Plant World

Soil, Gardening, and Farming

What are the different types of soil?

Soil is the weathered outer layer of Earth’s crust. It is a mixture of tiny rock fragments and organic matter. There are three broad categories of soils: clay, sandy, and loam. Clay soils are heavy with the particles sticking close together. Most plants have a hard time absorbing the nutrients in clay soil, and the soil tends to become waterlogged. Clay soils can be good for a few deep-rooted plants, such as mint, peas, and broad beans.

Sandy soils are light and have particles that do not stick together. Sandy soil is good for many alpine and arid plants, some herbs such as tarragon and thyme, and vegetables such as onions, carrots, and tomatoes.

Loam soils are a well-balanced mix of smaller and larger particles. They provide nutrients to plant roots easily, they drain well, and loam also retains water very well.


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