Ask a Question forum: Bulk Garden Dirt

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angelynfa
Feb 1, 2016 7:26 AM CST
I'm in the process of building a new raised garden bed. Any suggestions on a company that will deliver good garden soil in the McKinney area? Thank you!
Silver Spring, MD (Zone 7a)
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ssgardener
Feb 1, 2016 7:58 AM CST
Welcome! Angelynfa!

Where exactly is McKinney? I just googled it and Texas came up. Is that where you are?

You might get better responses if you post on the regional forum. For example, if you're from TX, post here: http://garden.org/forums/view/texas/

If you're not from TX, check out the other regional forums here: http://garden.org/forums/
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
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RickCorey
Feb 1, 2016 12:48 PM CST
Hi angelynfa. Welcome to ATP!

I would Google "dirt yard {town state}" I guess "dirt yard McKinney TX". Then make some calls to find price per cubic yard, AND delivery cost to your location. Delivery could be as much as half the cost.

When you find some dirt yards that are cheap enough and close enough to you, go look at what they're calling "topsoil" and push your hands into it and squeeze a handful. If it sticks into a clump, it might be too clay-ey.

The bigger the organization, the crummier that "topsoil" might be. In my limited experience, price does not indicate quality in a dirt yard. It indicates whether the owners are greedy and have access to any GOOD soil.

(If you buy compost in bulk, or a compost-soil mix or a "three-way" mix of compost, topsoil and bark or sand, a farm may be the best place to get compost. They will know if they have weed seeds or persistent herbicides, and might even tell you!)

What you want most, is whatever your soil has least of. If you have sandy soil that doesn't hold enough water, topsoil that's heavy with clay might be ideal for you. If you have heavy clay, something light with good drainage would be best.

Organic matter (compost) is almost always needed.

You might also consider that AMENDING the soil you already have might be cheaper and give better results than buying all-new soil.

Almost any unimproved soil needs compost. A cubic yard of compost might let you make 2-3 cubic yards of fairly decent soil from what you already have. Finely shredded bark and crushed stone might be good for many soil types, also.

But you'll have to mix them in by digging and forking or roto-tilling. You may have to wheelbarrow soil from a site their truck can reach, to some of your beds.

Once you have half-decent soil, adding compost every year (or even twice per year, fall and spring) will improve it to wonderful soil over several years. A few inches of compost per year should be a minimum. The maximum is probably "all the leaves and mulch and compost you can make or afford to buy".

Ongoing compost additions are necessary.

And adding a layer of mulch - whatever is available locally - protects soil and roots from heat, and variations in cold, and from drying out, and from being pounded by rain into a crust, and from weeds, and maybe even from some pests.

Four to six inches of raw compost-makings on top of the soil as mulch is not too much, as long as you lay it down AROUND, not on top of, any young plants. And you can always mulch heavily in the space between rows.

Mulch is great. And after a year or two, it breaks down into more compost.



[Last edited by RickCorey - Feb 1, 2016 1:03 PM (+)]
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Name: Karen
NM , AZ (Zone 7b)
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plantmanager
Feb 1, 2016 12:52 PM CST
Great answer from Rick!
We needed soil for our new raised beds in our greenhouse. We got a load of "topsoil" and it ended up being total clay. I amended it like crazy but it's still way too much clay in my beds. So be careful to see what it is before you buy it!
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
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RickCorey
Feb 1, 2016 1:01 PM CST
I'm still trying to decide whether I was conned or just inattentive.

I looked at the front of a big pile of topsoil, and it looked light and well-draining (and pretty dry).

What they delivered was not as dry, but very heavy and had too much clay.

Maybe I just didn't look closely enough when i was int he dirt yard. And maybe they keep some GOOD soil on the front or the heap where the customer can walk up to it, but the bulk junk is delivered to and taken from the BACK of the heap.

So I did the same thing as Karen. Paid for "topsoil", and then had to amend it anyway.

