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Topsoil from an aggregate supplier - what should it feel like? (For a Polytunnel)

January ManJanuary Man Posts: 212
edited June 2020 in Fruit & veg
Hi all

I need to get some soil for my polytunnel.  There is a local aggregate supplier who is selling it for £50 per tonne bag full (delivered), which seems a great price  It is screened and certified.  

We popped over to have a look at it.  I've never bought top soil and so had no idea what to expect or what it should be like.  The stuff he had was a nice dark colour, but the feel was very gritty and grainy.  I mean like even more so that wet sharp sand.  What should top soil feel like when bought from places like this? 

I should add that I have a supply of well rotted manure that I can use with it...  

Hoping anyone who has bought it before might be able to pitch in.  

Many thanks 


  • January ManJanuary Man Posts: 212
    Like a prat, I didn't take a photo of it while I was there. But I did take a photo of the gravel next to it and with a bit of photo editing I can upload the soil which crept into the corner of the photo. Although not sure if a photo will help...

  • January ManJanuary Man Posts: 212
    Any thoughts?  Ta  :)
  • mikeymustardmikeymustard Posts: 495
    I think you might be overthinking this a touch. "Gritty", as you've surmised, probably means it has a sand base. As someone who gardens on several feet of clay, frankly I'd kill to have soil that was free draining. Our allotment is on the site of an old gravel/sand pit and that's gritty (we've often thought about digging a couple of tonnes out of each, and swapping them!). If you've got access to lots of well rotted manure to modify it then jobs a good'un!
  • January ManJanuary Man Posts: 212
    Thanks mikeymustard.  

    I do - in all honesty - have a tendency to overthink everything!  I just want to make sure we get it right and that I don't make decisions I regret several tonnes later.  Money is tight though, so I want also have to keep that in mind and am trying to balance the two.  Otherwise I suppose I would go ahead and buy some of these topsoils at £100+ a tonne which seem very nice and get good reviews.  
  • GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 2,286
    edited June 2020
    Sounds very loamy, which is usually a good thing. We've had tonnes of top soil delivered down the years, it's totally different from every supplier and in every batch. Always been 'fit for purpose' though. 
  • KeenOnGreenKeenOnGreen Posts: 1,824
    We bought some soil from a similar supplier a few months ago.  Even though I have bought from them before, I was a bit surprised by how sandy it was in texture.  All normal, as the others say.  It won't have much nutrients (and will get very compacted when it is wet), so you should add some well rotted manure to it, or if you are not going to use the ground in which you have placed the soil, you can use fresh manure and leave it for several months.

    It's good that they have screened it, not all places do.  We paid £60 per dumpy bag (tonne??), and we are in London, just to give you a guide price.
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