When it comes to gardening, there are a few key things you need to get started: soil, compost, and plants. You can either purchase these items separately or buy them in bulk. In this article, we'll discuss how to buy topsoil and compost in bulk and what you need to know before making your purchase. Here's all you need to know.
Where To Buy Topsoil And Compost In Bulk
You can buy both topsoil and compost from a local landscaping center. If you're looking for a source of good quality organic soil, check with your nearest nursery or ask around at your local gardening meetup group.
You can also buy topsoil and compost in bulk online. Most suppliers are commercial landscaping companies who sell their soil by cubic yard. The cheapest place to find these types of companies is on the internet using your favorite search engine. You most likely won't be able to pick up your order personally, so you'll need to make arrangements with the supplier on how best to ship it out to you. Be sure you know what kind of soil is being offered before making any payment deposits online.
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How Much You'll Need
Whether you plan on buying one bag of topsoil or ten yards, figure out ahead of time how much soil you will need for your garden. Here's a general guide:
For soil with an average of 8% organic matter (OM):
- 10 yards for 1/4 to 1/2 acre beds
- 15 yards for 3/4 to 1-acre beds
- 20 yards for 2+ acres
Remember that this is only an estimate. If you're buying topsoil in bulk, it's best to buy more than what you think you need, as you can always return unused bags or make multiple trips if needed. Digging up the area and testing the soil will help you determine how much topsoil and compost your garden needs.
What Kind of Soil You Should Get
Keep in mind that when buying topsoil in bulk, you are not guaranteed to get a certain kind or quality of the soil. It depends on what the supplier has in stock at the time you place your order. If you're looking for a specific type of bulk soil, be sure to ask if they will custom mix it or pick out specific bags for your order. There's nothing worse than getting all excited about finding cheap prices on bulk topsoil only to find out that what was delivered doesn't meet your needs.
Also, having acidic soil doesn't mean you won't need topsoil or compost, but it does mean that you will need to alter your soil's pH by amending the existing soil (i.e., adding limestone) before adding any new plants. If you're looking for specific types of soils like “topsoil with peat moss” or “topsoil with compost”, make sure to ask what type of soil is being offered before making a purchase decision.
Where To Find Bulk Prices On Topsoil And Compost
Although most commercial landscaping companies won't quote prices over the phone since their costs vary depending on what is being ordered, you can expect the following prices for topsoil in bulk:
- Topsoil with OM rated 8% or less = $20 to $40 per cubic yard
- Topsoil with OM rated over 8% = $30+ per cubic yard
Your mileage may vary depending on where you purchase your soil. Prices can range between varying numbers, so know what kind of soil you're getting before making any payments online.
Other Factors To Consider
The poor ventilation and high moisture levels in the soil can lead to an increase in diseases and pests.
If your raised beds are less than 12 inches deep, you won't need much topsoil or compost, but if they're deeper than that (15+ inches) then you will likely need more.
Soil OM affects how much organic matter there is in the soil. If you plan on planting a lot of root vegetables such as carrots or potatoes, this will affect how much topsoil and compost you'll need to add to the soil for proper aeration and drainage so it doesn't get too waterlogged.
Compost is made from decomposing organic material such as leaves, grass clippings, discarded food, manure, sawdust, and woodchips. Cheap compost usually doesn't include much if any OM since it isn't made from decomposing organic material – instead, it is made from recycled organic materials which haven't broken down properly such as lawn clippings or food scraps that didn't get eaten.
Do you live in a region with clay soil? Adding topsoil and compost will help lighten the soils' texture by adding more OM and improving its drainage and water holding capacity.
Making Your Compost
You can also decide to make your compost, which can save you a lot of money if you have the yard space to do it. A good compost pile should be about 3 feet tall and wide, with a depth of around 2 feet, as follows:
- Make a pile from old hay bales
- Add kitchen scraps or every other day until it's full
- Add grass clippings, leaves, shredded paper, and straw all year round
- Turn the pile occasionally with a pitchfork to aerate it and keep moisture even throughout the entire pile
You can also use fallen leaves as mulch around trees and plants instead of buying bags of bark chips. Raking up leaves isn't easy so make sure to only collect what is needed for this purpose.
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What Could Go Wrong?
Remember, cheap topsoil and compost are often made from recycled organic material that has not decomposed properly such as lawn clippings or leftover food. This doesn't mean it's 100% bad to use for your garden (and in fact, many people swear by using free mulch instead of buying commercial mulch) but it does mean that you need to know what kind of soil you're getting before committing yourself to a purchase.
Using the wrong type/quantity of topsoil and compost can lead to:
- Weeds growing everywhere
- Soil erosion because it isn't rich enough with OM to hold it together, leading to runoff and other water problems such as flooding
- Excessive watering (soil rich in OM holds moisture better whereas soils low in OM will dry out more easily which can lead to over-watering)
- Plant diseases because the soil doesn't drain well and is too moist or too full of clay content (especially if you're not used to working with clay.)
- Malnourished plants that don't grow as big as they should since the soil has inadequate nutrients for them to thrive
If you want your plants to grow big and healthy, it's worth it to invest a little extra money into buying good topsoil and compost.
Final Thoughts On How To Buy Topsoil And Compost In Bulk
In conclusion, there are many ways to buy topsoil and compost in bulk. Depending on your resources, you can use a supplier or purchase it yourself. I hope that this article has given you some good ideas about how to buy topsoil and compost in bulk.