Best place to get garden soil

lilacs_of_mayApril 15, 2007

I have three raised beds (3x3) to set up, and broccoli clamouring to be put outdoors. What I don't have is dirt.

I live in Aurora near Denver. Where's the best place to get organic garden soil? Lowes was a bust. Home Depot quoted me a price of $200 to get 30 cubic feet of soil plus a couple bags of compost plus shipping. And the woman was rather snotty to me on the phone. Especially considering that mine was a very large order.

Anyone got any ideas on where to get some quality organic garden soil?

BTW, I don't have a truck, or a boyfriend with a truck, or anything like that. So it would have to be delivered.

Appreciate any ideas.

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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Are you talking about bagged soil, Lilacs? Bulk soil is sold by the cubic yard, so since youÂre talking about cubic feet, I assume thatÂs what you mean. If thatÂs what youÂre looking for, you donÂt need a truck at all. I donÂt see how HD can possibly be quoting you $200 for 30 bags of soil. Even if theyÂre charging you $50 for delivery, thatÂs still $5 a bag. Are they selling you bagged gold dust! ;-)

WalMart has several different bagged soils, and from what I saw, theyÂre all under $2 a bag. IÂve been buying a bagged cow compost, and while you wouldnÂt want to use that as a basic planting soil, (IÂve been mixing it in my natural soil to improve it), itÂs only 98 cents a bag. IÂd go there and check out the other bagged soils they have. YouÂre just going to be planting veggies in itÂyou donÂt need anything fancy. Most of us plant our veggies in the good old native clay, and, for the most part, they do fine. Since you canÂt tell for sure what the soil in the bag is like till you get it home and open it, I recommend buying one bag of the 2 or 3 kinds you think will be the best and take them home and open them to decide which one you want more of.

Last time I got some, I got 10 bags, and could easily have gotten more in my trunk, and hadnÂt used the back seat at all, so you could possibly get all 30 bags at once, or, worse case scenario, youÂd need to make 2 trips. (I put an old blanket in the trunk and/or back seat when IÂm hauling stuff like that.) And you should be able to easily move individual bags yourselfÂIÂm 5'3" and 110 lbsÂand IÂm 63 years old! (somebody at WM will load it for you)

If you want to add anything to the bagged soil, I recommend just using Canadian peat. You can get the large bale probably still for under $15 (might need to go to HD or Lowes for thatÂnot sure if WM carries it), and then mix in about 20% peat after you dump out the bags.

If you want to get it bulk, Pioneer has locations all over Denver and has all kinds of landscaping supplies, including soilsÂbut I think theyÂre pretty expensive for their stepping stone type stuff. DonÂt know about soils. YouÂd need 3 yards, but then theyÂll dump it in the drive or somewhere when they deliver it and youÂll need to move it yourself to your beds. (Anywhere you get bulk soil will do it that way.)

Timberline gardens is on the wrong side of town for you, but they list their prices online, so you can at least use if for a comparison. Paulinos is closer, but still not too close at I25 and 58th Avenue, but they donÂt list their prices online, so youÂd need to call or stop by for prices.

For what you want to do, I sure would check out the WalMart option first. Compared to clay, your veggies are going to think they died and went to heaven in any bagged soil you use.

Hope some of this helps,

Pioneer Sand:

Here is a link that might be useful: Bulk...

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 11:54PM
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emagineer(z5 CO)

Look for coupons at some of the nurseries nearby. Right now they seem to be offering ones for soil. And I too would rather have the bags than dumping a bunch, only to have to shovel, wheel, shovel, dump. Walmart, yes for price.

Also, skybird invited me to go to the plant swap. I know you are working so this is a tough call on the Friday scheduled. But I have tons of lilacs which come up around the yard. I posted asking how to replant these on another thread. Would be willing to share some with you.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 8:43AM
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Just a note, if you have bulk delivered, put down a tarp before they dump. You will spend less time trying to get the last little bit and cleanup will be easier, pick up the tarp at the end. Of course you will need to be careful not to tear the tarp while shoveling. I bought some organic potting soil at a dollar store a while back that was really nice stuff in good size bags.


    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 10:49AM
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I recently got a load delivered of some coarse planting mix from Crystal Landscape in Fort Collins/Loveland...I'm very pleased with it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rachels Hosta Site

