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So with that looooong winter behind us, and spring peeking its little tulip and daffodil heads up all over the place, most folks are itching to get planting.  It’s important to use the right soil for the right plantings, so here’s a quick breakdown on topsoil vs. compost vs. potting mix.

Topsoil: It’s basically what the ground is made of, but just a little bit better!  (Many Rochester lawns have clay or sandy soil, whereas topsoil has more organic materials that are less compacted and more nutritious for growing.)

Best For: Filling in holes & low spots in lawns, growing grass seed, and mixing with compost for in-ground ornamental and vegetable gardens (it’s too heavy for container planting)

    Compost: A soil amendment to use when your garden needs a nutritious pick-me-up.  It’s usually very rich in nutrients, so don’t plant directly into compost.  A good ratio is usually 2 parts topsoil to 1 part compost.

    • Homemade: made from organic materials (food scraps and yard/garden waste) decompsing in a pile or bin
    • Brewer’s compost: made from the by-product of beer making
    • Composted manure

    Best For: Vegetable gardens (add some each year — producing lots f veggies each year takes a lot out of the soil), tree & shrub plantings, and ornamental plantings

    Potting Mix: Made from peat, perlite, limestone, and usually a fertilizer. Potting mix is quite light compared to topsoil or compost and needs no additional amendments when planting!

    Best For: Outdoor containers (both annuals & vegetables), indoor plants, and seed-starting

    (We use this exact potting mix in our greenhouses for all our veggie and annual plantings, and the incorporated fertilizer lasts for 4 months!)

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