I have learned over the years that commercial (sold in bags or delivered in loads) garden soil and mulch are not the most efficient products to improve the quality of soil in your garden beds. Every time I have done so, I end up with more weeds in my gardens…
So, if you shouldn’t use the commercial garden soil and mulch in your gardens, what should you use? Instead of the commercial garden soils and mulches that are available in bags from your local garden center or delivered in truckloads, I currently use the following plan.
In the fall I use shredded leaves as a mulch throughout my gardens, then in the spring, I spread composted manure around all my emerging plants. Be sure to use well-composted compost or manure in this step to avoid stinking up your neighbourhood. The extreme heat levels in the composting process kills weed seeds too, so is very important. You could use your own compost pile, but ensure it has matured to the weed-free level. For large volumes, I use a variety of composted cattle/steer manure, available at my local Home Depot, particularly because it does not smell bad.
This process adds both nutrients and humus to my existing soil, improving its quality immensely. The proof is in the beautifully healthy-looking plants and lack of weeds!