c What Type of Soil Does My Garden Have? | Garden, Tea, Cakes, (Books) and Me

What Type of Soil Does My Garden Have?

You would think as a keen gardener I would know what type of soil I have in my garden. I should, but I don't.  I know if I am growing specific plants in a pot that they may require a specific soil type, such as  the ericaceous compost for my blueberry plant. But I do not know the soil make up of my garden in general. 

analysing your garden soil
Garden soil, I realise this may look like a rather odd photo!

Time to do a little gardening homework. In the main borders within the garden, the soil feels quite heavy and solid in my hand and was more clumpy in feel compared to the soil in the raised beds. It holds a ball shape well, though would not quite form a sausage shape. A sausage shape would be indicative of a heavy clay soil.

By adding soil to a jam jar of water and giving it a good shake and 24 hours to settle, I would be able to see how my soil was made up of sand, clay and loam. 

different soil layers
Soil layers
24 hours later...I have concluded from the ‘jam jar test’ that my soil is 40% clay, 30% loam and 30% sand making my soil a clay loam/sand soil. Though there are some areas of the garden that are less worked and could well be higher in clay. One of the benefits of a clay based soil is that it contains high levels of nutrients, and my apple, pear and plum trees all do very well. 

With three compost heaps on the go in the garden and a leaf mould bin, each year more compost is added and dug into the soil or used as mulch. My sister completes the heavy work including the digging, due to my scoliosis; hence the reason I grow most of my vegetables in 2ft raised beds. 

I also completed a acidity test, having found a soil testing kit in the darkest depths of the garage. Testing both the main garden and the vegetable raised beds, I quickly established my soil was ph neutral. Well that is providing the testing kit still worked accurately.

Raised Beds Soil Test

Garden Soil Test
Do you know the type of soil in your garden?
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  1. I like that soil in the jam jar trick, I'm going to try that with soil from my new garden!

  2. A great post! We were taught how to do this at a gardening course last summer, but alas, this year the builders have turned my lovely garden into a 5 foot deep pile of rubble so there will be no planting this year. :(

  3. To be honest, not having a garden I have never really thought about this before, but this is really fascinating. How does the soil affect what you grow?


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