Tips & Advice
What is pulverized topsoil?
Pulverized topsoil has been machine-ground, with all rocks and debris chunks removed, so it’s easier to work with by hand.
What is the difference between fill dirt and topsoil?
The difference between fill dirt and topsoil is first where the soil was taken from: Topsoil legally has to be from the top 8 inches of earth, whereas fill dirt can be collected from much deeper in the earth. It comes in two categories: “common fill,” which may come with large chunks of debris or roots, and “select fill,” which is not debris-laden, but is usually sandy. As it is not typically nutrient-rich, fill dirt is used to fill holes and create mounds, not for planting.
Can topsoil be used for a vegetable garden?
Topsoil can definitely be used for a vegetable garden, but keep in mind there are different kinds of topsoil. Make sure to get a breakdown of topsoil composition, and get topsoil that is screened, and is best for what you’re growing. Additionally, you might want to add amendments such as compost and fertilizer to create a more nutrient-rich environment for vegetables to grow.
Topsoil is made up of four components: sand, clay, silt, and humus (i.e., decomposed organic matter--generally plants, insects, and small invertebrates). Topsoil also contains water. The more humus, the more nutrient-rich the topsoil is. With the optimal amount of water (not dry or wet, but moist) and a high concentration of humus, topsoil provides desirable growing conditions.
Is topsoil the same as compost?
Topsoil is not the same as compost. Compost is biodegraded organic material--usually vegetable matter. Manure is its own category of compost. Compost is a soil amendment: It is much richer in nutrients than regular topsoil, and is added to it to enhance growing conditions.
Topsoil is the very top 2-8-inch layer of soil in undeveloped plots of land, fields, gardens, and green spaces. Ideally--but not legally required--it has a high concentration of nutrients and organic matter. The other common name for topsoil purchased for gardens is “black dirt.”
What is the best way to get rid of weeds?
There are many ways to get rid of weeds – the most extreme methods being yanking them out at the roots and spraying them with weed killer. People who don’t like to use chemical weed killers often use vinegar instead.
Some who don’t like to spray anything potentially harmful to their plants might use more targeted solutions, like burning them (just one pass with a weed scorcher will suffice; do not attempt to start a fire). Keep in mind the burning method is not recommended in dry and/or windy areas of the country. Other methods include scalding weeds with boiling water, or suffocating weed-overtaken areas with thick layers of paper weighed down by mulch, so the weeds can’t reach sunlight.
How deep should mulch be applied?
Apply about a 3-inch deep mulch layer the first time--keeping in mind that the depth might be less if you use a fine mulch. If replacing the mulch in planting beds, the mulch layer should be 2-3 inches deep if you apply it annually, or 3-5 inches if the mulch hasn’t been applied in two years or more.
What is the best type of landscaping for hot climates?
For hot climates, the best landscaping requires little water. Cacti and succulents are very popular. So is the “Mediterranean-style” garden, which features sun-tolerant flowering plants, shrubs, and ornamental grasses.
Many perennials can thrive in a hot, dry summer--for example, a rainbow of flowering Echinacea varieties, dwarf rhododendrons, acacia, hydrangea, and many kinds of roses. But for upkeep purposes and sustainability, it’s recommended that homeowners in very hot, dry climates design gardens with a nice balance of hardscaping and drought-resistant plants.
How often should plants be watered?
Outdoor plants should be watered every day in the summer, or whenever the temperature hovers more than 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Certain potted plants even need watering twice a day. In cooler seasons, watering frequency depends on how much rain the plants are getting. If they’re not getting 1 1/2-2 inches per week, make up the difference by watering them.
Indoor plants should always be watered a few times a week, although the exact schedule depends on how much sunlight the plant gets, the type of plant, and the conditions in your house (e.g. air conditioning).