Spring projects sprout this time of year. March is a good time to restore and rejuvenate an old lawn, start some raised beds for vegetables and weed and mulch the flower and shrub beds to keep out future weeds and conserve soil moisture.
These spring projects will require soil and mulch resources — so here is the garden gossip. Buying soil can be a dirty business. The sale of “ topsoil” is not a regulated industry in our state.
Take time to educate yourself and ask questions before you purchase topsoil for landscape or lawn renovation projects. Readers tell me the biggest consumer complaint about buying topsoil, bark or compost are that those products can be contaminated with horse tail or other noxious weeds. Consumers have also reported on having a load of “soil” delivered that is full of large rocks, building debris such as nails and sheet rock and even undecomposed food scraps and garbage.
Gardeners in Western Washington are lucky to have many vendors of soil, compost and mulches with excellent reputations that have been in business for many years. Here are some tips from successful soil companies that have managed to keep their products weed- and debris-free and their customers happy over the years:
Consumers should visit companies’ websites to understand what they offer. Consumers also need to know that finding occasional clods or dirt lumps, small rocks or a bit of stringy material in a load of compost or topsoil does not detract from the overall quality of the product. What you should be concerned about are visible weeds (especially horsetail), undecomposed branches, fresh manure, cigarette butts, plastic pieces or any undecomposed food scraps.
ALL THE DIRT ON WORDS TO KNOW: