Where to Find Garden Soil

Fishman-RDMarch 25, 2013

Hi. I am new to gardening and am building a raised garden this year. I would like to use good soil, preferably a clean organic-compost type. Are there lists of nurseries/farms, or places where certified good soil can be obtained ?

I live in Morris County, NJ

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toxcrusadr

Unless someone here is from your area, we will not be of much help. Places that you can look for vendors include Craigslist, other classified ads, nurseries and garden centers, etc. You can also ask local gardeners and gardening clubs.

Hopefully you can find someone who blends sifted topsoil with compost to make a nice mix for gardening, and will deliver a load to your driveway.

As far as 'certified', certified for what? Most small scale vendors of this type of product do not test their soil. If you are concerned about pesticides or weed seeds, I would ask them where they get their soil and compost, and go from there.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 2:40PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

There is no such thing as "certified good soil" and the term "topsoil" means nothing beyond that the soil is supposed to be the to 4 to 6 inches of soil from someplace.
What you need to do is determine what the soil you want is to be. Most everyone probably would agree that Loam is the best soil and Loam consists of about 45 percent sand, 25 percent silt, 25 percent clay, and 5 percent organic matter. If I were to purchase some soil that mixture os what I would look for.

Here is a link that might be useful: About Soil

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 6:54AM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

I think he's talking about certified organic. I don't know about where you are but soil/compost is not cheap.. My city gives away free compost(leaf humus), you might want to check into that... I could have easily paid a couple hundred if I didnt throw on my back brace and shovel it myself... Like mentioned loam is good, any good compost would work to.. Just don't be roped into paying forty bucks a yard because they say its "black gold".. The only way to insure quality soil/compost is make it yourself!

Joe

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 9:42AM
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darth_weeder(z7 NY)

Purchasing garden soil is really a crap shoot. The best advice I can give is to look on line or the yellow pages for nurseries that sell it and going down there and checking it out for yourself.
Sorry I can't be of more help.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 3:31PM
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gardengal48

I'm not at all sure why everyone wants to make this so difficult - see the attached link. If that is not a practical source, just Google 'morris county nj bulk soil providers'.
A good many places will refer to garden soil blends as "topsoil" - that's what the gardening public is familiar with. It does not mean it is bad stuff - most is perfectly adequate or even more than adequate but it is always nice to check out the product in person. And if you need to bring in a quantity of soil - like to fill raised beds - a bulk soil provider will be far less expensive than any bagged product.

And yes there is such a thing as 'certified' soil - it is typically tested for various attributes (pH, percentage of organic matter, free of pathogens or heavy metals) - and certified accordingly.

Folks want to get so esoteric about this stuff and unnecessarily. It is not rocket science, afterall :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Morris co. soil provider

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 3:16PM
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jonfrum(6)

The link provided requires 16 cubic yards minimum. that's 27 4x8 raised beds at 6 inches coverage.

Buying bulk is certainly the way to go if you really need to buy soil, but most all gardeners need a by-the-yard source.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 5:23PM
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gardengal48

That's 16 yds delivered. For bulk pick-up there is no minimum. And that's pretty typical at any bulk soil purveyor - a no minimum or yard by yard availability if picked up by the customer but nearly always a minimum (5cy or more) for delivered goods.

Since I don't live in NJ, I have no idea if that outfit is convenient to the OP or not. But it doesn't take much effort to find someplace closer.

Since most bagged soil products are in 1.5 or 2cf bags, one needs a rather large quantity of 'em to tally upto a cubic yard. If you need more than about 1/2 yard, I'd go with the bulk.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 6:39PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Many times people have come to these forums and ranted about the junk they ended up buying that was being sold as "topsoil". This is the largest "Let the Buyer Beware" market left today and knowledge of what you want and what you expect can be of great help.
If you want good soil do not rely on the seller to provide it unless you know what you want and demand it. Knowing about soil is not "rocket science" but knowledge never hurt either.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 6:27AM
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maple_grove_gw

Garden centers abound in northern NJ, this will not be a problem. Visit garden center. Look at their bulk topsoil. It should cost no more than $30/yd. If it looks like what you want, have them deliver what you need.

Do you have more specific needs?...what do you mean by "clean organic compost type"? Any decent soil will have a mineral component as well as an organic, if you could be more precise it would be helpful. Anyway, it should be easy to find "screened topsoil" at these types of places, which should in theory buy you the clean part, depending on what you mean.

You can start by calling around to garden centers and ask them more about their topsoil product. But as said above, be sure to visit and take a look in person, before plunking down your $$.

This post was edited by maple_grove on Thu, Mar 28, 13 at 9:01

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 8:59AM
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darth_weeder(z7 NY)

All the soils sold by this company are certified products

Here is a link that might be useful: 100% certified soils

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 11:53AM
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emmers_m(9a/Sunset 7 N Cal)

I'm also in Morris County. I haven't bought soil, but the county does deliver reasonably priced screened compost, which I've bought several times and been pleased with.

~emmers

Here is a link that might be useful: MCMUA

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 10:54PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Darth, by whom are those products certified? It looks to me like that is simply the name of the company and has nothing to do with whether any of the products are good or not.
"caveat emptor", let the buyer beware was the watchword even back in ancient Rome.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 6:24AM
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