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What’s in that bag of soil?

Posted by on August 22nd 2017 in blog

hands in soil

Soils: Demystified

Here at Sunnyside, we offer a variety of soils and soil amendments. The array of options to choose from can be daunting, but fear not! This quick guide is here to help. First, you need to know where you’re planting. Whether you’re planting in a container or in the ground makes a difference in the soil you choose.

Planting in a Container

If you’re planting in a container, you need potting soil. Potting soils contain a mixture of ingredients that makes them very different from soil from your garden or soils meant for use in the ground. The biggest difference is the inclusion of particles that create additional air space, usually perlite and/or vermiculite. These are the white or silvery-beige bits in the mix. The remainder of the mixture is usually various organic matter which may include partially- or fully decomposed plant material, manure, and/or peat moss. Some mixes also include slow-release fertilizer, beneficial bacteria, or water-retaining crystals. We have several potting soil options available, including some organic products. If you are potting up succulents, cacti, orchids, bonsai, or African violets, look for bags of plant-specific specialty potting mixes. These products are specifically designed for the needs of those plants.

Planting in the Ground

If you’re planting in the ground, there are a few other products to consider. The choice is primarily dependent on the ultimate use of the space. For garden beds, try Miracle-Gro Garden Soil. This soil includes organic matter to improve your soil texture and fertilizer to give your plants a boost. For areas where you want lawn grass to grow, consider Turf Builder Lawn Soil, which includes a fertilizer specially designed for turf grass. For general use, we have topsoil, which can be used just about anywhere except in pots.

Soil Amendments

Finally, there are soil amendments. These products are not meant to be used as a planting medium on their own – they are intended to be mixed into other media to add different characteristics. Peat moss, perlite, vermiculite, and compost all fall under this category. Peat moss is generally used to add air space and to slightly acidify soils. Perlite and vermiculite are used to add air space to soils for use in containers. Vermiculite also helps soils retain moisture and is a common addition to seed-starting mixes. Compost is used to add organic matter to soils, which creates a better soil texture, improves water retention, and adds nutrients to the soil.

If you have further questions about the specific products we offer, stop in to the garden center and chat with one of our professionals, or contact us here!

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