Healthy Soil, Healthy Plants… Garden Prep

Posted on May 2nd, 2022

 

Every great garden starts with great soil just like healthy soil grows healthy plants.  Soil is just as much living as your plants and believe it or not they work together 24/7. When I had the opportunity to make our line of premium soils even better, I JUMPED on it! Our bagged soils and mulches are being made in Connecticut, so they are close to home which is great for freight bills and keeping money in the CT economy! These ingredients are amazing… I get asked why we do not carry soils from the green and yellow marketing machine… let me tell you, I have been to their bagging facility, and I will never carry their stuff.  I think that is all you ever need to know.

Out of all our premium ingredients, the only thing we cannot get local is peat moss but we are buying compressed bulk towers so we can get 3 times as much on one truck hence reducing our carbon footprint and reducing expense at the same time. The bark is being processed and made just one minute down the road at the same place that all our bulk mulches come from, and I will say NO ONE has better-aged bark than our mulch guy. The compost is made from very aged bark and leaves and again, it is the same as what we sell in bulk, so we are very familiar with the quality and consistency.  Our planting mix even has aged manure from a farm just down the road, the manure adds organic material and nutrients to get your plants started right.

Better Ingredients, better pricing and blended closer to home…. Win, Win, Win!

Van Wilgen’s Planting Mix:
Use the “purple bag” for anything you are planting in the ground. This is specially formulated for our CT soil.  The Peat Moss has a water holding capacity 2 to 3 times more than our regular soil which is great for retaining moisture for your new plantings.  Aged bark fines are great at conditioning your existing soil and breaking up clay soils. In addition, the bark breaks down slowly and slowly adds organic material to the soil, creating a food source for all those living organisms that are so beneficial to our soil.  The compost is EXTREMELY rich in organic material and nutrients. Compost brings those benefits to your soil and adds a great food source for the organisms that are already living in your soil.  Manure is another form of compost with the same benefits but brings different micronutrients to your plants.

  • Peat Moss:
    • 40%
  • Aged Bark Fines:
    • 35%
  • Compost:
    • 20%
  • Manure:
    • 5%

Van Wilgen’s Potting Mixes:
Use the “brown” or “green” bag in ANY container.  Pots, window boxes, elevated gardens, hanging baskets, indoors or outdoors.  This mix is excellent for pots compared to soil found in the ground because it can hold a lot more water and nutrients which is crucial because you will be watering you plants often when they are in pots. Some Van Wisdom is to use Van Wilgen’s Controlled Release Fertilizer in your containers as it will slowly feed your plants over time and subsidize with a liquid feed every couple of weeks.

The peat moss is designed to hold as much water as possible to keep water available to your plants as constantly as possible.  The bark fines and the perlite are to create good drainage and provide oxygen to keep your roots happy, healthy and bright white.  There is an exceptional amount of compost in these potting mixes compared to other soil mixes.  The nutrients, and organic material from the compost provides an excellent jump start for your plants and long-term organic material.

  • Peat Moss:
    • 35%
  • Aged Bark Fines:
    • 35%
  • Compost:
    • 20%
  • Perlite
    • 10%

Van Wilgen’s Premium Topsoil
When people think of topsoil, they usually imagine rich almost black soil. We blended our soil to come as close to people’s vision as possible. We used native topsoil as a key ingredient because it will match your CT soil closely. Our next key ingredient is compost and A LOT of it. This is what is giving our topsoil that rich dark color and bringing all those benefits and nutrients. The peat moss is added in to lighten the mix up because the native soil and compost are heavy, this creates an amazing, fluffy, nutrient-rich topsoil that is ready to grow some great grass! The peat and compost hold water and help seeds germinate quickly. I am confident you will have great results with our topsoil… this is NOT discount, sand, and left-over junk thrown in a bag that won’t grow anything.

  • Peat Moss:
    • 20%
  • Compost:
    • 40%
  • Native Topsoil
    • 40%

Van Wilgen’s Premium Mulches
Our mulches are made from 100% bark… not WOOD.  The benefits of bark mulches span far greater than using inexpensive ground-up wood than dyed mulch.  You’ve heard it, you get what you pay for, and I like to always say “you can always get a cheaper pizza…. but then you have to eat it!”

Here are the down and dirty benefits of using bark mulch over-dyed wood mulches.

  • Retains more moisture
  • Suppresses weeds more effectively
  • Insulates roots better
  • Fewer temperature swings create a more consistent soil temperature
  • Adds organic material to the soil
  • Creates nutrients for your soil vs. taking nutrients from the soil
  • Holds color longer and freshens up with a quick rake
  • Doesn’t create artillery fungus (look it up… it’s scary)

When it comes to mulching there are a couple of simple things you need to know.  Mulch should be put down 3” thick the first application and 1-2” thick the following years. The most important thing is to not crowd the stems and trunks of your trees and shrubs and do NOT mulch over the crowns of your perennials. This will basically suffocate your plants, causing their decline and ultimately death. This is one of the most common reasons for plant decline.  This might hurt some people’s feelings but PLEASE… NO VOLCANOES!  Mulching up against the trunk of your tree is not good for it and it sends a signal to start making roots where it shouldn’t be making roots. Your tree should not look like a telephone pole stuck in the ground… you should have the “root flare” visible to keep your tree healthy and happy!