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Know more about your garden soil

Nov 05, 2013
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Soil types

Garden SoilIn gardening, it is very important to know type of soil you have in your garden. Mainly four types of soil are found worldwide. The type of soil is decided on the basis on size of soil particle, water and moisture retention capability and amount of nutrients.


1. Sand

It is coarse type of soil having largest soil particles. Large particles allow water and moisture to drain quickly thus causing minimum retention strength. It is light brown to brown in color. In hindi it is called as ‘Balui mitti’. This type of soil is suitable for desert’s plants and shrubs like cacti and flowering plants like hibiscus and tulips. Add a layer of mulch or compost to increase water and moisture retention capacity.


    2. Silt

Particle size of silt soil is in between sand and clay. Particles are smaller than sand but bigger in compare to clay. Due to small sized particles silt is compactly packed soil having good water and moisture retention capacity. But sometime it becomes difficult to drain water from the soil. This type of soil is good for moisture loving plant. Add a layer of mulch or compost to improve drainage capability of silt soil.


    3.  Clay

It is heavier and densest soil.  Soil particles are smallest in the size thus packs it very compact. It holds water and moisture for longest time. But compactly packed nature makes it very hard to penetrate by air and moisture.It is called as ‘Chikni mitti’ in hindi. Clay is ideal for Rhododendron, Wisteria. Add a layer of mulch or compost to increase air flow and water drainage through it.


    4. Loamy

It is the best type of soil for gardening. It is made up of clay(20), silt(40) and sand(40) thus providing it good drainage capability due to sandy content and ideal water and moisture retention capability from silt and clay


content. Here is no need of adding mulch or compost. Though, you can add a thin layer to improve particular nutrient in the soil.In hindi it is called as ‘Dommat / Dummat mitti’.

Some popular terms every gardener should know –


1.     Mulch

First of all mulch is not a type of soil. It is an organic matter which improves soil water drainage and moisture retention capability as well as keep heat level in check. A mixture of dried leaves, tree bark, yard waste, wood chips and straw is known as mulch. Mulching makes soil porous thus letting in more air and water to roots. It decomposes over the time and adds more organic matter to the soil.


2.     Compost

Compost or humus is organic matter product of decomposition of green (veggie, fruit etc) and brown (dried leaves, sawdust) organic matter over the time. Composting can be carried out at home also using kitchen and home waste. When added to loose, sandy soil compost helps to bind soil particle to retain moisture and nutrients for longer periods and in compact type of soil like clay and silt , it loosen up the soil to let air flow and water drain out of the soil.

Read Also : How earthworms are beneficial for garden soil ? 

Read Also : Check out tips for composting at home.


3.     Top Soil

Top soil is commercially produced nutrient rich matter having 2-10 % organic material. It can be directly used on existing less fertile soil. Mix top soil and existing soil properly otherwise it can create an absorption barrier for water leading drainage and over watering issues.

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