What Soil Should I Use?
Calgary soil can be a challenge to work with. In new home construction, builders often use fill material that has little or no nutritional value. You CAN improve your soil and we can help. Here's how:
- Your plants get their food from the soil around it. Keeping the soil packed with proper nutrients will help root growth and your plants will ultimately survive our harsh winters. Providing enough organic matter is the key. Healthy soil typically contains 5-10% organic matter. Without it, nothing really grows - except weeds. Plant directly into our SC Garden Blend to provide that right amount of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, and organic matter (plant food) for all your plants.
- Screened Loam (Topsoil) contains sand, clay and silt in almost equal proportions. Due to its composition, screened loam holds moisture well and therefore is used in garden blends. This is also why a good garden blend soil will have a larger percentage of screened loam than organic matter, so that it does not become hydrophobic or burn your plants. Too much organic matter in your soil will cause more issues than not enough.
- Important nutrients can be supplied through the addition of a soil amendment such as SC Compost. Compost can help maintain a pH of your soil between 6.0 to 7.5. Ideally, have your soil tested for optimal results and application rates.
- Good, nutritious soil should hold moisture well, have a crumbly texture and be easy to work with. If it is too compacted, your plants will struggle. Heavy compaction is often due to higher clay content. The sandy composition of our sister company's BMD Veggie Blend can also amend compressed soils and provide better drainage.
What soil should I use?
Flower Beds & Pots
- If your beds require nutrients, blend 1” of SC Compost into existing soil, plant flowers and water until the entire root zone is saturated.
- If you suspect your existing soil requires more water retension and nutrient properties, then blend in and 1" of Peat Moss.
- For new beds and pots, fill with SC Garden Blend as it has a perfect blend of screened loam, peat moss and compost. Most annuals and perennials do quite well in compost-amended soils.
Top Dressing of Established Lawns
- Top Dressing is simply the process of applying a layer of soil, compost or sand over the top surface of your lawn to renovate your existing lawn if it is showing signs of weakness.
- To Top Dress your lawn: Aerate your lawn. Rake up the pellets left behind from aerating, then spread 1/8” to 1/2” of either products evenly over the area using a rake. Water the area thoroughly. Water helps the compost move through the thatch layer, to the soil surface and into aeration holes.
New Lawn Establishment
- For lawns that are going to be seeded or sodded, apply about (1” - 2”) of SC Compost and rototill to a depth of (5”). For seeded lawns, apply seed and then spread a thin layer of compost to cover seed. Compost helps increase grass seed germination by providing adequate seed to soil contact, moisture and balanced nutrients.
- Rototill up to 5 times the diameter of the rootball of the tree to be planted. Add about 30% SC Compost to existing soil or if you suspect the soil is not of good quality, remove existing soil and use SC Garden Blend by volume to the area and mix thoroughly outside the hole with the native soil.
- Place the tree into the hole and use the compost amended soil mixture as a backfill around the rootball. It is important to make sure that there are no air pockets around the roots as you backfill the hole. Remove excess soil and water thoroughly.
- Adding a layer of mulch will help suppress weeds and retain moisture. Our SC Econo-Mulch or SC Fine Garden Mulch are great products to provide this.
- Apply about 1"of SC Compost and rototill into the soil to a depth of (5”). You may need to apply compost on a yearly basis to poor soils until the proper nutrient level has been established. Do not over-apply compost because many vegetables will not produce high yields if there is excess nitrogen in the soil. Good quality, broken down compost is more effective to add in the Spring or during the growing season.
- Applying fresh compost may require a period of time where it breaks down to avoid the seeds being burned by overly rich compost. Fresh compost should be added in the Fall to allow it to mature over winter.
- Applying aged compost to your garden should be done in the early Spring (about a month before planting) and/or during the growing season.
- For optimum mulch application results around annuals, perennials and other landscape plants, use a 5 cm (2”) layer of SC Fine Garden Mulch. Avoid over- or under-mulching because other problems can arise, such as smothering of root systems. Grade the mulch so water flows away from trunks reducing chances for crown rot.
The Foundation of Every Landscape
Soil products are the foundation of every landscape; they shape our outdoor spaces and allow plants to grow. Use nutrient rich soils to promote healthy plant growth and a vibrant landscape.
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