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Mix it Up on Earth Day. The Difference Between Soil and Dirt

Published on
February 16, 2023 8:18:03 AM PST February 16, 2023 8:18:03 AM PSTth, February 16, 2023 8:18:03 AM PST


Happy Earth Day, Van Beek’s Garden Supplies blog readers!



For this year’s Earth Day celebration, we’re going to look at the difference between dirt and soil.


And yes, there are differences. Big ones. One is a living ecosystem full of microorganisms which is vital to helping life on Earth grow and thrive.


The other is dirt.


Let’s (pardon the pun) dig a little deeper into this subject, shall we?


The scoop on soil

As mentioned above, high-quality, mixed soil is more than just a collection of muck and dust. It is a living environment full of water, worms, insects and other organisms. Those elements work together to give the soil the nutrients required for your garden to grow.


Here’s what happens in a clump of soil:


  • Water prevents the soil from drying out, thus providing a sustainable habitat for all the creatures living within it.


  • Worms help to increase the amount of air and water that gets into the soil, as well as leaving castings (a polite way of saying worm-droppings) which are a valuable and natural fertilizer. Then, when the worms (and insects) die, their bodies become food that soil can use.


  • Microorganisms like bacteria and fungus help aerate the soil by breaking down organic matter into materials the soil can absorb and use.



It all sounds…icky. But it’s actually quite miraculous. Water keeps the soil fresh. Worms help the water make its way through the soil. And tiny creatures so small that you need a microscope to see them help feed the soil.


In fact, you could somewhat say that soil is…alive.


That’s pretty cool. And it happens every day. All over the world. In our gardens and under our feet.


The dirt on dirt

Let’s start off talking about dirt with a quote that should explain it all:


“Dirt is what you wash out of clothes. Soil is what you plant in the ground.”


The short definition of dirt is that it’s the opposite of soil. For growing a garden, you don’t want dirt.


Dirt is what you find under your fingernails. And you wouldn’t use that as a planting mix, now would you?


Dirt is dead soil. It doesn’t have the vital organic matter needed to grow a beautiful garden. It’s harsh and dry. Mircoorganisms, earthworms and other bugs don’t really live in dirt.


Tips on having great soil

The soil inside a soil bag is rich and of all the good stuff needed to grow a long-lasting, beautiful garden.


And there are things you can do to keep your soil strong:

1 - Water it often: Just like plants, trees and grass seed require regular hydration, so does your soil. When watering, make sure to focus the nozzle of the hose directly on the soil so it can soak it up.


2 - Keep it warm: Direct sunlight warms up your soil, thus increasing its ability to help your garden grow.


3 - Avoid artificial fertilizers: Organic topsoil fertilizers are free of chemical compounds which can actually break down the soil and weaken its effectiveness. Go natural, whenever possible.



Contact us for your triple-mix soil needs

Growing a great garden starts from the ground up. Literally.


Having the best soil mixture is key towards giving your garden the foundation it needs to grow and thrive. Van Beek’s Garden Supplies is renowned for our premium triple mix soil.


Contact us today to speak to one of our garden professionals about all your soil and planting needs.