Understanding Topsoil Fertility and How to Improve It


As the weather continues to warm, our thoughts turn to our gardens as they start to blossom and bloom. It can be frustrating when we spend so much time tending to our gardens, yet they never really look as luscious as we imagined them. Whereas most of us would blame our lack of gardening knowledge, the real culprit might be laying right below our feet.


Infertile topsoil is a common killer amongst gardeners, with the wrong conditions meaning that our plants never really stood a chance. One of the key reasons behind garden topsoil lacking nutrients is that the majority of gardens are covered in turf. Each individual plant requires different levels of nutrients, but if your garden is covered in turf then your topsoil will be lacking consistently in certain areas.


A garden covered in turf is what can be described as a monoculture, an area that grows only one type of plant. We can see the failings of this type of growth when you look at farmland that doesn’t implement crop rotation strategies. It means that year after year, the same nutrients are drained from the soil faster than they can be replenished, until it is impossible to grow that particular crop anymore. Compare this to forests, which have a multitude of plant species growing and continue to thrive for decades, and we can see where the problem is.


Obviously, we are not going to start digging up our lawns, especially with summer just around the corner, but we can see why it is important to ensure that you keep all of your topsoil fertilised. If we left nature to do its thing, our gardens would have turned into fully fledged forests, featuring trees and a wide variety of plants and insects. All of this would have been achieved without any man-made assistance, such as fertilisers and mulch. This is because the levels of nutrients in topsoil are able to support a wide variety of plants effectively, just not one single type.


Now that we understand what is often holding our gardens back from blooming to their fully capacity, we can begin to improve our topsoil. Consider changing your topsoil entirely if you ever lay new turf in your garden, or just replace the soil of your flowerbeds if replacing everything isn’t possible. It is also advisable to reduce the size of your lawn overtime, increasing the population of other plants in your garden. This will naturally begin to reduce the effects of mono culturing in your garden, meaning that there are more nutrients available. Also consider making your own compost or mulch to spread on your flower beds on a regular basis. This is extremely rich in nutrients and easy to make.