Can You Make Your Own Topsoil?

High-quality topsoil will help your plants grow faster and healthier. Because it is so important to the growing process, both veteran and aspiring gardeners and landscapers often have the question of if they can make their own topsoil, and if it is worth it. The answer to the first part of that question is a resounding yes! It takes nature thousands of years to naturally produce topsoil, but we can manufacture our own in hours or days, depending on our resources.

Steps to Making Topsoil

  • Make the Nutrient Base. To create a base of nutrients, you’ll need to use either compost that you’ve created yourself, or else purchase fertilizer from a gardening supplies provider. If you’re planning on creating topsoil yourself, consider starting a compost heap in your home.
  • Add Minerals. Healthy topsoil needs a variety of different minerals to grow healthily. Examples of minerals that are required in topsoil include the following: zinc, iron, copper, sulfur, and chlorine. Different plants may need different minerals. To know what minerals are already in your compost, you’ll need to conduct a soil analysis.
  • Add Organic Matter. Dead plants are incredibly necessary for growing living ones, as are other types of “organic matter.” When building compost for your topsoil, you should be throwing in dead leaves, grass clippings, coffee grounds, and other types of things that cause natural decomposition.
  • Control the Acid Levels. Acidity levels in soil play a huge role in plant health. Some argue that it is the most important component of topsoil. In order to know the acidity of your soil, you’ll need to have a soil analysis done. Generally, the proper levels are somewhere between 6.0 or 6.8 pH. However, different plants require different levels.
  • Aerate. If your topsoil is too tight, it will suffocate the plants, which need oxygen in the root system to properly grow. After laying your soil down, use some gardening tools, such as rakes or pitchforks, to unpack and loosen the soil.
  • Add Moisture. Finally, you’ll need to add water to complete the process. When finishing creating a layer of topsoil, you want the soil to be moist enough to clump up, but not be completely soaked.

Should You Make Your Own?

Is it a good idea to make your own topsoil? That depends on the context. The steps above usually necessitate that you have taken prior steps, such as creating a compost heap. So it may not be feasible for you at this time to do so. Likewise, there are a lot of things that can go wrong when creating topsoil. Because of this, you may decide to take the safe route and purchase commercial options that meet specific acidity and nutrient standards. Regardless, it’s important to know what components make up topsoil to be an efficient, well-rounded gardener.