Best Bagged Soil?

m990540September 22, 2010


I'm thinking of replacing some of the soil in my landscaping beds. I thought putting in any bagged soil would be better than the builder's dirt I've got in there now and I'm looking for an easier way to enrich the soil without churning compost into the existing soil.

Does anyone have any reviews/suggestions of common bagged soils (Miracle Gro, Scotts, etc.) or know of a better product in the OKC area?

Thanks in advance!

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sunnyside1(z6/SW Mo.)

I cast my vote for Scott's. I like their potting soil as well.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 12:05PM
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sandhill_farms(10 NV)

If you are watching costs I would steer away from bagged soils. It's cheaper in the long run to buy a load of bulk compost (or soil) from a landscape company or nursery.

Southern Nevada

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 12:10PM
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What is the humus level of your soil? More than likely you do not need some kind of soil, either in a bag or bulk, but probably need organic matter.
I do not "churn" compost into my soil and have not for many years. I do, each fall, put about 1/2 inch of compost on the beds and cover them with shredded leaves and then let the soil bacteria and earthworms move that into the soil for me.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 12:29PM
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Thanks for all the responses! I usually work in compost when I plant new shrubs and flowers. It takes take a bit of work to mix it in properly. I just wonder if pulling out some of the claylike soil (Oklahoma soil) and pouring in three or four large bags of bagged soil if I'd be better off and done dealing with the soil for a couple of seasons.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 3:04PM
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I think you are putting too much emphasis on what the soil is supposed to produce. Some plants do very well in the poorest soil you might think to use. Others need enriched soil; it all depends on the individual plant.

Take vegetables as an example. Some vegetables cannot take a high degree of nitrogen....and compost does have such levels. Giving compost to some vegetables is a death sentence.

If your plants are doing well enough in the soil they have and have got used to, then changing it, thinking you are doing them a favor, might just be doing the opposite.
Plants can get along famously by growing in the soil that is presently how other plants are doing. Amending a soil to help it hold onto moisture by giving it organic material, is a good practice to learn.....but don't go overboard--there is no need. It wastes time, energy and money.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 3:46PM
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The clay soil has the smallest soil particle that is slowest for mineral leaching as they hold mineral particle very well, and in my opinion they are the second best soil type a gardener could hope to get next to the loam soil type, and it is always superior to sandy soil. Work them for a few years with compost and you might get the greatest return.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 6:57PM
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No matter how much you try you cannot "work" anything into your soil. That is what the soil bacteria will do. Your clay soil can be changed by adding compost and other forms of organic matter, not other mineral soil components such as sand unless you are going to add really large volumes. those clay soil particles are the mineral component of your soil and they do not leach out, those clay mineral particles are there forever.
What ever soil you buy in a store will seldom have more than about 5 percent organic matter in it and will be mostly the mineral portion of soil so you would be adding to your soil more of what you already have and very little of what you need, organic matter. Your soil needs between 5 and 8 percent organic matter, concentrate on adding that.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 7:09AM
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"No matter how much you try you cannot "work" anything into your soil."

I do it all the time. I use this to spread and work in this stuff so that it looks like this and eventually ends up like this to grow a crop like this


    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 12:12PM
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Lloyd, you may till stuff into your soil but you do not make it part of the soil, that takes bacterial and fungal activity. Many people think that when they till stuff in to their soil they are working it in but that does not happen.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 6:38AM
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kimm, another one of your "personal definitions" from your dog Webster I see.

From CT DEP...

"apply 1-3 inches of the finished compost and work it into the top four inches of soil."

From Composting Council of Canada...

"For existing beds, add about 2 1/2 cm (1") of compost and work it into the soil using a rake, hoe, shovel or rototiller."

There were about 62,800,000 results for "work it into the soil" on google and it took 0.11 seconds to find them.



P.S. This kinda reminds me of your "mid-winter" definition you had on Dec 13, 07 at 8:18.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 8:02AM
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Thank you all for the great responses.

I think I was a bit unclear in my initial posting. In addition to replacing some of the natural soil (which I now see is probably the wrong thing to do), I'd like to raise the area in question by about 6 to 12 inches.

So the question is: what is the best way to do that? Even by adding 3 inches of compost, I still have several inches to fill in the flower bed.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 3:34PM
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Brad Edwards

Just keep adding on mulch. It is that time of year when neighboors throw away tons of leaves and pine needles. I would work at shooting for an inital 6-10 inches of pine needles/leaves as they will flatten down to 2-3 inches by next spring. I would also add enough dirt for 4" or so. That should give you around 5-6 " by next year and by next fall you just repeat the free mulch. I am amazed so many people buy mulch and don't have raised beds at all. I always see them out picking weeds non stop. It can be difficult to plant as you have to dig down but water retention is outstanding. Great if your having a drought in the area.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 6:08PM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

To raise any area you have to add soil. Organic material is great but it will disappear. In my yard it only takes 3 to 6 months, depending on time of year. OM must be added in huge amounts several times/year to maintain the same level. Been there, done that.

I'd add soil, get it delivered by truck, not bags. I'd get any cheap soil to the desired level. Top that with lots of good OM- compost, leaves, grass clippings, straw- whatever you can get that's free. It will greatly improve the quality of that cheap truckload of soil and the soil component won't disappear like the OM will. That area will be permanently raised.


    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 9:09AM
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