The Most Common Colorado Garden Soil That People Use In Their Raised Garden Beds
The Garden Soil In Your Backyard: If you tried to dig a two-foot deep hole in your backyard, you would quickly learn that Colorado soil is incredibly hard-packed and clayey. If water cannot move through the soil, and root growth is impeded, your garden will suffer. Most existing soil has too much clay and not enough organic matter to have an easy and thriving veggie garden.
Organic Bagged Garden Soil: Most gardeners buy bagged soil products from Home Depot or Lowe’s. Bagged soils do not contain any topsoil – they’re actually “soilless” growing medias. The fluffiness of bagged soils is great for drainage and aeration, but nutrients in these mixes leach out of the soil within a year or two because the soil lacks healthy microbiology and soil structure. Usually they must be replaced every couple years. They also drain too quickly stressing plants on hot summer days.
Bulk Topsoil-Compost Mixes: There are a number of places to buy bulk soil mixes to fill garden beds. These soil mixes are often too clayey and dense, making it difficult for water to drain through them and plant roots to penetrate the dense soil. They have the opposite problem of the bagged soils. Compost is often added to mitigate this problem, but often in too high of quantities (see below).
Too Much Compost and Manure: Many organic gardeners simply add too much compost or manure to their gardens. Compost is amazing – it adds organic matter to your soil, feeds the microbiology in the soil, retains water, and releases nutrients that your plants need to grow. But it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. Adding too much can lead to high salts and high potassium levels in your soil. Many garden veggies are sensitive to high salts (beans are often the first plants to show salt problems). Manure is especially notorious for being high in salinity. High potassium in your soil can increase pest pressures and actually decrease the nutrient-density of your vegetables. Adding a bit of compost or manure to your soil every year is fine, but if 30-50% of your soil mix is compost or manure, it’s simply too much for truly healthy soil.
What to Focus On With Your Garden Soil
- High Organic Matter (but not too much compost or manure)
- Drainage and Friability
- Micronutrients and Trace Minerals
So What’s In The Urban Farm Company Mix?
Our soil contains over 15 ingredients such as topsoil, worm castings, compost, biochar, pulverized rock dust, and organic fertilizers that are intended to create a healthy soil ecosystem for plant growth.