SEASON 1 – SOIL
EPISODE 2 – “ALL SOIL IS NOT CREATED EQUAL”
Today we are going to discuss the different soil types. Much like picking from the wine list on a first date, knowing the various categories will go a long way to ensuring the proverbial egg remains far from the vicinity of your face.
Soils are classified as either clay, sandy or loamy. Most soils are a combination of all three, but as each name suggests, this is based on which component holds the majority in the soil make-up.
- Coarse & gritty to touch
- Has large particle size with large pore spaces
- Low water-holding capacity
- High porosity – drains easily
- Well aerated
- Poor in nutrients
Sandy soils are not ideal for gardening as they are unable to hold sufficient water and nutrients to sustain good plant growth.
- Soft & powdery to touch
- Very fine particle size with minimal pore spaces
- High water holding capacity
- Low porosity with tiny pore spaces – poor drainage
- Poor aeration
- The nutrient content is usually relatively high but unavailable for uptake
Clay soils are not ideal for gardening as the small clay particles prevent the free flow of water, oxygen and nutrients. Soils are prone to water-logging, crusting and are easily compacted.
- Workable’ soil with good colour and that holds its shape
- A balance of large & small soil particles, with mixed pore spaces
- Good water holding capacity
- Medium porosity – allowing water & nutrients to be absorbed while excess can drain away
- Good aeration – allowing oxygen to penetrate the soil to sustain life
- Good cation exchange capacity – mobile nutrients to allow uptake as needed
Loam soil consists of a combination of clay and sand particles, allowing for a balance between the particle fractions.