If you're serious about gardening, you need to think about soil. While some plants will grow successfully as long as they're in some kind of soil and you remember to water them, you won't get the best out of your outdoor space if you don't think about what they're growing in.
Topsoil is a great way to increase the nutrients your plants are getting, adding specific substances to the ground for your green friends to eat up. If your existing soil is of poor quality, it's an important addition and, of course, if there's no soil present at all, you'll need to add some of your own. But how do you choose the right kind of topsoil for your particular needs?
Topsoil for turf
If you're planting a new lawn, getting the right type of topsoil will help it spread and settle in quickly for long-lasting health. For this purpose, you'll want a good quality, free-flowing sandy loam, preferably without any stones or large chunks in it. If it's been screened, this means it will have been put through a sort of sieve to remove any big pieces.
Topsoil for a vegetable garden
To get those veggies growing big and healthy, you should look for a topsoil with the highest amount of organic matter, which gives them the nutrients they need to thrive. The organic matter will also help the soil to retain as much water as possible, stopping your plants getting thirsty.
It's particularly important to use a good topsoil with root vegetables like carrots if you have naturally clay-rich soil. The heaviness of this soil type can restrict their growth and leave you disappointed.
Topsoil for flowers
In flower beds or borders, like vegetable patches, organic matter helps encourage growth. You don't need as much of it as you do for veggies, but there's should still be a significant amount. For your flowers to develop healthy roots, you should choose a screened topsoil, preferably one that includes soil improver.
Topsoil for fruit trees
Fruit trees need good drainage and access to ample nutrients to be at their most productive. Sandy loam is a good choice here, perhaps with some compost and soil improver mixed in to give the trees a bit of extra food. Because the roots grow deeper than other plants, you should make sure the topsoil layer is deep enough to prevent stunting – at least three feet, but more if you can manage it.
Talk to your soil supplier for more information.