Soil, Mulch, and Compost

Image: Adobe


You need to know what kind of soil you have before you choose plants. Different proportions of sand, silt, and clay make up the texture of your soil and how well it will drain water. Sandy soil, for example, is known as quick draining, whereas clay soil tends to hold a lot of moisture and be heavy.

A soil ribbon test is a great way to determine what kind of soil you have. You can learn more about soil and testing here. Pro tip: It’s easier to match plants that will thrive in your soil than alter your soil to match plants.

Credit Adobe.
Image: Adobe


Mulch is made up of organic, non-decomposed material, like leaves, bark, woodchips, pine needles, and nut shells. It should be applied on top of soil. Mulch is like a soil blanket. It’s a protective layer spread over the soil to help reduce evaporation, maintain soil temperature, prevent erosion, control weeds, and help build healthy soil. Learn all about mulch here!

Credit Jonathan Kemper
Image: Jonathan Kemper from Unsplash


Decomposed, nutrient-rich organic material, compost can be worked into the soil or left on the surface like mulch. Think of compost as a way to feed the soil. It can be a useful amendment if you are in a highly developed area where the original soil has been degraded because it helps improve soil health. Compost is also an important part of sheet mulching if you’re taking out your lawn or removing invasive plants.

Credit Sasha Kim.
Image: Sasha Kim from Pexels