When gardening, you may find the large selection of soil varieties confusing. Knowing the different types of soil and what the terminology means can make the difference between successful gardening and a waste of time and effort. Here, we break it down for you to make your decision easier.
- Potting mix doesn’t contain much organic material. It’s used to keep moisture inside a container. As time goes by, though, it will lose this ability, and you’ll need to top it off with organic material to keep your plants alive.
- Garden soil usually comes in a 50/50 mix with topsoil. This type of soil is meant for open beds rather than containers because it retains a lot of moisture when enclosed.
- What’s the difference between loam and topsoil? Loam is soil that has an equal distribution of sand, clay, and silt. Topsoil is the uppermost layer of soil, up to 12 inches deep. Essentially, topsoil refers to the location of the soil, while loam speaks to its composition.
- Choosing the right soil for your garden can be tricky. It should be crumbly but not gritty or sticky, and firm enough to roll between your hands when moist. Familiarize yourself with the qualities of different soil types.
- Clay soil: More than 25% clay, it’s heavy and can be high in nutrients but can also go to extremes, either retaining excess water or becoming cracked and dry. It’s good for shrubs, perennials, summer crop vegetables and fruit trees.
- Chalky soil: It has a large grained, stony consistency and is highly alkaline, but the pH can be balanced pH with fertilizer. Trees, bulbs, and vegetables like beets, corn, and spinach grow well in chalky soil.
- Sandy soil: Lightweight and easy to work and cultivate, it drains quickly, but sometimes dries too quickly and doesn’t hold nutrients. Shrubs, bulbs, and vegetables like parsnips, carrots, and potatoes do well in sandy soil, and it’s used for most commercial produce.
- Silt soil: Between clay and sand, it’s one of the most fertile soils available, it’s great for grass, climbers, shrubs, perennials, fruits, and vegetable crops.
- Loam soil: A combination of soil types, it’s easy to work and avoids the extremes of other soils. Vegetables, berries, bamboo, perennials, and shrubs do well in loam.
If you need help choosing the things you need to make your garden grow, talk to the experts at Moon Valley Nurseries. Moon Valley Nurseries started as a small neighborhood nursery, and now has locations across the West. We deliver and plant anything in our massive inventory. Because we grow our plants ourselves, we can give our customers the lowest prices in town, guaranteed. Contact us through our website, call us at (602) 388-1529, or stop by to check out all we have to offer, from the best trees and plants to professional crews and planters to certified designers ready to make your yard the best in the neighborhood.