Our foot when we step on the topmost layer of the earth that isn’t man-made is comprised of organic matter, rocks and microorganisms. Soil gives plants a suitable condition to thrive in and is home to countless microorganisms.
Soil can be of different types — clay, sandy, loamy, silty, peaty and chalky. To identify the garden soil that you have, perform a test by forming a ball with a small amount of soil in your hand. The characteristics and the results of the soil ball testfor each soil type are listed below.
- Clay soil
Clay soil is fertile but requires proper drainage. As it has fewer pores, it is likely to get water-logged during winter. So this type of soil should be watered less frequently and over short intervals to not drown the plant roots. It can survive the hot weather as it retains moisture for a longer duration.
Soil ball test: A ball can be formed successfully and it retains its shape.
- Sandy soil
Sandy soil can be difficult to manage as it soaks up water easily. It lacks nutrients and requires organic matter to make it fertile. During summer, it can be observed that even after watering it frequently, it dries up quickly. While during spring, it heats up easily and promotes early plant growth as compared to other soil types.
Soil ball test: A ball can’t be formed as it falls apart.
- Silty soil
Silty soil has a smooth and silky texture. It is usually found near river beds and is very fertile. Due to its high water-retaining capacity, it can be quite beneficial if proper drainage is arranged.
Soil ball test: Due to its silky texture a ball might be formed but doesn’t hold shape as it does with clay soil.
- Loamy soil
Loamy soil is the ideal garden soil. This soil is a combination of clay, sandy and silty soil, which makes it favourable for most plants. It is rich in nutrients and can retain moisture, so it doesn’t dry out easily in summer. It also warms up fast during spring and supports early growth.
Soil ball test: It would seem like a ball is formed but will fall apart once you stop rolling.
- Peaty soil
Peaty soil is found in wetland types like bogs and marshes. It is rich in organic content formed from years of decomposition. It holds a lot of moisture but gets waterlogged in winter. It lacks nutrients and is acidic in nature.
Soil ball test: It will not form a ball as it is spongy.
- Chalky soil
Chalky soil is alkaline in nature and rich in lime. It is the most challenging soil for a garden. The concern with this soil isn’t draining but its water-retaining capacity.
Soil ball test: A ball cannot be formed and you can feel the chalky lumps.
After having looked at the different types of garden soil we hope that you will be able to categorize the one in your garden and nourish it as per its need.