We have been getting a lot of calls this year for organic topsoil, mostly from customers that want to grow vegetables and are worried about the high levels of lead we have in much of the soil here in Brooklyn and Manhattan. But what is "organic" topsoil? I know when people hear the word "organic" they think it must be better than something that is not, but isn't dirt pretty organic already? How do you make something that is already organic, MORE organic?
When people talk about organic topsoil, I think what they are really referring to is loam,which is actually different than topsoil. Loam is soil composed of sand, silt and clay in relatively even concentration (if you actually care, find out more about loam here). What we really are looking for is a soil that is as fertile as it could possibly be.
Vegetable plants grow best in well-drained, "sandy loam" soils that are rich with organic matter. Unfortunately, most gardens around here do not contain that type of soil. This is where the "organic" part comes in. Our organic topsoil means that it is soil that has been enriched. It means the soil is:
- modified by the use of soil conditioners such as course sand and organic matter such as compost
- peat free
- analysed for chemical levels
- contains a minimum amounts of rock or stone
- has a pH range between 6.5 - 7.2
- has an organic content between 2-9%