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Old March 28, 2012   #1
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Brooksville FL, zone 9a
Posts: 67
Default how much is in a 40 lb. bag of soil?

NOTE: To my knowledge, bagged soil is by volume (weight). I'm also extremely bad with math and conversions, so please keep as simple as possible.
If possible, please give exact measurements; if this isn't possible fine, guesstimates will work.

I need to know how many gallons (by volume) are in a 40 lb. bag of soil; with measurement, I'm referring to customary, NOT metric.

People have given me how many cubic feet are typically in bags of soil based on how big the bag is/what the volume is; unfortunately this doesn't tell me anything and just confuses me more.
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Old March 28, 2012   #2
delltraveller's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Iowa
Posts: 475

Part of the problem is that different soil mixes/brands have different qualities and fill differently, and the same soil mix will fill differently once it's moistened or "watered in." So, part of the answer to your question is "It depends." You'll find lots of discussions here about different soil brands and blends and people's personal blends.

Volume and weight are not the same. The weight of things is dependent on the amount of moisture/water contained in the mix all ready. For example, over the weekend I bought a 2 cubic feet bag of Miracle Grow Potting Soil and one of Shultz Potting Soil. The Miracle Grow was an easy lift. The Shultz was a potential back injury waiting to happen if handled too gallantly. Some places store the pallets of soil mix outside and they get wet. So, you can't judge by how it feels, weight-wise, how much it will fill. That's why people are talking to you about volume, not weight.

Those 40lb bags of "topsoil", "compost", "manure", etc are generally around .75 cubic feet when measured by volume. They tend to be very dense, so if you are planning to use that in your containers, you really need to blend something into them to provide some air space. A certain amount of "fluffiness" is desirable when growing in pots.

What I can tell you, from my experience, is that with either standard Miracle Grow potting soil or standard Shultz potting soil, 1 cubic ft is plenty to fill a 5-gallon bucket bought from any of your favorite home/building stores. I often blend one of those 40lb bags of stuff into a 2 cubic foot bag of Miracle Grow or Shultz and about .5 cu ft of bark chunks (about 1/4 of a 2 cubic ft bag) and I can usually fill three 5-gallon buckets to my satisfaction.
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Old March 28, 2012   #3
RebelRidin's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Maryland's Eastern Shore
Posts: 993

The US liquid gallon = 231 cubic inches or 0.13368 cubic feet

So now cubic feet in bag / 0.13368 = gallons in bag

I believe that delltraveler's statement that "Those 40lb bags of "topsoil", "compost", "manure", etc are
generally around .75 cubic feet when measured by volume" is accurate and useful here.

(0.75 cubic ft/40 lb bag) / (0.13368 cubic feet/gallon) = 5.6 gallons/40 lb bag


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