The texture of the garden soil determines its type, which is just a description of the percentage of clay, silt and sand in the loam. Because of the difference in the percentage of each component, you have different variations of loam. Improving your soil for gardening brings out the best performance of the plants grown in it.
The main types of garden soil are clay, silt and sand. The best soil texture or loam is the right combination of these three. You can just add any of these three kinds to alter the texture of your soil. But on a large scale, this will be a very tedious job. In lieu of altering the combination, soil improvement is done through the addition of liberal amount of organic matter to the existing earth.
Organic matter improves the fertility of the soil. Furthermore, it will aid the drainage structure of clay and silt soils. If your garden soil is sandy, the organic matter will help in water retention. Let us analyze each of the three types of soil and some practical ways to improve them.
Clay for your garden soil
Clay soil is compact because it is composed of numerous mineral particles. The compact structure limits the air space such that water is retained in the soil. It is sticky and hardens during summer. This kind of soil is very fertile however the drawback is that the nutrients tend to be locked in it. This is where improvements need to be done.
Your clay soil is very hard during summer and very sticky during the wet months of spring and winter. The best time to add organic matter to your soil is during autumn. You simply dig clods of clay, break them and add organic matter in the form of well-rotten animal manure, compost or green manure. Another method of adding organic matter is merely spreading 5 to 10 centimeters of the organic fertilizer on top of the clay soil surface and let the worms incorporate the fertilizing matter. Never add sand to the clay soil. Be selective on the choice of plants as there are plant species that cannot thrive on clay soil albeit it is already fertilized and improved.
Silt soil for your garden
Another kind of soil is the silt. These have bigger particles when compared to clay but this still is compact. Although this is free-draining of water, it still holds some of the moisture. Like the clay, it can be molded into shape but it is smoother and less sticky. When the soil is wet, do not walk on it as like the clay it sticks to your feet; your weight will have an impact on the soil structure.
Silt soil improvement is best to do during spring or autumn. You can fork into the soil or spread over the surface liberal amount of organic matter.
Gardening with sandy soil
The third soil type that forms part of loam garden soil is the sandy soil. It has too big particles making it super free-draining. There are big air spaces in between its particles. It cannot be molded into shape and when you walk over the soil, it is gritty and light. It dries out easily and because the nutrients are easily washed away, it is the least fertile kind of garden soil.
The secret to improving sandy soil is to integrate a big amount of organic matter in it; this closes the spaces in between the particles. This will bind the soil better which eventually is beneficial in improving retention of water and nutrient. When planted on, you can add munch around the plants in the form of layers of organic matter or layers of decorative pebbles, rocks, stone chips or gravel. Spring and autumn are likewise the best season work on sandy soil.
The best kind of garden soil is the loam which contains the right proportion of clay, silt and sand put together. You can do the soil texture alteration but not when you are working on a large scale. If the area to be planted in is too huge, the addition of organic matter is the solution to improve the quality and fertility of the garden soil.