The 8 Best Garden Soils
This wiki has been updated 9 times since it was first published in May of 2020. Designed to be integrated into native earth and help restore balance, garden soil is usually the more affordable alternative to potting soil, although either could be used as an amendment. It's generally comprised of top soil mixed with bulky organic material and compost to improve texture. However, it's not always sterilized, so as a safety precaution we suggest wearing gloves while working. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
June 29, 2020:
Since garden soil is optimized for integrating into your existing beds or directly into the earth, we've included a variety of both general and more specific options for your perusal. Bear in mind, while specific items such as Miracle Gro Trees and Shrubs or Jolly Gardener Veggie and Herb Blend may have been developed to cater to their namesake plants, it wouldn't be harmful to use them as an all-purpose garden soil as well.
If your soil is very dense or is mainly clay, Organic Plant Magic Compressed and Miracle Gro Expand 'n Gro are smart choices. They are filled with coco fibers, which is not only how they get their expanding properties, but also allows them to decompact your earth. Along those lines, these are both very light and easy to carry, so if you struggle to, or want to avoid lifting heavy bags, these are great options. They also will be much easier to store since they take up less space than traditional garden soils.
Conversely, if your soil is overly sandy or loamy, nutrients and water may easily be lost before plants can absorb needed quantities. All of the options on our list incorporate either peat moss or coco fiber, which help balance soil's water retention and drainage. This allows it to "hold onto" nutrients and water, giving plants the opportunity to get what they need. Items which have added microorganisms can assist plants with nutrient uptake as well; such as Happy Frog Potting or Coast of Maine Organic Raised Bed Mix.
Some of these selections, like Smart Naturals Happy Frog, Organic Plant Magic Compressed and Coast of Maine Organic Raised Bed Mix may be used as potting soil (and in some cases are even labeled as such) all on their own. You can add these directly into some pots to start seedlings or perhaps a container garden.
And of course, no matter how healthy your soil is, you'll need to ensure you have the proper tools to plant and maintain your garden.
Kellog Amend This highly-rated, organic option contains aged wood fines to help incorporate an airy texture to your dirt, in addition to well-rounded fertilizers such as bat guano and kelp meal to enhance your existing soil's nutrition. Not only can it balance the texture of your substrate, but it is also designed to attract beneficial microbes. kelloggarden.com