13 Mar Ready, Set, Grow. How to choose the right soil.
You’ve done your research and decided that organic gardening is the right choice for you. Now you’re ready to dig in and start growing. Where to begin? Simply put: It starts with the soil.
Get your soil ready.
A healthy organic garden needs healthy soil that supports a thriving ecosystem of beneficial micro-organisms and nutrients to feed your plants. Your first step as an organic gardener will be make sure your soil is optimized to grow your plants. You can check the quality of your soil with a home testing kit that will tell you pH and nutrient levels. Chances are, you’ll need to amend your soil with proven organic soils, organic planting mix, organic mulch and organic fertilizers.
Your primer on organic gardening products.
The success of your organic garden relies on the types of gardening products you use to help it grow and thrive. Here’s an overview of the different types of organic gardening products you’ll need to get started and keep growing.
Organic Garden Soils
Soil is your first basic ingredient for your organic garden. The soil you currently have, however, is likely lacking in nutrients and composition needed for a healthy, thriving organic garden. That’s where organic soils come in.
Organic soils are great for a wide range of plants and gardens, including lawns, flowers, herbs, vegetable and fruits. Proven organic soils are enriched with natural ingredients that promote a healthy soil ecosystem. Specialized organic garden soils can soften hard clay, improve drainage for cacti and succulents, or lower the pH for acid loving plants. Learn more about our proven organic soil products.
Organic Planting Mix
When planting a shrub, rose bush, large ornamental grass, or tree, you will probably need to improve the soil in the planting hole. Organic planting mix–comprised of organic matter such as aged arbor fines and rice hulls, and peat moss–can provide a good supplement for your soil. Just keep in mind, planting mix is meant to be a soil amendment, not a soil replacement. Organic planting mixes will improve the soil structure around your new plant, getting it off to a great start. Learn more about our nationally certified organic planting mix products.
Organic Raised Bed & Potting Mix
Plants growing in pots and raised beds have different needs than plants growing in the ground. That’s why it is important to always use an organic potting mix for your container garden and an organic raised bed mix for your raised beds—not an organic garden soil or organic planting mix. Organic potting and raised bed mixes contain things like perlite, rice hulls, and coconut fibers (coir) to properly balance drainage and water retention. Learn more about our nationally certified organic potting mix products.
Organic mulch, made from organic matter with no chemicals or harmful synthetic ingredients, is spread over the surface of soil as a covering. A three inch layer of organic mulch can reduce watering needs by 30%. Not to mention that organic mulch helps keeps the soil cool, makes it harder for weeds to grow, and can enhance the look of a garden. What’s more, when organic mulch begins to decompose, it adds even more organic matter to the soil. Learn more about our organic mulch products.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have rich soil. Chances are, your current soil may be deficient in nutrients, or may have imbalanced pH levels (not acidic or alkaline enough). Not to worry. Organic fertilizers are a simple way to improve your soil’s fertility and feed your healthy soil ecosystem.
Unlike harmful chemical fertilizers that focus on the plant and neglect — and even damage — the soil, organic fertilizers support the health of your soil for the long-term. Chemical fertilizers will leech your soil of beneficial organic matter, microorganisms and nutrients required for a healthy, sustainable garden. Organic fertilizers, on the other hand, are made from natural materials that enrich your soil with nutrients, making it a more fertile environment for your plants to grow. Learn more about our natural organic fertilizers.
Choosing the right organic gardening products.
When selecting organic soil, organic planting mix, organic mulch and organic fertilizer, it’s not enough to simply look for the word “organic” on the package. Make sure you also look carefully at the ingredients. Many gardening products that claim to be organic will have harmful synthetic, genetically modified or even chemical ingredients in the mix.
To be certain that a product is completely organic, look for products that have been verified by an accredited, independent organization that meets the USDA National Organic Program standards. The Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) is one agency with such credentials. That’s one way to know the product you’re buying is proven organic, down the last ingredient.
Get inspired. And get help.
Take a look at the beautiful, thriving and healthy organic gardens everyday people like you have grown using our proven organic gardening products. And access our library of expert tips, how-to videos, articles and more.