Topsoil forms a huge part of growing media sales every year but very few topsoils deliver when it comes to organic matter or environmental protection, according to the creators of the new organic topsoil, The Real Soil Company.
“Consumers know that they need topsoil and are aware of its role in gardening projects. However, what they may not be very informed about is the production of most topsoil and why much of what they are buying will do little to boost their plant or crop growth, whilst in fact, also doing very little to ‘protect the planet’ in these environmentally-conscious times”, said Simon Hedley, Managing Director of Boughton Loam Ltd, which is responsible for bringing SuperSoil from The Real Soil Company to market.
“Topsoil can be best divided into three quality grades – premium, general purpose and economy. The quality is not always clearly defined on the packaging, which means consumers are often buying product that is not fit for purpose and, unfortunately, there are no industry standards for topsoil health when it comes to quality. For instance, Topsoil has a weight conversion ratio of on average 1.2 tonnes per cubic metre. What this means is a typical bag of “topsoil” purchased from a garden centre or DIY retailer purporting to contain more than 25 litres of product is not going to contain topsoil. Instead it will have a high sand content and will include wood fibre, peat and other environmentally damaging products. These elements not only lead to consumer disappointment regarding quality, results and value for money, but just as importantly they will impact the overall long-term health of soil and the surrounding environment. Plastic, and even glass from green waste sources, can complete the overall composition, which can prove even more harmful to both man and beast.
“On a good day, many of the best-selling topsoils are little more than 80% sand and 20% compost; a combination of which offers little additional nutritional and buffering value for plants and will lack body, so plants will also not receive the necessary support for optimum growth,” added Simon. “It is this knowledge that led to the development of The Real Soil Company and SuperSoil. This is not another ‘me too’ product but one that has been designed to breathe some new life into this product category, whilst also increasing consumer buy-in through the strong eco messaging.”
The Real Soil Company’s SuperSoil benefits from being ‘super charged’ with the inclusion of natural and organic single-source plant derived amendment, which when blended with natural topsoil, meets higher environmental, physical and nutritional standards than is currently specified in BS3882.
Each batch of SuperSoil benefits from the finest natural topsoil as the main ingredient and is then blended according to a stringent formula set out by the company’s in-house soil analyst to ensure consistency and optimum characteristics. The resulting improved biology of the soil means that The Real Soil Company’s SuperSoil consistently outperforms current market-leading topsoils in key areas, including phosphorous (required for plant respiration and growth), potassium (essential for respiration and photosynthesis), magnesium (creates brighter colours), organic matter (improves soil structure, water retention and drought tolerance) and sand/silt/clay content.
The team at The Real Soil Company has also enlisted independent testing to ensure that its SuperSoil continues to meet the rigorous parameters it has set for itself. One such test, which investigated water dynamics, saw the product retain in excess of 94% more water than one of the current market-leading manufactured soils.
Simon concluded: “Topsoil plays such a significant role in growing media sales but, for so long, the focus has been on compost and the great peat debate. There will, inevitably, be a shift of focus to topsoil, with consumers expecting the same eco-credentials. With The Real Soil Company’s SuperSoil, it is possible to stock a brand that holds these credentials at its heart, without compromising on results and functionality.”