Do You Know Your Soil?

By | February 4, 2020

In the world of gardening, there are 5 main types of soil – and yes, soil does come in different varieties. Each of these types are made up of the same materials: silt, clay, and sand.


However, the different types of soil come in when we get specific with the amounts of each material.

So, what are the five main types? Here they are.


Sandy soil is made up of large particles. Out of all the soil types, sandy soil’s particles are the biggest. It’s gritty and dry to the touch. It can’t hold water due to the large spaces between the particles.

When used for gardening, water drains through it quickly and will pool in areas where even the longest of plants roots can’t reach. This makes sandy soil a poor choice for trying to grow seedlings.

However, its benefits are that it is lightweight and easy to work with. It also warms up more quickly during the spring months.


Silty soil, in comparison to sandy soil, is much softer to the touch and has particles that are drastically smaller.

This kind of soil holds water relatively well and holds a decent amount of nutrients. Because it holds water so well, it tends to be cold and doesn’t drain very well. In other words, it’s not the best for plants that need very specific amounts of water.


Clay has extremely small particles, which makes it great for holding water. Very little air passes between its particles, therefore, water has a harder time escaping. This means that it holds a large volume of plant nutrients.

However, clay soil is generally colder during the spring months, as its water retentive properties also mean that the water within has to warm up, as well, making the process go more slowly.

When this kind of soil gets dry, it becomes very heavy and during the summer, is known to clump up and be hard to work with.


Saline soil, much like its name suggests, has a high salt content. This makes it brackish in appearance.

Saline soil can be devastating to crops and plants, as it interrupts irrigation and stalls growth. Too much saline soil in any given area can easily lead to drought.


Peaty soil is high in water content and can be compacted easily. Once drained, this kind of soil becomes incredibly dry – so dry, inf act, that it can become a fire hazard in lightning storms.

Regardless, it can be a good growing medium. Its ability to withhold water makes it great for growing plants and flowers during dry months.

Peat, which is part of what is in peaty soil, is acidic but is often used by growers to regulate pH levels in their crops. It’s often used to ward of crop-related disease.

So, what kind of soil does your garden have? With any luck, you’ve learned something new about this crucial growing medium.

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