The Best Soils for Different Plants

Are you wondering what type of soil is best for growing plants here in southern Ontario? It mostly depends on what plants you’re growing and where. A tomato plant growing in a pot needs different soil than one growing in the ground. The best soil for plant growth is one that provides the right amount and type of nutrients, holds just the right amount of water, and allows for proper oxygen penetration. 

What Soil Is the Best for Plants? 

The best soil overall is one that is high in humus (organic material), has a fairly neutral pH, and holds moisture yet drains well. Most plants do well in this type of soil. The pH is important because plants like azaleas and chrysanthemums prefer acidic soil with a pH of around 6 to 6.5. 

Other plants, such as lavender, prefer a more alkaline soil with a pH slightly above 7. You can acidify soil by adding elemental sulfur or pine needles, and sweeten it by adding lime or wood ashes. 

The Different Classes of Soil 

Soil is not the same as dirt. Rather, dirt is the decomposed stone foundation upon which soil is built. Soil is a living ecosystem teeming with microorganisms that are vital to the growth of the larger organisms we call plants.  

The ideal planting mixture is made up of 4 components: 

  • Sand (38%) 
  • Silt (38%) 
  • Clay (19%) 
  • Organic matter (5%) 

This soil mixture is loose and friable, holds the perfect amount of water, and provides the nutrition your plants crave. It provides the ideal soil texture for plant growth. 

What class of soil is best for cultivating plants?  

  • Clay doesn’t allow for the free movement of either water or air. It’s also very difficult for fine plant roots to penetrate. 
  • Water and air move freely through sandy soil — too freely! It doesn’t hold water well at all and is often deficient in nutrients. 
  • Silt falls between clay and sand in particle size and water retention. 
  • Loam soils are nutritious, hold moisture well without becoming soggy, and allow for the proper movement of air. Most plants prefer this type of soil. 

Our soil in southern Ontario tends to be tight and poorly draining. Adding good quality soil and compost to it improves the texture and drainage, adds nutrients, and introduces beneficial bacteria. 

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The Best Types of Soil for Gardening 

You may be wondering what kind of soil is best for growing vegetables or your favourite flowers. Here’s a quick guide: 

  • Good soil for flowers is light and friable. It contains humus or compost for improved nutrition, bigger and brighter flowers, and excellent drainage. 
  • Most vegetables are heavy feeders and like a rich soil that holds plenty of water, yet drains well. You’ll harvest more greens if you give them an extra dash of nitrogen. However, too much nitrogen for fruiting plants like tomatoes will damage their leaves.  

Nutrient-rich soil makes stronger plants that are less susceptible to pests and diseases. 

We Offer Different Types of Soil for Plants 

At Van Beek’s, we have different types of soil to buy, including premium topsoil, our special Triple Mix, and mulch. We offer a quantity calculator and delivery for larger amounts. Contact Van Beek’s, your local landscaping and garden supply experts for all of your landscaping needs. 

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