I would have bought compost instead, but I made sure to look closely at that whole "compost" pile in that dirt yard. But first I had to ask 2-3 times at the office. It turns out that their "compost" heap was what I would call "mulch plus sawdust".

It was only a few blocks from where I live so delivery cost was small, but low cost doesn't make junk a bargain.

I don't think I was the only person unhappy with (and surprised by) their poor quality. They went out of business less than a year later.





Name: Karen
NM , AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents Adeniums Garden Art
Plumerias Hibiscus Houseplants Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Dog Lover Cat Lover
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plantmanager
Feb 1, 2016 1:12 PM CST
I never even went to look at it. We just talked on the phone and they delivered. It's so bad that we used very little of it. Our house is on top of a hill, on a man made "pad". We've been moving the lousy topsoil to make our pad larger. It works great for that.
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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Feb 1, 2016 1:30 PM CST
First of all, check your County landfill to see if they have a composting program. Ours has a great one, and the compost is excellent, and free ! ! but you'd need to go get it yourself, or hire someone to fetch it for you. Compost is the 'gold standard' for filling beds and the more of it you get, the better off you will be, and the better your stuff will grow. In Utah, where we amended my daughter's garden with 30 loads of compost, they charge $25 for a pickup truck load, but they will load it for you with their front-end loader.

We've filled raised beds at our school gardens for years with the free compost from our landfill and they've been absolutely amazing. The only down side is you will need to go get more every year or two, because in hot, humid climates all organic material in soil breaks down pretty fast, so the level of your beds will drop as the stuff breaks down and is used up by your plants. The same thing will happen if you pay big bucks and get really good topsoil because it will have a high component of compost in it, too.
Elaine

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Name: Karen
NM , AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents Adeniums Garden Art
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plantmanager
Feb 1, 2016 1:35 PM CST
That's a good idea, Elaine. I know they do that where we live in AZ, but I'm fairly sure they're not doing it here in rural NM. I will check to be sure. Good compost is like gold!
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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
Feb 1, 2016 2:22 PM CST
Any time I am going to get a lot of anything garden related, whether it be top soil, sand, or mulches, I go to our local Co-op. I am talking about by the yard, not bag. When I built my raised garden, enlarged it, and then raised the whole thing by a foot, I used nothing but what our Co-op labels as "Plantation Mix". Other garden centers, lawn services, or Co-ops may call it something else. It is not heavy at all to work and apparently has very little clay. It is a composted mix.
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Name: Karen
NM , AZ (Zone 7b)
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plantmanager
Feb 1, 2016 2:27 PM CST
What you get sounds wonderful! We don't have anything like your Co-op.
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Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Feb 1, 2016 3:01 PM CST
I don't know if they deliver but check this out: At the bottom is a space to click for Orders, Pick up locations and their hours: http://www.mckinneytexas.org/index.aspx?NID=448
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Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Feb 1, 2016 3:01 PM CST
I guess they do deliver: http://egov.plano.gov/pureproducts/
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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
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drdawg
Feb 1, 2016 3:05 PM CST
Years ago, I had a patient that had a yard service, a nursery, and would mix bulk soils when I asked. He mixed 1/3 compost, 1/3 oak mulch, and 1/3 top soil and I found that to be a great garden/landscape mix. He closed down everything but the yard service but now only services large businesses, state right-of-ways, and our University. That's when he told me the Co-op had a somewhat similar product.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Feb 1, 2016 3:29 PM CST
There is a link inside that web page, and if you follow it and scroll down, you find a $40 delivery fee and a three cubic yard minimum order for delivery.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Delivery Fees
Allen, Frisco, McKinney, Plano, and Richardson residents will be charged a $40 delivery fee. All others will be charged $3.75 per loaded mile from the Regional Composting Facility located at 3820 Sam Rayburn Highway, Melissa, TX 75454.

There is a $40 minimum delivery fee. Three cubic yard minimum purchase for bulk deliveries.
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