Tis the season to get the garden started and you need to know the best bagged soil for vegetable garden. Get out your gloves and gardening tools because we have the answers.
Professional gardeners use Fox Farm Ocean Forest Bagged Soil as their preferred bagged soil for vegetable gardens. This soil mix has the perfect pH level at 6.3 to 6.8 to allow for maximum fertilizer uptake. It contains organic compost, peat moss, micro-nutrients and natural fertilizers like crab meal and worm castings that creates the perfect environment for optimal growth for your vegetables.
You don’t have to be born with a green thumb to have a vegetable garden. All you need is the right tools and most importantly the right soil. The soil you choose for vegetables is one of the most important factors, but there are so many to choose from.
How are you to know what is the best bagged soil for your garden?
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Bagged Soil For Vegetable Gardens
Growing vegetables requires nutrient rich soil. The trouble is that there are hundreds of potting or gardening soils out there. You can choose from organic and inorganic as well as those that contain sand or bark.
We have done the research and reviews for you and have the best bagged soil for vegetable garden. There are so many soils to choose from and we want you to have only the best. To get the best vegetables, you need the best soil.
Using our guide and recommendations you can have a green thumb in no time. All you have to decide is which veggies you want to grow.
What Is In Bagged Garden Soil
Bagged soil will contain the nutrients and ingredients necessary for vegetables and plants to grow. They can be mixed with topsoil or used in planting containers. The ingredients used allow moisture to be retained and provide air space for the roots to grow.
The most important ingredients that a bagged soil can have include:
- Compost contains essential nutrients
- Peat moss provides a low pH and space for air and water
- Perlite are small pieces of volcanic rock that improve aeration and drainage
- Vermiculite increases moisture and nutrient retention
Does Bagged Garden Soil Go Bad
The simple answer is yes. For the most part bagged soil will last for a while. As long as there is not a noticeably bad odor, it is fine to use. You also need to make sure there are no insects in the soil. Do not use any soil that has obvious changes in texture, color, or moisture content.
The longer bagged soil sits, the more chance the organic material has to break down. It will become dusty and dry in texture or can appear denser. The nutrients at this point will be ineffective.
Bags that are left to sit for long periods of time are at risk for drying out or rain exposure. Both of which interfere with nutrient quality.
You should always store the bag properly, making sure the bag is closed. An opened bag needs to be inspected before use. If left open, then it will only be efficient for about six months. When stored closed, bagged soil can last up to a year.
Completely unopened bags will still be good to use after two years.
How Long Does Bagged Garden Soil Last
As long as the soil is disease and insect free and it is properly stored, it lasts for seasons. In fact, you can use and re-use it for this season and the next. Improper storage is the number one reason bagged soil goes bad. After six months, the soil will start to lose its quality.
It is also a good idea to change the soil you are already using. Used soil lasts for about two years, so to get the best from your vegetable garden, you should replace the soil every year or two.
How Many Bags Of Garden Soil Do I Need
How much soil is needed is always a popular question. You must do a few calculations to determine the right amount of soil to use. The step-by-step way to calculate soil volume is:
- Find out the length and width of the area you want to use.
- Calculate the area of this garden by multiplying the length and width. This is for standard square or rectangular shape gardens. You may need to use a calculator for different shapes.
- Determine the depth that the soil will be.
- Multiply the area you got earlier by this depth to get your soil volume.
Bagged Garden Soil Reviews
There are several great brands out there for garden soil like Miracle-Gro, Hoffman, Fox Farm, Black & Gold, Espoma and more. They contain similar ingredients but also differ in many ways.
Some are organic and others are inorganic. Some on the market even contain harsh chemical additives.
Even if you are planting your vegetable garden in-ground, you want to use bagged soil too. Mixing a quality bag soil with the topsoil will nourish the plant and support it as it learns to grow on its own.
Miracle-Gro and Black & Gold are the top two budget soils you can find on Amazon. While both provide nutrients for vegetable growth, Miracle-Gro does not get as many positive reviews as Black & Gold.
It is important when you look for a soil, that you consider ingredients as well as price. You also need to know exactly what your garden will need. Not every plant or vegetable has the same requirements.
1. Fox Farm Ocean Forest Potting Soil – Best Overall
Fox Farm Ocean Forest Potting Soil on Amazon is our top pick for the best overall bagged soil for vegetables is used by many professional gardeners and it is ready to use as soon as you open the bag.
This soil contains peat moss and natural fertilizers like crab meal and worm castings. It also works great for gardens and containers. This mix is the perfect pH to grow all vegetables and plants and although it is a higher price, you will get ribbon-worthy vegetables every time.
