Planting Soil

Planting Soil

Different plants need different types of soil. Hence, appropriate planting soil should be prepared before you start planting any plants.
Gardenerdy Staff
If you are thinking of starting a garden, then one of the things you need to learn is soil science. Soil is one of the most important and basic need of a plant, and hence great attention should be paid to it. If the soil is too soggy, then it can cause the roots to rot and the plants will eventually die. If the soil is too dry then the plant will not get adequate water and eventually they will die. Hence, providing plants with appropriate soil type is very important.

Planting Soil Tips and Tricks

When starting a garden there are two ways you can go about it. First is to decide the plants you want to grow in your home garden, and then make amendments to the soil in the garden to suit the plants. Another way is to test the soil in different areas of the garden, and see what type of soil is present in different patches of the garden, and accordingly select the plants. Most people tend to follow the former method. If you already have plants which you want to grow in your garden, then consider the below tips to improve the quality of garden soil, so that you can make it suitable for growing plants. However, if you are thinking of soil testing first, and then planting the various plants, then go to the latter section for learning how to perform test on soil.

To make amends to the soil you have, consider adding a topsoil bulk layer. The soil mix can be found in any garden stores and the soil cost comes at a very reasonable price. Or if you have good loam soil then add mulch and compost to the soil to make it nutrient-rich. You can also consider adding some fertilizer to make its pH neutral, so that it is suitable for growing most plants. To increase the drainage of the soil, you can add perlite.

The common different types of soil are clay, silt, sand, and loam soil. Clay soil is not good for plants. This soil is very smooth in texture when dry and sticky when wet, and tends to crack when it becomes dry and thus can damage plant roots. Sand particles are gritty to touch and are poor soils. Silt particles are larger than clay and feel soft like flour, but when the soil is dry it feels slippery, this soil is quite rich and has poor drainage. Loam soil is a combination of silt, sand, and clay and this is the best type of soil considered for gardening. So, first go around the garden and check for soil, at least three places to see what type of soil is present.

To check for soil drainage and soil pH test, use these steps. To check drainage, dig a hole in the ground which is at least one foot deep, and fill it up with water. If the water drains within 5 minutes, the soil is a well-drained one. If it takes 10 minutes for the water to drain, the soil is okay, but if it takes 20 minutes or more, then the soil drainage is poor. So, you need to plant according to the drainage of the soil as well. For example, orchid and cactus soil should be a well-drained one, but again cactus can survive without much water, while orchid soil needs to be a good humus soil. While some bog and pond plants can grow in wet soils too.

To check the pH of the soil, perform this simple test. Scoop some soil from three areas of the garden and perform this test on all samples. Put sample one in a container and add half cup of vinegar to it, if the mix fizzes it means you have alkaline soil. But, if there is no reaction, then add half cup of water in the sample of another freshly scooped soil, and then mix some baking soda to it, and see if the mix fizzes, if it does, then you have highly acidic soil. Different plants require different pH soil, however most go with a pH between 6 to 7.5. However, if you have a plant which needs acidic or alkaline soil then consider container gardening. For example, soil for tomatoes should have a pH of 6 to 6.5.

You can pick any method for planting soil. But, the best soil will be created by combining the above two methods. So, first do a survey of the soil present in your yard or garden, and then add more nutrient-rich topsoil layer and plant the specific plants, in soil that suits them the most. Good luck!