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What Is Compost Loam?

By Jack Burton
Seedlings need the best start in life.

Compost loam is a gardener’s best friend, providing a medium where plants can thrive and grow. It is a manufactured product using natural ingredients that mimics the best and most fertile soil.


Composting is the natural way to go green.

Loam is soil made of 40 percent sand, 40 percent silt and the rest clay. Loam feels gritty in the hand, and the clay helps it retain moisture and nutrients. Compost is the decayed remains of organic matter. It may be plant material only, animal manure or a combination of the two. It provides plants with many nutrients and improves the quality of the soil. Compost loam is a mixture of the two.

Quality Check

A bag of compost loam should give off a sweet, earthy odor. If it smells sour then there has been too much decaying still going on inside the bag. It should be spread out and dried until the sour smell goes away. A handful of the moist compost loam should easily form a ball, and yet crumble when pressure is applied to it. If the balance between the ingredients is off, the ball will either not form or will hold its shape even when pressure is applied.


Make sure the right formula is used for the right job.

Compost loam comes in a variety of formulas designed for different uses. It can provide an ideal medium for seedling beds, or be used for transplants. As a mulch or soil amendment, it gives established plants a boost to ensure healthy growth.


Without proper nutrients, plants struggle to survive.

The organic matter in compost loam makes it an ideal home for many of the microorganisms that plants need to thrive. The continued slow decay releases valuable slow-release nutrients such as nitrogen into the soil. The balance between sand, silt and clay ensures that the plant roots have the freedom to grow without binding, and provides natural pockets where the necessary water and air will be available.


Using quality compost loam pays off.

Most garden stores have compost loam available, or it can be ordered over the Internet.


About the Author


Jack Burton started writing professionally in 1980 with articles in "Word from Jerusalem," "ICEJ Daily News" and Tagalong Garden News. He has managed radio stations, TV studios and newspapers, and was the chief fundraiser for Taltree Arboretum. Burton holds a B.S. in broadcasting from John Brown University. He is a 26-year veteran of the U.S. Navy/Navy Reserves and the Navy Seabees.