What I like:
- Contains several types of fertilizer
What I don’t like:
- Soil heats up easily in the sun
- May contain large pieces of organic material
2. Espoma Company (VFGS1) Organic Vegetable & Flower Soil – Best Brand
Espoma Company is a top brand in bagged soils and Espoma Company (VFGS1) Organic Vegetable and Flower on Amazon is one of their best. It is best used for in-ground planting but can be used for containers too.
There are a handful of beneficial ingredients in this blend complete with ecto and endo mycorrhizae. These special ingredients let the vegetables and plants strengthen the soil. Espoma is also organic, making it easy for your garden to grow and there are no harmful effects like those you get from chemically enhanced soils.
The unique formula helps your garden grow faster.
What I like:
- Organic ingredients
- Not attractive to insects
- Excellent fertilizer ratio
What I don’t like:
- Poor moisture retention
- Soil is very loose
3. Black and Gold Organic Soil – Best Budget
Black and Gold Organic Soil on Amazon is the best bagged soil to get when you have a budget to stick to. It is one of the most affordable and reliable bagged soils on the market.
You can buy bags in several sizes, so you can get only what you need. It works great for containers, pots, and in-ground gardening. The perlite and pumice provide space for air and water.
And, the mixture is organic, so your vegetables get the right pH and the natural nutrients without any harsh chemicals. Do not be discouraged by the lower price, this soil promotes healthy and fast growth for any garden.
What I like:
- Certified organic
- Multiple fertilizers included
- Excellent drainage
- Great moisture retention
What I don’t like:
- Can attract gnats
- When super wet, it can grow spores
Bagged Soil Buyers Guide
We have recommended the best bagged soil for vegetable garden above, and now we want to help you choose what works for you. There are so many soils out there, even within the same brands, so we have out together a guide to help you shop.
There are important things to remember when looking for a bagged soil.
Organic vs Inorganic
Organic soils will be free of chemical additives. This gives your vegetables a better chance of thriving on their own. The nutrients in organic soils are intact so the plants can feed naturally.
Inorganic soils also enhance growth but use ingredients such as vermiculite and perlite. Inorganic soils work better for potted vegetables or any indoor gardens.
If you are planting in-ground, you want to use organic for healthier growth. Organic soils will be more expensive, but they are also reusable.
There are six essential nutrients that plants and vegetables require to grow. Without these, you will not get edible vegetables. You will not get much at all. Make sure any bagged soil you have includes these nutrients:
- Nitrogen helps with chlorophyll production and green coloring
- Phosphorus supports root growth
- Potassium strengthens and retains moisture
- Magnesium contributes to green coloring
- Sulfur helps plants to resist disease
- Calcium aids the development of cell walls
In addition to the essential nutrients, you also want to get a soil that contains compost and natural fertilizers. For more information on compost, check out my article Best Bagged Compost For Vegetable Garden.
Some organic soils will contain manure. Another ingredient to look for is soil conditioner. These are especially good for in-ground soil that needs to be revived. Not all bagged soils will contain these so you can always get this separately if needed.
The soil you choose needs to enhance moisture retention. Without this, plants cannot grow. Both inorganic and organic soils have this ability, but you need to check the bags before you buy.
Check the description and the ingredients list to verify this. In non-organic soils, you want to look for peat moss which helps with retention. In organic soils, look for potassium in the ingredients list.
Your vegetables will need proper air circulation to thrive. The soil you choose can help with this. The fluffier and lighter a mixture is, the better air flow will be. Even when the soil gets wet, you do not want it to get overly dense. This can smother the roots and obstruct their growth.
Soil that is too dense will interfere with aeration and drainage. You can check the density by poking the soil with your fingers. It needs to have some flexibility. Your soil should also not become hard with water.
A bagged soil that is heavy to lift probably has fillers and will be too dense. Soils with fillers do not allow for the best growth.
The pH of the soil matters for optimal growth. The ideal soil for vegetables will be between 6 and 7. If you plan to mix bagged soil with topsoil from your yard, you need to test the soil in-ground first.
Most bagged soils will be designed to promote the ideal pH for growing. You need to verify this on the bag before you buy and remember to check the pH periodically through the year.
Helpful Tips To Find The Best Bagged Soil For Vegetable Garden
To get the right soil, you need to know what you are planting and what it will need. Every plant and every vegetable will have different requirements. Important tips to remember when choosing bagged soil include:
- Density: some roots need more freedom to move than others
- Moisture: not every vegetable needs the same watering frequency
- Location: whether your garden will be in-ground or in containers
There is something to be said for growing your own vegetables. Gardening is relaxing, plus you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. This is the season to start getting the garden planted and we want to make sure you have the best bagged soil for your vegetable garden.
There are many soils out there, but we have narrowed down the sopping for you. With our guide and recommendations, you can focus on the fun part. So pick you vegetables, grab one of the top-rated soils in our guide, and let your garden grow.