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Bulk topsoil growing grass

How to buy a good bulk topsoil

Growing anything starts with your soil. However, topsoil tends to be an overarching term for a number of products that vary in use and quality. While all have an important use, only some are appropriate for growing plants, lawns, and vegetables.

There are important differences between dirts & soils

Fill Dirt: A low-quality, unscreened dirt that is used to raise the level of the ground.


Screened Dirt: A low-quality dirt that has the larger rocks and debris screened out.

Blended or mixed soil: Created most often by mixing compost with a fill or screened dirt to make it a higher quality, hopefully good enough for growing

Topsoil: While there are a variety of underlying soil types (textures)--sandy, clay, silt, peat, chalk, and loam--all are focused on being high enough quality for growing.

How to find a good bulk topsoil

The best soil is a "loam" because it balances the strengths and weaknesses of the three most basic soil elements: sand, silt, and clay. Here's how to find a good loamy soil.

An eye


Check for a dark, brown color, which indicates a nice amount of organic matter. A light or white residue on the surface may indicate lime or salts, which can negatively impact growth. Warning signs: a light color may lack minerals, and; a blue-green or gray could suggest that the soil has been saturated and drained of its nutrients.

A hand


Dry: Feel for a crumbly natural and grainy texture, which suggest important minerals in the soil. Warning signs: hard texture suggests lack of organic matter; large clumps suggest too much clay, and; large stones or weed roots suggest poor ingredients and processing. 

Wet: Wet a small amount of sand in the palm of your hand. Feel for a balance (rather than domination) of three properties: grittiness suggests sand, stickiness suggests clay, and; smoothness suggests silt.

A nose


The soil should smell slightly sweet. Avoid anything that has a rotting, chemical, or otherwise off-putting smell to it.

A question mark


Ask where the ingredients come from. Most topsoils in the area use "native" dirt--i.e. whatever is dug out of the ground during construction-and have a wide variation in quality. Some native soils are so poor that, even after mixing with compost, will not be sufficient for growing.


Our topsoil is ready to grow your plants and grass! There's no need to screen it or add fertilizer--it's ready for you to use natural ingredients to Grow Good.

Bulk topsoil for sale
Bulk compost being screened

Browse our landscaping products: compost, topsoil, and mulch.

Food waste for composting

Learn about composting food and yard waste at Freestate Farms.

Compostable items ->

Planting in topsoil enriched with compost

Want to talk about using compost, topsoil, or mulch?

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