Hi, Can you tell me the best place to purchase organic soil for my vegetable garden? Would you recommend two different types of soils and how best should I go about having it dropped off at my home? Thx.
Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners.
Toronto Master Gardeners ae not able to direct you to different companies for purchasing soil. If you visit https://landscapeontario.com/ you should be able to find companies that deliver in your area. You may also want to purchase from your local nursery which will probably have bags and a delivery service. When you mention organic soil I assume you want no synthetic fertilizers added to the soil? The companies should be able to answer that question as well.
You do not mention if you are filling a new raised bed or amending an established bed.
If you are creating a new raised bed you will want soil that is balanced with some organic matter mixed into it . A standard balanced mix should work fine. The nursery or company should be able to tell you what the components of the soil are and if fertilizers have been added. You do not want it too heavy in any one thing like manure or organic matter. Organic matter usually is about 5% of the soil. Soil closest to what you already have in your yard is best.
Before choosing supplements for an established garden it is important to have your soil tested. It is the only way to be sure you are adding the correct nutrients and not over loading your soil with excessive amounts of anyone thing. Knowing the breakdown of your soil will help with making that decision. The University of Guelph provides this service. https://afl.uoguelph.ca/submitting-samples
When working with your soil it is important to be aware of the effect you are having on your garden. Soil is made of aggregates which enable it to hold water and nutrients and make them available to the plants. With no aggregates plants will have difficulty getting the water and nutrients it needs. Aggregates take time to be created and are easily destroyed. Working when the soil is wet and digging/tilling are the most common ways to break down aggregates of soil. Once destroyed it can take years to reform aggregates.
When adding soil to gardens it is best to minimize digging and to leave it on the surface. Let nature mix it in for you. To maintain a good habitat in your soil a layer of mulch can help enhance the soil , regulate water retention and temperature and decrease weed growth. As the mulch breaks down it will also feed your garden.
I have included some articles for you below for further reading:
Soil composition: https://web.extension.illinois.edu/soil/concepts/concepts.pdf
Soil Aggregates: http://nmsp.cals.cornell.edu/publications/factsheets/factsheet95.pdf
Benefits of Mulch:https://extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.html?