There are three main types of soil: sand, silt, and clay. The best soil for most plants to ensure optimum growth is a rich, sandy loam. This soil is an even mixture of all three main types of soil. In most cases, you’ll need to amend the soil with compost. Depending on how compact the soil is, you may need to add peat moss and sand. However, there are many plants that are well adapted and can grow in particular types of soil. The best soil to use for flowers depends on the type of flower, such as bulb vs seed, and where you’re growing it.
Soil is generally described by the amount of sand, clay, and silt it contains. This is known as texture. Soil texture is directly related to nutrient quality and drainage capabilities. A loam soil contains a nice balance of silt, sand, and clay along with humus. The factors that make this soil type so desirable and good for growing plants include PH levels and texture. Sand is the largest particle in soil and does not hold nutrients well. Soils with a large amount of clay are heavy and do not drain well. Silty soil is powdery with high fertility. Unfortunately, soils that are high in silt can become waterlogged very easily. For more information about maintaining your winter garden and it’s soil click here.
The best soil for a vegetable garden depends on the type of garden you have. For a raised bed garden you want a 50/50 ratio of compost and topsoil. For a field garden you need soil that drains well. Clay soil will need to be amended to ensure the water drains properly. You can amend using gypsum, vermiculite or expanded shale.
If you’re growing houseplants, you might think it’s a good idea to scoop some soil from your yard to grow your plants in. This is actually a bad idea since garden soil contains bacteria that can be harmful to your houseplants. There are two options if you don’t want to use commercial potting soil.
If you opt for your outdoor soil to grow your indoor plants, you’ll first need to pasteurize it in order to eliminate any diseases, as well as insects and weeds. Spread it on a cookie sheet and bake in a 180 degree oven for 30 minutes. Although this process will emit a bad odor, it does take care of the bacteria.
After the soil is sterilized, you’ll likely need to amend it with peat moss and sand. These are things that will allow proper drainage and air flow while still retaining the right amount of moisture. Commercial potting soils are similar. They include peat moss and vermiculite along with a slow-release fertilizer. Together these things create a soil mix that holds nutrients, retains moisture, and provides ventilation for the roots of the plant.
Label each pot clearly so you know which soil is in each vessel. Make a not in your journal. If you choose to use a numeric or alphabet coding, make sure you transfer the information accurate in your journal.