The fist step to getting the soil in your garden right is figuring out what you have. There are three general types of soil:
- Clay: This type of soil is composed of very fine particles that pack together tightly, allowing very little water to drain out and making it difficult for roots to dig in. If you squeeze clay soil in your hand, it will create a hard sticky ball. To modify clay soil, add organic material that will loosen the particles up and add nutrients to the soil (humus for example.)
- Sand: Sandy soil is very loose and granular so it holds little water and few nutrients. Sand will sift right through your hands when you try to compress it. Sand needs organic material added to help it absorb moisture and contribute nutrients (compost should do the trick.)
- Loam: This type of soil is the gardener’s dream soil because it is the perfect blend of sand, clay, and organic matter. Loam is typically dark in color and will compress but not form a hard mass. For good measure you can still add organic material to boost the nutrient levels in loam.