What Kind Of Soil Do I Have??


Know what kind of soil you have before you plant Asparagus roots and herbs or your favorite tomato plants. Where to buy  3 year old Asparagus roots for my soil near me. *
There are 6 main types of soil: chalky, clay, loamy, peaty, sandy and silt. To test your soil, you need to take a look at it and feel it. Add water and try rolling it between your hands. Observe how your soil looks and feels, and whether it's sticky, gritty, friable or slimy.
Clay Soil: Clay Soil: Clay soil is generally heavy and is compact in nature. Plants have a harder time developing roots in clay soil. Clay soil tends to retain water, but this is not always desirable. A clay or heavy clay soil, will greatly benefit from the addition of organic material, and it's almost impossible to add too much. Clay is essential to your soil. Clay soil is naturally high in nutrients and holds moisture well, keeping your plants hydrated. 

However, clay soil often gets a bad rap because of some of its characteristics. Wet clay soils stick to your shoes. And because the individual soil particles are so small, clay has smaller air spaces. As a result, it drains water slowly and is slow to warm up in Spring. When dry, clay soil cracks and makes your garden look like the Mojave Desert.

Sandy Soil: Sandy soils are the opposite of clay and generally drain too fast, and so are unable to hold onto any nutrients long enough for a plant to use them. Organic matter helps to hold onto water and nutrients, and as with clay, it's almost impossible to add too much. Sand is the opposite of clay in many ways. Because of the large particle size, sand has lots of air spaces, so it drains water quickly and warms up fast. These characteristics make it ready to plant in Spring sooner than clay. However, it's also the first type of soil to dry out in summer and doesn't hold nutrients as well as clay. 

Loamy Soils: Loamy soils are  a rich, dark and crumbly soil that will allow drainage, but still retain enough moisture to be beneficial. Loam is a good balance of sand, clay, silt and organic matter. If you grab a handful of loamy soil, it should not form a compact ball. It should remain loose.



The Squeeze Test: Silt is like the right bed in Goldilocks and the 3 Bears. It has medium-size particles, so it holds some water, but not too much. It holds some nutrients, but not as many as clay. It warms up fast in the Spring, but not as quickly as sand. A soil dominated by silt is a gardener's friend.

To do this test, be sure your soil is damp, but not soaking wet. Grab a small handful of the soil in your hand. Rub some of the soil between your fingers. If it feels gritty, it's mostly sand. If it feels slick and slimy, it's mostly clay.


            The Ribbon Test: Take a handful of damp soil and make a ribbon by rolling the soil between your hands. If you can form a ribbon and hold it vertically without it breaking, you have mostly clay soil. If you can make a ribbon, but it breaks off when you try to hold it up, you probably have somewhere between 25 and 50 percent clay in your soil. If you can't make a ribbon at all, chances are your soil is more than half sand.


 The Jar Test is for the scientist in the crowd. It's a bit more precise than the other tests. To do this test, take soil from a number of places in your garden and mix the samples together in a bucket. Scoop up a cup of your soil and follow these steps

1. Let the soil dry out on a flat surface until it becomes crumbly.
2. Remove any roots, stones, or debris and crush it into a powder with a mortar.
3. Place a 1-inch-thick layer in the bottom of a quart-size clear glass jar.
4. Fill the jar two-thirds full with water and add a pinch of salt (or let the solution settle into different layers).
5. Measure the total amount of soil, and then measure each layer. To determine the percentage of each soil type, you need to do a little math. If, for example, the total amount of soil is 1 inch deep and you have a 1/2 inch-thick layer of sand, your soil is 50% sand, If the next layer(silt) is 1/4 inch deep, you have 25 percent silt.The remaining 25 percent , then is clay.