The Dirt On the Dirt
The Dirt on the Dirt
Soil is a medium that supports plant life. It provides support both physically and biologically. Physical support is provided by allowing the plant to grow its roots through the soil to hold itself in place. Biological support is provided by its ability to hold nutrients and water that the plant needs.
It also supports other types of life as well. Microorganisms and insects live in the soil and they in turn aid plant life by helping to decay organic material and adding structure to the soil. All life on earth is dependant on it either directly and indirectly. This includes the plant life in your garden.
So What is Soil Made of?
Good question. The soil is made up of three main components – minerals that come from rocks below or nearby, organic matter which is the remains of plants and animals that use the soil, and the living organisms that reside in the soil.
Different Types of Soil
This is a heavy soil that feels lumpy to the touch and is sticky when wet making it hard to work with. The small size of the clay particles means that they clump together and there is less room for air. clay soil has bad drainage and doesn't do a good jod at keeping nutrients for plants to do well. This is a heavy soil and is sticky when wet making it hard to work with.
Silty soils are light and moisture retentive soils feels smooth to the touch. This soil is a well-drained soil due to the size of the particles allowing space for water to permeate. This soil holds nutrients more readily than clay soil due to the spaces. As the particles are fine, they can be easily compacted and are prone to washing away with rain.
Sandy soils are often known as light soils due to their high proportion of sand and little clay. They feel gritty to the touch. These soils have quick water drainage and are easy to work with. They are quicker to warm up in spring than clay soils but tend to dry out in summer and suffer from low nutrients that are washed away by rain.
This is the best type of soil texture you can have in your garden. This is soil whose properties are controlled equally by the percentages of clay, silt and sand particles. It is well drained but does not loose water too easily as is the case with sandy and sometimes silty soils. The fact that it retains water means it also retains nutrients for your plants to use. It has a great structure and is easy to cultivate.
Even if you don't have loamy soil in your garden you can create it by combining the right combo your plants needs to have success. Of course, you can also buy pre-mixed dirt from your local garden supply and ordering online is an opinion. We will talk about that later.
As I said before Loamy is the ideal soil for most plants. Some may require a different combination, but for the most part loamy is the way to go.