What is topsoil?

What is topsoil and what do you need it for? We clarify everything important about the advantages and alternatives of so-called mother earth. Topsoil is often used in the garden – then sometimes several cubic meters of the dark earth is distributed. But what is topsoil actually and what makes this soil? We clarify the concept of mother earth, its function, and also the question of whether there are alternatives.

Definition of topsoil

The term “topsoil” means the uppermost, most fertile horizon of soil. This contains mineral soil components such as sand, clay, and silt, but also a large proportion of humus, many soil organisms, and nutrients. Soil scientists call it “A horizon”, farmers say “arable topsoil” and in common usage, it is simply referred to as topsoil, topsoil, or topsoil.

Tip: In the case of soils that are not or very seldom worked, there may be a so-called humus layer above the A horizon. However, this does not count towards the topsoil because it is purely organic, i.e. it has no mineral components.

The humus A horizon is differentiated from the less humus subsoil

What is the function of topsoil?

The topsoil is not only the topmost but also the most important soil horizon for plants. Because it is soft, stores a lot of water, and contains all the necessary nutrients. Plants grow less well without fertile soil.
Incidentally, the biologically active topsoil also filters pollutants from the rainwater, decelerates its flow, and releases it into the groundwater.

Tip: Even productive agriculture – and thus our diet – is not possible without healthy mother earth. This also explains the strange name of the topsoil layer.

Topsoil is an important resource that grows over several thousand years – so preserving it is particularly important. Erosion, sealing with paved surfaces or gravel gardens, the use of toxic pesticides and mineral fertilizers, or one-sided planting reduce the fertility of the topsoil. This is mainly due to the fact that the humus content and biological activity decrease as a result of this incorrect soil treatment.

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However, healthy soil is an important prerequisite for strong plants. True to our motto “There is power in the earth”, we at Gardender rely exclusively on sustainable organic fertilizers, which aim to maintain the fertility of the topsoil. The microorganisms contained enliven the soil and ensure that nutrients are available for the plants.

If the improvement of your garden soil is also important to you, we would be happy to show you how to build humus in the garden.

Tip: Soil fertility isn’t just good for you and the soil. The build-up of humus is also good for the climate because the humus stores carbon from the atmosphere.

Are there alternatives to mother earth?

If you only want to fill a small bed or a planter with fertile soil, you can of course also use topsoil. However, this does not necessarily contain a lot of nutrients, cannot store a lot of water, and is also very heavy – this can make the work very difficult!  The special composition of our pre-fertilized organic soil ensures that the plants are optimally supplied with all the necessary nutrients. Compared to conventional potting soils, our organic soils save up to 60% CO2 in production because we completely dispense with environmentally harmful ingredients such as peat.

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If a lot of soil is required for beds and lawns in the garden, there is no real alternative to mother earth. The A-horizon as an organic horizon is the basic requirement for being able to speak of soil at all. If your property lacks topsoil, for example, due to previous structural measures, recycling yards, building materials dealers, or private builders offer the top layer of soil for sale. It then comes from construction sites where the topsoil has been removed in favor of buildings or paved areas.

When a garden is redesigned, topsoil is often used

Tip: Purchased mother earth is initially not particularly fertile. A lot of humus is broken down through the removal, mixing, and storage, organisms die and the important crumbs of soil are destroyed. If you have distributed topsoil in your garden, it is, therefore, important to carry out soil improvement measures.

Organic fertilizers, the use of green manure, and the use of horse manure and compost are the most important measures to make the topsoil more fertile, in addition to the rapid planting of the soil. When creating a lawn that is a very draining permanent crop, it is not uncommon for it to be worthwhile to use lawn soil. They increase the proportion of organic matter by leaps and bounds so that a lawn can grow dense and healthy right from the start and weeds in the lawn have no chance.

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