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Topsoil & Compost

On the surface, topsoil and compost may seem like very similar materials.  Both are made up of broken down organic matter and contain nutrients perfect for plants or turf.

The difference between Topsoil and Compost comes from how they produced.  Topsoil is made from organic matter which has disintegrated over a long period of time while with Compost the disintegration happens much faster in a warm, damp environment.  Due to this, Compost contains much more nutritional content than Topsoil does however Topsoil maintains its structure and retains moisture better than Compost.

Generally if you are looking to increase the volume and improve the structure of soil in your garden, Topsoil would be the best choice whereas Compost is ideal to inject nutrients into your soil.  It’s also common to use a combination of both to maximise the benefits however compost can be used on its own for pots and planters.

Topsoil

We sell our own topsoil in bulk 1 tonne bags (which is normally more than a builder’s merchant may supply), the bags are weighed at time of filling but may lose some weight in evaporation.  We recommend that you use any topsoil in bulk bags within 7 days of delivery as it may compact and consolidate if left too long.

Our Topsoil is usually a free flowing loam with an average acidity level and is good for most plants or grass seed, it is generally lifted from farmers or developers that are clearing an area for construction.

We sell two grades of topsoil.  As dug – as it sounds this means the soil is supplied exactly as it was dug up/lifted so may contain stones or organic material. Screened – effectively the soil is sieved to remove all particles above 20mm in size.

Compost

There are numerous types of compost available but by far the most common is Multi-Purpose (or All-Purpose) compost which is available in a number of different sizes.  More specialised compost is available for specific plants (such as Roses and Ericaceous plants) or, specific purposes like seed sowing.

Peat has generally been used as one of the main components in compost for many years, environmental concerns now mean that peat is being phased out of compost and there are a number of peat-free alternatives available.  Instead of using peat, peat-free composts generally contain wood and/or coconut fibres.

How much Topsoil do I need?

Step 1 – Measure the area you want to fill in meters e.g. 2.2m width and 1.2m length

Step 2 – Measure the depth you want the topsoil to be in meters e.g. 0.25m

Step 3 – Multiply all 3 to work out the volume needed in cubic meters (m³) e.g. 2.2 x 1.2 x 0.25 = 0.66 m³ required

Step 4 – Convert this from volume (m³) to weight (tonne). Generally there is about 1.4 tonnes of topsoil to the m³ so simply multiply 1.4 by the m³ required e.g. 1.4 x 0.66 = 0.924. 

Using this example, 1 tonne of topsoil would be more than sufficient.

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Topsoil & Compost