Differences Between Compost & Topsoil

The compost type of soil is generally made from organic matter and debris from the garden such as brown leaves and grass clippings that has been partly broken down. Topsoil is the earth’s outer layer crust which is about 2 to 8 inches deep. Although both are important and are usually used for gardening and planting, there are also differences on how to make, to lay and the benefits of topsoil and compost. Here are the differences that are noticed between compost and topsoil.

Compost & Topsoil

  • Compost can help to restore a lawn that has lost its nutrients and the fresh look of a lawn. It is inexpensive to use compost to fertilize your lawn as it was solely made from decayed plant sources.
  • To produce high organic matter, adding worms to the compost will do the trick. The compost will help to encourage the growth of micro-organisms that break down matter, produce humus. You will also need not to use a lot of pesticides, water and fertilizers and by composting; it could help to clean the dirty soil.
  • Most of the materials used to make compost are from organic matter and can be tilled easily into the soil to give added nutrients to the soil. There are two ways of making compost piles, which are hold and cold according to “Organic Gardening”.
  • Hot composting will take more of your time and effort while cold composting can be done in your backyard with less effort.
  • Topsoil is important to keep the plants alive by absorbing the water and gas, which is needed for the plants to grow. The organic matter is distributed by the matter on the top of the soil through the upper inches of the topsoil.
  • Humus is the name of the rich soil, which gives beneficial nutrients to the plants. The other benefits of topsoil are to prevent erosion from rain and wind and to retain the nutrients in plants.
  • All of the topsoil is made from different ingredients that are different, according to the location and the pH level.
  • Topsoil for gardening should have a pH level lesser or equal to 7. The topsoil should look damp or moist, fall apart easily and should not appear dry or looking gray. The color of the topsoil is not the same as the black color of compost as the topsoil should be dark brown.
  • To lay the topsoil, measure the place such as the garden or lawn where you will need to apply the topsoil. Make sure that the topsoil is fertile and free without debris. Mixtures of sand, silt and clay will make good topsoil.
  • To make sure the weeds grow, water the lawn and the garden generously and then use herbicide to destroy the weeds. Repeat the step again after 14 days, giving the area time to settle and the herbicide to wear off completely. Use a rototiller or your gloved hand to lay 4 to 5 inches of topsoil. After laying the topsoil, smooth out the area with a rake.

Image Credit:

Flickr CC

Additional Reading:

The Science of Composting

Soil Erosion and Carbon Dynamics