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     Soil Types / Taking a soil sample                                                          <<Back one page

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 What is soil?
Soil is basically a mixture of sand, clay, chalk and Humus, and when they are balance out it becomes what we call loam. Loam is a fertile, easy to cultivate, free-draining soil. Its most likely that your garden soil is made up of heavy clay, sand and large stones. But don't worry, your soil contains the main ingredients which makes up loam, but are present in the wrong proportions. Your soil can be improved by adding humus, lime and fertilizers.
 Put a name to your soil
Get a hand full of soil from your garden on a day when the soil is moist. Squeeze it in your hand. Is it moulding together, falling through your fingers, does it feel sticky! Just by doing this you can get an idea of what type of soil you have.
 Soil Types
Clay soil when squeezed can feel sticky, moulds together and forms an impression of your fingers.
Sandy soil squeezed in your hand slips through your fingers, can feel gritty and will not hold together very well.
Peaty soil will feel spongy in texture and will be dark brown or black in colour.
 Acid or alkaline?
If your wanting to grow Azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias and heathers, then your soil needs to contain a ph reading slightly on the acidic side as these plants & shrubs hate lime. If you want to grow vegetables and your soil ph reading is very acidic you will need to add some lime. The best ph reading to have to grow a good variety of plants and shrubs is between 6 & 6.5 , Slightly acidic. You can get a soil testing kit from your Local Garden centre. So get your soil in good condition first before you start planting.


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