UK gardens is usually a combination of these types of soil.
Sandy Soil has a gritty texture and is formed from weathered rock like limestone, quartz, granite, and shale.,it is easy to cultivate, but does not retain moisture or nutrients very well. Adding lots of organic matter helps and on the plus side sandy soil is easy to dig over. The easy solution is to grow plants that like sandy soil, like most herbs.
Plants that will grow in Sandy soil plants for sandy soil
Silty soil is very fertile soil, holding more nutrients than sandy soil holds moisture and drains well. It has a smooth dark texture and looks like dark sand.
When clay soils are wet they are very sticky, lumpy and pliable but
when they dry form rock-hard clots. They are hard to work and are also prone to water logging. Blue or grey clays have poor aeration and would need to be improved to grow most plants. Red clay soil has good
aeration and drains well but is still difficult to dig over. Because clay soil has high nutrient levels, its worth sorting out the garden drainage as most plants will grow well in it.
These plants thrive in clay plants to grow in clay
Loamy soils are a combination of sand, silt
and clay. Loamy soils are mostly easy to dig over very fertile and full of organic matter, they drain well,retain moisture and hold lots of nutrients, the
Peaty soil contains more organic material than other soils but
fewer nutrients and is prone to sogginess. You may need to add compost and sort out the drainage to get the best out of your
Chalky soils are alkaline and full of stones, dry out
quickly and lack trace elements such as iron and manganese causing poor growth and yellowing of leaves. Chalky soil is extremely poor quality and would need to be greatly improved
to grow most garden plants.
These plants will grow in chalky soil plants for chalky soil
A simple way of testing your garden soil is to take a small amount of wet soil in your hand and knead it into a smooth paste and then roll it about between your hands to form a ball.
Soil pH is a measure of the soil’s acidity or alkalinity. Alkaline soil has a pH of around 8.5 whilst the pH of neutral soil is 7. Knowing the pH of your soil will help in your choice of grasses
and wildflowers to sow or plant.
It is easy to test the pH of your soil using a simple soil pH meter, which is simply pushed into the soil, I have featured it top left.
Or for a more detailed pH test, use the kit that includes colour charts and tubes featured left.
A pH test measures soil acidity or alkalinity. A pH 7.0 is considered neutral. An acid soil has a pH value below 7.0. Above pH 7.0 the soil is alkaline.
It is costly to change the pH of your soil and doesn't work over the long term, instead try growing plants that will be happy in your type of soil.