Soil….or dirt?


Photo credit: nikkolo at Photobucket

In my day job as gardening guru I’m always telling people to spend their money first on the basics, and one of those is good soil.  You can’t expect to nourish an aspiring Olympic athlete on junk food; by the same token your treasured plants will not grow well in garbage soil.  Well, some of them will, but I don’t want to limit my choices to those cast iron plants that will grow anywhere, and I want a productive vegetable/fruit garden.  And you can’t do that with poor soil.

So of course I followed my own advice and invested in some good quality topsoil for my new garden…….ummm, NO!  But this stuff was such a good price, and I needed so much of it, surely it would be fine.

I'm learning to love the clover; it's pretty when it blooms. Just be sure to wear sandals, the bees love it too!

Well now I’m paying the price in my backyard, the soil seems devoid of nutrients, and my lawn has filled in nicely, but it’s about 90% clover.  Funny… there wasn’t clover in the grass seed that I sowed, but clover grows quite happily in poor soil, so it’s taking over.  I don’t want to use herbicides to kill the clover, so I’ll live with it.  Oh well, it’s green and soft!

Thanks to my friend with a horse who loaned me her pickup truck and her kind husband who loaded me up with horse manure repeatedly using his backhoe (saving me hours of shovelling), the garden beds are thriving.  Horse manure is a wonderful soil amendment, providing excellent texture and gentle nutrients.  Of course it’s full of weed seeds, mostly grass, but that just provides fodder for my compost and exercise for me!

I did learn my lesson, and when I ordered soil for the front yard I asked the supplier for the best stuff he had available – and what a difference!

This is the soil I should have purchased for the back yard!


About hortophile

I am a very opinionated, slightly obsessed gardener with decades of experience in the retail nursery industry. A lucky resident of the "Wet Coast" of British Columbia I tread a muddy path between practicality and beauty, with my veggie patch, herb garden and fruits vying for position with the beautiful trees, shrubs and flowers that I can't resist. DON'T ask me to choose between them! I believe in environmental responsibility and common sense.
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