Are you ready to get outside to start planting flowers, vegetables, and more? Before heading out to the garage to grab your gardening tools, it’s important to know what type of soil you have. Some types of soils are easier to cultivate than others. Check out the various types of soil, how to evaluate their texture, and, most importantly, what grows best in them.
- Clay. Dry clay soil is heavy, solid, and likely to have cracks. Alternatively, wet clay soil turns into a putty-like substance you can smash in your hand. Though clay soil doesn’t drain very well, it holds a lot of nutrients. You can improve drainage by adding compost or other materials to the soil. Perennials such as goldenrod, foxglove, coneflowers, and black-eyed Susans are all good flowers to plant in clay soil.
- Sandy. Sandy soil has a crumbly texture. It’s well-draining and easy to cultivate. However, when a heavy rain comes along, it can wash a lot of nutrients out of this soil. Putting down some mulch is one way to help sandy soil hold more moisture. Shrubs such as butterfly bushes, rose of Sharon, and red chokeberry are all good options for planting in sandy soil. Annuals including daylilies and salvia are also easy to grow. Beans, radishes, carrots, and lettuce are favorable options if you’re thinking about planting veggies.
- Peat. Peat soil is dark and acidic with a soft, sponge-like texture. This soil holds a lot of moisture, which is why it usually feels damp. Digging drainage channels in your garden can help to remove some of the moisture. Carrots, onions, potatoes, and radishes all grow well in peat soil. Salad greens such as spinach, kale, and arugula are other good choices for planting.
- Silt. Silt soil is made up of soft, fine particles and has a soapy texture when wet. It’s nutrient-rich and easy to cultivate. Silt soil isn’t well-draining, but drainage can be improved by adding compost. Perennials such as hostas, cranesbill, and roses all grow well in silt soil. Daffodil bulbs, snowdrops, and crocus also fare well in this soil.
- Chalk. Chalk soil is stony and high alkaline and doesn’t hold moisture very well. Pick up a handful of chalk soil and it breaks fairly easily in your hand. Herbs such as rosemary, lavender, and fennel grow well in chalky soil. Echinacea, black-eyed Susans, and lisianthus are all flowers suitable for growing in this type of soil.
- Loam. Loam is a mixture of different soils. It contains 40% sand, 40% silt, and 20% clay. Loam has a fine texture and feels a little damp. This soil drains very well, has lots of nutrients, and is easy to cultivate. Wisteria, delphinium, and dog’s-tooth violets are great plants for loam soil. Blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries also grow well. If you want to grow some vegetables, consider lettuce, onions, cucumbers, green beans, or all of the above.
Be sure to check your soil type before planting. This can help you to get the absolute best results from your garden this year. Thanks for reading. – Alan