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Soil Types...

There are many types of soil and these are made up of different minerals such as silt, sand, clay, ground rock and decomposed organic matter.  Every garden is unique even different areas of the same garden can have a different soil types. Knowing your soil type and ph level and enriching your soil with organic matter is essential to maintaining a healthy and productive garden.

Testing the soil will determine the PH levels in your garden and is measured on a scale of 1 - 14 everything below a 7 is considered acidic and everything above this number is classed as alkaline most plants thrive with a soil type of between 5.5 and 7 soil measuring 7 is considered neutral.

Testing your soil is quick and easy and doing this will determine the soils PH level there, are kits that can be bought from the garden centre but avoid using them if there has been heavy rain and follow the instructions on the packaging.

A home made test can determine if the soil is acid or alkaline but not the PH level again don't do this if it has rained heavily.

Home Made Test - Alkaline Or Acidic Soil

Take a soil sample and put it in a clean container and add some vinegar giving it a shake if the soil fizzes its alkaline soil, if there is no reaction take a second sample add rain water that is mixed with baking soda if the soil fizzes it is acidic soil.

Different Types Of Soil..

PEAT SOIL these are high in organic matter very fertile and are made up over time from decayed vegetation they are usually found in areas of high rainfall making these soils as a rule acidic.

CLAY SOIL these are cold and heavy and are hard to work they are very wet in winter slow to drain and bake hard in summer they are however nutrient rich. Adding organic matter over time will help break down the soil and help the soil warm up in spring.

CHALK SOIL these can be either light or heavy in texture but are very alkaline it is impossible to grow ericaceous plants such as camellias, heathers, rhododendrons or azaleas. Choosing the correct plants that thrives in alkaline soil is essential.

SANDY SOIL can be course and gritty, they contain little or no clay at all and drain very quickly they also dry out easily and are extremely low in plant nutrients. Adding organic material over time will help the soil retain moisture and hold onto valuable nutrients.

LOAM SOIL is a mix of clay silt and sand and is easy to manage and drains well this is a perfect balance and occasionally adding organic material will help maintain and cultivate the soil.

SILT SOIL is a mixture of clay and sandy soil it has fine particles and holds water well this soil is moisture retentive and is easily compacted. Adding organic material will help maintain the soil and provide a healthy structure.

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"Know your soil type to help maintain your plants growth and continued good health."