BC river delta understanding soil

BC – A River Delta: Understanding Soil. Ask Tom Series

The River Delta Soil

There’s a perception in the lower mainland of British Columbia that because we live in a river delta, all of our soil is ideal for growing. This puts to question the need to purchase manufactured soil.  

We decided to “Ask Tom” his opinion on the matter.


Tom, we live in a river delta so why do people need to purchase engineered soil? Shouldn’t our native soil be ideal for growing?


Yes, we do live in a river delta and much of our soil is good for growing. However, in the land development process, the top layer of organic soil is usually removed.  Some of this soil is actually really good. The problem is you can’t guarantee it’s composition. To ensure that your soil is the right composition for growing, it is best to purchase engineered soil.  

Soil structure an important aspect of a grow medium.  There is a difference between good soil and the right soil structure for a grow medium.


What is right soil structure?


Good Question.  Let me tell you about our engineered soil and why, in my professional opinion, it provides the best soil structure for your grow medium.  

First, We ensure that our engineered soil has the right amount of Sand, Silt and Clay.  We also test that the ideal amount of water and air are able to move throughout the soil.  

The sand used in our soil composition is a medium-fraction river sand. Since we have such a large river running through the southern portion of our province we have amazing access to high quality of sand. The Canadian Government of Fisheries does an amazing job of conserving the river while still allowing proper access to the sand.

So there are three main components, sand, silt and clay, to an engineered soil.  At Denbow, we regularly test our soil to make sure it is in the right amount of these parts.  Our soils adhere to strict laboratory-tested guidelines and meet BC Landscape Standards. When you just mix the excavated dirt on sight, you are unable to achieve this same standard.

When you have the right structure then the right amount of air and water are able to move naturally through the soil. Air is just as important as water as it allows the right drainage for plant growth. Residents of British Columbia know we get a significant amount of rainfall. This amount of water requires our soil structure in BC to have a specific amount of sand to allow the water to drain.

To conclude, there you have it. Although the mighty Fraser Runs runs through B.C.’s entire lower mainland, we still need engineered soil so we can be successful with our landscaping.

In our next post we’ll be discussing the importance of pH balance in addition to soil structure.  

Stay tuned for more Ask Tom Articles.

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