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By Susie2

County Down, United Kingdom Gb

Can anyone advice me, how do I tell what type of soil is in my garden, I'm at a loss. Thanks



Ask someone who gardens locally about the soil type in your area ,you can also buy soil testing kits from diy/garden centres to test ph levels.

12 Mar, 2012


Here are a couple of home tests, Susie:
Moisten some soil, but not to the point of becoming soupy. Roll some into a ball in your hand, and poke a finger into it. If the ball simply dents, and felt doughy while you were forming it, it has a high clay content, or the clay in it is highly "dispersed"--that is, all of the sand and silt particles in it are surrounded with a layer of clay--and the soil structure will respond as if it were nearly solid clay. If the ball dents, but there is extensive cracking around the dent, it is likely made of silt, or it is a "loam"--that is, a nearly even mix of sand, silt, and clay, usually with some organic matter. If the ball falls apart easily when you poke it, it is probably mostly sand, or possibly a poor potting compost made from composted forest products.
Another home test would be to put a trowel-full of soil in a large glass jar, add a few drops of dish soap, fill the jar with water, screw the lid on tight, and shake it vigorously for as long as you can stand it. Now let the jar sit undisturbed for several days, so the soil particles can settle out. Sand and grit will be on the bottom of the sediment, with silt above that, and clay above that. Particles of organic matter will either be resting on the clay, or floating atop the water. Dissolved organics will stain the water tea-colored--or sometimes coffee-colored, in very acid soils!
There are a few good home test kits for pH and NPK levels out there,but micronutrient levels and toxins are definitely the province of the laboratory.
Hope this helps!

13 Mar, 2012


Have a wander round your local area and look at what's growing in people's gardens. The best indicator is actually Hydrangeas, but its too early for them to be in flower. However, if you've noticed hydrangeas with lovely blue flowers, the local soil is probably acidic - if you've seen any with lilacy pinky flowers, it'll be neutral to slightly alkaline. If they're all lovely pink, alkaline. Otherwise, Skimmias, Camellia, Pieris growing healthily with good green leaf colour indicates acidic soil.

13 Mar, 2012


Great answers - I have nominated this for Goypedia

13 Mar, 2012

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