The importance of soil type


The importance of soil type

One of the most important things to learn about your garden to ensure successful crops and plants is your soil type. Each soil type has its own methods to improve the soil in order to get the best from your plants. Some plants may struggle to grow and survive in certain types of soil. The best way to ensure good growth is incorporating plenty of organic matter every year.

Clay Soils
If you have clay soils the biggest problem is the soil becoming too compact. These soils can be very fertile but require some help to ensure they hold on to their nutrients. During the winter this type of soil will be sticky and heavy while during the summer it may dry and crack on the surface. If the soil is wet lay down wooden boards to walk along to spread out your weight. This avoids damaging the soil structure. The Autumn months are the best for digging while it is dry. If the soil is too wet it will become difficult to work effectively. Although make sure not to overwork the soil. Simply lifting big clods of clay to the surface is enough during the Autumn for the Winter weather to break down and do all the work for you. Try t5o work into the soil a good amount of organic matter, either manure or compost from your home. Avoid adding sand to the soil as this can make it worse. If required build some raised beds to improve drainage and plants new plants during the spring when the soil is less wet.

Sandy Soils
Sandy soil feels very light and gritty and cannot be moulded into shape. They are the easiest to manage but due to being very free-draining they can dry out very easily and if not cared for can lose their fertility and nutrients. Organic matter is very much the key to improving sandy soils. It will act as a sponge preventing water and nutrients from being washed away and bind the soil together. Apply mulches in the early spring whilst the soil is moist. Use a thick layer around your plants with some decorative gravel in you choose.

Silt Soils
Somewhere in between is silt soils. Similar to clay soils, silt soils risk becoming too compacted, despite having larger particles and being more draining. They are fertile and drain more effectively when cared for properly. The best way to tell whether or not you have silt soils is whether the soil feels smooth or sticky when moulded into shape. It won't hold it's shape as easily as clay and will crumble is rolled in your hand. Walking on wooden boards is also reccomended for silt as well as annually mixing in plenty of compost during the spring or autumn.

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