Compost vs. Topsoil: What’s the Difference?

Are you planning to grow flowers in your yard or cultivate your own food by starting a vegetable garden? Whatever your plan is, you must not forget to use topsoil and compost, which are both rich in nutrients. 

Using topsoil and compost contributes to a healthier garden. However, they have different purposes. Continue reading to differentiate compost vs. topsoil and how each improves your gardening experience.

Compost vs. Topsoil: What's the Difference?

Components of Compost vs. Topsoil

Topsoil is the top layer of soil, which can be 4 to 12 inches deep. Plants rely on topsoil for water and nutrients; that is why a healthy topsoil results in better plant growth. 

The main components of topsoil are silt, sand, and clay. Even if your soil comes from the same yard, it is important to remember that topsoil can differ dramatically. It is believed that topsoil with the best ratios of the three components holds enough moisture for your plants’ roots. 

Meanwhile, compost is made using various organic waste products, such as leaves, manure, and kitchen scraps. Its resulting main components include organic matter, moisture, oxygen, and bacteria. These components should exist for compost to improve plant growth, especially in fruit and vegetable gardens. 

Different Types of Topsoil and Compost

There are various kinds of topsoil. The first one is clay, which is composed of small particles that hold water extremely well. It is best used when planting trees like maple and oak. The second kind of topsoil is sand. Since it is made up of large particles, it does not hold water well, unlike clay. It is recommended for those who want to grow flowers like daisies. 

The last type of topsoil is loam. It is considered the richest among the three types due to its nutrients. Loamy topsoil is also rich in organic matter, and it can hold moisture very well while contributing to the health of your flowering plants. 

Compost also comes in different forms. It can be created by homeowners or purchased in stores. The different types of compost include food waste, yard trimmings, and leaves, while commonly used ones are manure from horses, cows, sheep, and poultry. 

How to Use Topsoil and Compost

To use topsoil for your yard, begin by tilling the top few inches of existing soil then adding a layer of topsoil around 3 inches deep. Till the soil again and make a 6-inch layer, creating a mix of existing soil and added topsoil. The combination of the two creates a smooth transition layer, which hinders possible growth and drainage issues. 

There are several ways to use compost, such as sprinkling or mixing it into your flower and vegetable beds to improve plant growth. You can also gently rake compost into tree beds, blend it with the soil to revive your plants, or spread it on your lawn as a soil amendment. Adding compost to your yard will retain soil moisture. In return, you will see an increased number of earthworms that break down organic matter, which is particularly beneficial for plants.

Buy Quality Gardening Materials From Us

Now that you understand the differences between compost vs. topsoil, contact Keleny Top Soil in Madison, WI to schedule your delivery to support your fruit and vegetable garden. We offer purple cow classic compost, horse manure bedding compost, and shredded topsoil for your gardening project. You can also try our garden mix product, a mixture of high-quality topsoil and compost that is perfect for your flower or vegetable garden.