The 7 Types Of Soil And Their Uses And Benefits

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To start a garden project, you just need some soil, right? Not so fast. Soil can be composed of wildly different combinations of particles, from clay to silt to soil and more.

Each of these particles will have different benefits for your next gardening or soil-related project. To get the most out of your next projects – whatever it may be – make sure to use the soil that will make your plants grow the best. 

Let’s explore what makes up different types of soil and their uses:

  1. Sandy Soil – Sandy particles are some of the largest particles you’ll find in soil. The size of sand particles makes it difficult for water to stay in the ground for long enough to nourish growing plant life. However, there are certain plants that excel in sandy soil: tulips, hibiscus, watermelons, peanuts, and peaches are just some of the plants that you can try to plant in a more sandy soil.
  2. Clay Soil– Clay soil and sandy soil are often viewed as opposites. Where sandy soil thrives, clay soil fails – and vice versa. Clay soil’s density and small particles make it great for water retention and drier climates. However, it’s harder for air to circulate and water to drain through clay soil. We recommend planting leafy greens in clay soil, as well as peas, tomatoes, peppers, roses, and asters. 
  3. Silty Soil – Silt is a sedimentary particle that is smaller than sand, but larger than clay. Its size allows it to enjoy a nice balance between circulating air and retaining water. We definitely recommend choosing a more silty soil if you have a wide variety of plants in your garden: it can produce wonderful flowers, shrubs, and grasses. 
  4. Peaty Soil – You can recognize peaty soil from its darker color. It is high in organic matter and nutrients to feed and nourish plants, keeping plants protected through dry or wet weather. Shrubs like witch hazel excel in peaty soil. Before you plant in peaty soil, however, you need to drain it. Peaty soil is usually high in water content. This type of soil is also great for regulating and balancing the pH levels of more basic soil. 
  5. Chalky Soil – Chalky soil is quite acidic (with pH levels around 7.5), which makes it less ideal for growing plants. Chalk deposits make this soil hard to work with and difficult for plants to grow in. Chalky soils are more popular in the United Kingdom, where gardeners reserve them for growing herbs. 
  6. Loamy Soil – This is typically regarded as the ideal soil for growing plants and gardens. It usually contains sand, silt, clay, and humus (decomposed organic matter.) With a pH of 6 and high calcium content, loamy soil allows plants to grow to their true potential. Loamy soil allows for a good balance of water retention and drainage, as well as circulation. All of the plants we recommended for clay soil, as well as root vegetables, will grow wonderfully in loamy soil. Adding compost to loamy soil will enhance its growing abilities even more.
  7. Saline Soil – If you see a white layer on top of your soil, you might have saline soil. This type of soil contains a high amount of salt, which can stunt plant growth and slow irrigation. There are not many plants who will thrive – or even begin to grow – in saline soil. 

After you choose the plants you want to grow in your garden, you’ll need to figure out which types of soil will help them to grow to their true potential. 

If you need help figuring out which soil is optimal for you – and where to find it – give DirtMatch a call for all of your soil and dirt needs. 

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