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 12:57PM
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Lilacs, If you are in need of 30 cu. ft of soil, but don't have a way to transport, I might be able to help you out. I live in Larkspur and work up at old Lowry Air Force Base (Yosemite and 6th)- sounds like you are near there and with a 40mile each way commute a few more miles to help out a fellow garden is no problem at all.
I can probably fit at a minimum half of what you need into my suv and make a couple trips after work or during lunch or drive my truck up for a one punch deal.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 9:41AM
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Pacu, that would be great! Thank you. Yes, I am fairly close to Lowry. And both Home Depot and Lowes are within a mile from me.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 1:40PM
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Hey Lilacs, I was just at Pioneer yesterday here in Berthoud and they are selling topsoil for $20 a cubic yard. That's not delivered though.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 2:39PM
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Here is my email address-
We can work out the details like what day/times work best, your address and of course, the shopping list!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 7:23PM
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soo disappointing...
i got a yard and a half of "planters mix" which Pioneer employees told was their best, and ready for my vegetable garden. I had high hopes, was glad to not have 25 or 30 empty plastic bags, so i borrowed a truck and drove quite far to get "soil" - soo disappointing... i've found ground up wood with PAINT chips... clay, clay and more clay, with little rocks, and is that a piece of a shoe ?? too late now, but i wish i'd known. DO NOT GET SOIL FROM PIONEER, at least not if you want to feel good about eating the vegetables that grow out of it.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 8:11PM
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We just bought 2 pickup beds full of planter's mix from Pioneer in Boulder and it was nice quality, compost enriched soil with no clay, paint chips, or other debris in it. The only "chunks" I found were a couple of manure balls that hadn't fully broken down yet. Maybe the quality varies by site, but we've been pleased with our soil from them this time and in the past.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 11:01PM
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I have to second smuir's comment about the poor quality soil at Pioneer. I got 1.5 cubic yards of their planters mix for my raised vegetable beds and the soil is horrible. It's mostly clay with large clods that are impossible to break up. The soil surface would crack easily and be difficult to re-wet. I had to mix in a few bags of compost to make it usable for this year. Had I known how poor the soil was going to be, I would have paid a few more dollars and gotten some better quality stuff at one of the local nurseries.

BTW, I got the soil at their Aurora (6th & Chambers) location. Perhaps some of the other locations are better.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 10:02AM
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gjcore(zone 5 Aurora Co)

I've purchase alot of things (planter's mix, compost, wood chip mulch,stripstone, sandstone, rock etc.) from Pioneer in Aurora and have not been disappointed.

Their planter's mix does contain a good amount of clay but I don't have a problem with that.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 8:07PM
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Dan Staley

I bought 28 yd3 of Pioneer's planter's mix for the big raised bed. I did a settle test and the texture was loam with a touch of sand. No complaints. We've spent a lot of money there and very satisfied - and I used to own a landscape design & construction business.


    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 11:35AM
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I'm in the process of building retaining walls for my garden. In the next week or two I'll be filling them with planter fill. I'd like to start out right if I'm going to haul dirt into the garden for days. Anyone ordered lately? Still having luck with Pioneer (or not)? Suggestions? Thanks in advance for any suggestions or words of advice!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 9:08PM
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We built raised beds last year - 15x7 and 15x5 and used a soil mix from timberline. We did haul it ourselves, but have been pretty happy with it.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 10:12PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Hi Curler,

Since you're in Lakewood I'd recommend you run over to Timberline and check out their mixes. Kelly makes some of the mixes he sells himself, and since he's a real gardener himself he knows what it takes to be able to grow things! If you go and have any questions, ask for Kelly, and if he's there he'll be able to help you find the best thing for whatever you're gonna use it for.

I've never bought bulk soils, but I suspect that at Pioneer (and some of the posts above bear this out) you may get a different quality depending on what location you happen to go to. If you decide to get some at Pioneer I'd definitely recommend you go to the location you're planning to get it from and check it out in person before you order it and pay for it.

Welcome to RMG. We're glad you found us!


Here is a link that might be useful: Timberline - Bulk materials page

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 1:17AM
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ZachS. z5 Littleton, CO

I filled in my whole garden last year with the planters mix from Sate Fe Sand & Gravel. I am really happy with it. Everything I planted grew like gangbusters and this year, when I was out there working the compost into it, it was darn near as soft as it was the day I bought it. It sure wasn't cheap though, not sure how it compares to others as far as price.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 11:40AM
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Thanks for the suggestions! I stopped in at Santa Fe and their customer service was not great but they were pretty busy. And I can get a discount at Pioneer but I'm not sure it's worth it. I'll head over to Timberline and then make a decision.

I'm covering what to my untrained eye looks like clay with fairly high organics and lots of worms - but trampled some due to pulling a dozen stumps and putting in the retaining walls. Should I do anything before adding the 6 to 18" of planter mix? If the soil is too good will I be creating a bathtub if I just throw the new mix on top?

I can't decide if finding this forum is going to help or make me paranoid lol

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 12:38AM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

If you have lots of worms in your soil, it sounds like you already have some pretty good soil. Guess that doesn't help a whole lot if you need more to fill raised beds, though! Whenever you're putting a different soil on top of an already existing layer it's a really good idea to mix the two soils together fairly well where they meet. So I'd recommend putting 6-8" of the new soil where it's gonna go, then till or dig the new stuff into the old stuff, and then add the rest of the new on top of the mixed layer. That should prevent any sort of problems with water transfer between the new and the old. If your current soil really does have lots of organic matter and worms, it's possible you wouldn't even need to do that, but better safe than sorry!

No fear on getting paranoid! Just check out the answers you get here and then pick the one or ones you like the best for yourself. The best way to garden is YOUR way! And the only way to figure that out is trial and error, which we all do---over and over and over.......


P.S. If you get a chance, head on over to the Who's Here in 2014 thread and introduce yourself a little more.

P.P.S. If you do get around to heading over to Timberline, you might want to take a zipper baggie of your current soil with you to see if you can get a general opinion on its quality.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 1:37AM
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Anyone know about A1 Organics compost? Seems like they have a location in stapleton and some places carry their stuff. Is it worth it?

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 11:16PM
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