What is Soil and What Are The Most Common Soil Types?

Soil is a mixture of organic matter including organisms, minerals, liquids, gases which is the result of organic forces working on rock.

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The good soil for garden is the one that is nutritious. The nutritious soil will include:

  • Nitrogen,
  • Potassium,
  • Phosphorus,
  • Magnesium,
  • Sulphur,
  • Calcium,
  • Carbon,
  • Hydrogen,
  • Oxygen,
  • Iron,
  • Manganese,
  • Zinc,
  • Copper

These nutritious elements are vital for the well being of the plants. A plant lacking any of these elements may suffer. On the other hand, from the gardening point of view, the gardeners classify soil according to the amount of clay or sand that the soil includes. The soil can also be described according to its acidity or alkalinity.

 

Acidity and Alkalinity of the Soil

 

A soil rich in chalk or lime is considered alkaline. If the soil lacks chalk or lime then it is considered acidic. The amount of lime that the soil contains determines if the soil is acidic or alkaline. The level of alkaline or acidity is measured on the pH scale that runs from 0 to 14. The soil with a pH level below 6.5 is considered acidic and the soil with a pH level of 7.0 or more is considered alkaline.  Rarely any soil is with a pH level of 8.5 or more or 4.5 and less. Most of the plants prefer soil with a pH from 6.5 to 7.0

Types of Soil:

 

Clay Soil

The clay soil drains slowly therefore there is very little air penetration. Despite being rich in nutrition, it is hard to cultivate clay soil. When it is wet it is very sticky however when it is dry clay soil is very hard. If you add organic matter to the clay soil, you can quickly improve it as organic matter when mixed up with clay soil allow water and air to pass through.

How To Tell If Your Soil Is Clay

 

In order to test the soil for clay just moist a small sample of soil and squeeze it in your hand. If the soil slide readily in your hand and the soil sample looks shiny it means that it has high clay content.

 

Sandy Soil

 

Unlike clay soil, sandy soil drain very fast. This allows plenty of air to penetrate through the soil and this is good for the roots of the plants and helps them develop strongly. Since sandy soil drains fast it means that most of the nutritious elements are also quickly washed away.

 

How To Tell If Your Soil Is Sandy

 

Pick some soil into your hand and squeeze it. If the soil is sandy then it will look and feel very rough.

Silt Soil

Silt soil is the type of soil that contains both clay and sandy elements. The silt soil is both heavy and sticky.

Loam Soil

Loam is one of the most desired soil depending on the plant you would like to grow. Loam soil includes mixtures of clay, sand, and also silt. So, it is rich in nutritious elements that plants will thrive. The clay or sand levels in them will determine the lightness or heaviness of the loam soil.

Humus Soil

Humus soil includes plant and animal remains in various stages of decay and for this reason, it is very fertile. Humus rich soil is dark brown.

Peat Soil

Peat Soil consists of decomposed organic matter but its acidity level is generally higher than Humus Soil.

Topsoil is generally upper and dark brown, fertile side of the soil.

Insects, slugs, snails, bacteria, birds and many other living organisms helps the soil stay organically rich. It is simply rule of the nature and this should be encouraged. 

On the other hand, you can mix organic matter with you soil for example compost or top soil to make sure your soil’s alkaline or acidity levels are within desired levels or it is improved in terms of drainage or oxygen penetration.  

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