Potting Soil vs. Top Soil

~Written by gardening expert

Waterhold Potting Soil Black GoldI’d like to start this post with a story. A couple of weekends ago, we had a truckload (12 yards to be more specific) of top soil from a local supplier delivered to our house. I had brought it in to fill our new raised garden bed and to supplement our existing flower beds.

Many people ask themselves what is the difference between potting soil and topsoil. My goal in this blog entry is to hopefully answer that age old gardening question.

Topsoil is typically manufactured using a combination of local ingredients. The soil is manufactured by combining two or more of the following: a local loam (which means local soil from typically a construction site), compost, sand (typically from a sand and gravel pit), peat moss (typically from a local non sphagnum bog), sawdust and a garden mulch (less composted garden waste)

Black Gold Potting Soils are manufactured using a combination of Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss, coconut fibers (coir), earthworm castings, forest humus (composted bark and other wood products), compost, perlite, pumice and a fertilizer.

You will notice that topsoil is manufactured using mineral soil (aka dirt), while potting soils is manufactured without dirt, and is often referred to as a soil-less media. Topsoil is manufactured without the use of an aggregate, where Black Gold potting soils use both perlite and pumice. Aggregates are added to a potting soil to increase the air capacity of the soil, which helps the roots breath. Most topsoils also do not come with a fertilizer incorporated in them, while all Black Gold potting soils contain a fertilizer. Also it is important to consider the bulk density(how heavy is it) of the two products. Topsoil is typically very heavy where as a Black Gold potting soil is significantly lighter.

Well, what does this mean? It means that topsoils are designed to be a garden amendment or extender when you are shy of native topsoil, but are not designed for use in a container or handing basket. Just like I mentioned earlier, I purchased the topsoil for use in my new raised garden. But I will need to add Black Gold Earthworm castings and Black Gold Tomato and Vegetable fertilizer to the soil before I plant my garden.

Black Gold potting soils are designed to be used in a indoor or outdoor container, or hanging basket. High quality potting soils, like Black Gold are designed to create the complete ideal growing environment for your plants to begin their garden life. All you will have to provide is sunshine (light), water, fertilization (nutrients) and loving care (dead heading, grooming, etc).

Topsoil also allows you to get well acquainted with your wheelbarrow and joy of finishing the day with a sore back. And unlike potting soil, you need to find a home for all the product you purchased, because your spouse and the neighbors probably would not like to have a permanent new mounded addition to your front yard.




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Is your potting soil made by a horticulture company?

Sun Gro is North America's largest producer of sphagnum peat, and the largest distributor of peat moss and peat- and bark-based growing media to professional greenhouse operators in the U.S. and Canada.

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