Clay is very rich in nutrients but doesn’t drain well and can cause all sorts of problems in wetter climates. Sandy topsoil drains too well and usually needs to be mixed with some other kind of topsoil in order to retain enough water to grow plants. Silty topsoil is very smooth and made from quartz. Most soils are a mixture of these three constituents, with proportions of each one varying.
The most desirable type of topsoil is loam, which combines about 30% clay 70% either silt or sand. This provides a good mix of water and nutrient retention but also drains well enough not to damage plants.
As well as being made of different constituents, soil can be acidic or alkaline depending on the conditions. This can be corrected by adding some elements, depending on what plants you want to grow.
It is possible to improve the quality, depth and type of topsoil by buying it from outside and using it in your garden. Here at Springbridge, we sell topsoil in various forms to help you improve your garden or growing space. We sell topsoil in large bags consisting of screened economy topsoil, multi-purpose blended soils and fine loam topsoil. Prices start from £64.99. As well as bulk bags, we stock smaller quantities and can arrange loose load deliveries.
As well as buying topsoil to improve your growing area, you should also consider factors like mulches, which protect topsoils from extremes of conditions and allow plants to thrive even if there’s too much heat or cold, as well as excesses or shortages of water.