Today I will discuss the soil and its types. To be more specific, by soil I particularly mean topsoil. The soil is the main food source for plants in the garden. So it is better for a gardener to know more about this important factor of gardening. Many of the plants die in the garden due to the lack of proper soil. Every plant has their own preference for Garden soil. By knowing the types and their properties we can definitely increase the chance of plant survival.
Classification of The Garden Soil:
Depending on the presence of 3 different particles (sand, silt, and clay), the garden soil is classified into 4 basic types. They are sandy, silty, clay, Loamy.
To start with, sandy soil has mostly the largest sized particles in them. The particle size is over 1/20 mm in diameter. Upon touching you will feel it as much more dry and gritty with compared to other soil.
This type of soil is very light in weight and can warm up very quickly in the spring.
Due to its large particle size, they do not pack as closely like another type of soil and thus has a very good aeration and good drainage capacity.
The downside of the story is it drains very quickly, the plants get very less time to absorb the nutrients with generally drains off with the water.
You can improve the water retention capacity of the sandy soil by adding organic compost, peat moss etc, these will help to retain the nutrient as well as moisture.
The silty soil has much smaller particles compared to sandy soil. If you touch the soil with your finger it will give you much smoother feeling compared to the sandy soil.
It is an intermediate between sandy and clay type of soil.
It retains water longer than sandy type. The drainage and aeration are far less than the sandy type. Due to its water retention, this type of soil doesn’t warm up so easily.
It contains mostly the particle which is sized less than 1/200 mm in diameter. If you touch clay type soil in the wet condition you will feel the stickiness in the soil.
Here the particles are packed very closely leaving very little space for aeration and drainage. It can hold more water than any other type of soil. As it has a tighter grip on the drainage it can hold on to the nutrients. Clay soil is very rich in plant food for growth.
This type of soil warms up very slowly in the springs. It can become very hard once it gets dry. So it can be a problem working with this type of soil especially in the time of summers.
If properly managed clay soil can be the best for plant growth.
Loamy soil is a mixture of sandy, silty and clay type of soil. Generally, most of the gardening is done in this type of soil. If put mixed with the proper organic matter this type of soil is easy to maintain and required a very little add-on.
Having said all that loamy soil is not permanent in nature and you can definitely alter its nature. So don’t be disheartened if your nearby soil is not suitable for the type of crop you are thinking about growing. Here is a list of materials which you can add to your soil and change its aeration or water retention capacity.
That’s all for today. Will come with some other interesting topic in the next article. If you are a first time visitor to the site you can check our archive section for more gardening related articles.