understanding garden soil
Our garden soils have been used by happy gardeners for years. We have a selection of bulk or bagged options suitable for your yard, landscape, and containers – from premium potting soil, compost, to top soil.
Our Country Bumpkin garden soil experts can assist you with ALL your soil needs – which type of soil to choose and how much you will need.
choose which bulk soil would be best for you
If you need smaller bagged soil quantities, we have; Organic Top Soil, Composts (Organimix, Mushroom Compost, Cow Manure/Peat Compost, Annual/Perennial Mix).
Our topsoil is sourced from local fields and screen processed to minimize debris and clumps. It is an excellent product for filling in lawns grading and backfilling.
This excellent compost is produced at a local dairy farm. It is screened to a 3/8 inch particle size and is perfect for annuals, perennials, vegetables, potting soils, and lawn topdressing.
This consists of a blend of topsoil Organimix and sand. If you want to create raised beds and wet gardens this mix is ideal. The sand helps with drainage and the Organimix adds nutrients.
This multi-functional mix is a blend of 50:50 topsoil and Organimix. If you create, or have an existing well drained base at the bottom of your beds, this is a perfect blend.
understanding garden soil in a few easy steps
Most of the soil in Illinois was originally moved by material deposited from glaciation. Massive amounts of rocky material were ground into a mixture of gravel, sand, silt, and clay. Added to that, our deciduous hardwood forests and tall grass prairies have infused organic matter into the soil.
Most of our soil have mixtures of variable sized particles. If soil has at least two sizes of particles in sufficient quantity, it is known as loam. Therefore, the loam can be clay loam, sandy clay loam, silt loam, silty clay loam or sandy loam depending on the size of the particles.
Good soil texture in our gardens is important if we want to get the most out of our plants. Crucially, texture influences the water intake of our soil, how much water it holds, and how well the soil drains. It can be a fine balance, for example, if soil contains too much sand or gravel, the water may drain too fast and plants will suffer during dry spells – also, organic matter will decay rapidly decreasing the nutrients that plants desire.
A silty mixture on the other hand that is open to air and water filtration, is really what we need as gardeners.
A soil that contains a lot of clay (very fine particles), will hold water the most. However, this can cause problems. The water may be held so tightly that plants cannot utilize it. This type of soil tends to drain poorly and is not ideal.
An ideal soil will contain a combination of all three particles – sand, silt, and clay. Add good nutrients and organics to that and we are ready to garden!
Determining soil texture.
Texture can easily be determined by feeling the soil with your fingers.
Moisten about ½ inch of soil to get the consistency of putty; make a ball and hold between thumb and forefinger. Pressing your thumb forward, form the soil into a ribbon.
If you can form a long pliable ribbon, you probably have a lot of clay or silty clay that is finely textured in the soil sample. If the ribbon forms but breaks into pieces the soil is moderately fine textured. If a ribbon cannot be formed and the soil breaks into pieces it is probably a loam, silt loam or sandy loam. If you cannot form a ribbon and the soil feels very gritty, it is moderately coarse textured. If the soil is considered coarse textured, you will not be able to form a ribbon and there will be no soil stain on your hand.
You would need to amend your soil accordingly to get a medium coarse textured consistency.
Remember, roots are opportunistic. They will grow into soil that has the ideal conditions for them – a happy medium of water, air, and nutrients. Preparing soil with this in mind will result in a great looking garden!