What type of soil do I have?
Posted by Suttons Staff on 10 September 2013 12:01 pm

Clay Soils

Clay soils are also known as heavy soils. Clay has small particles, when it is wet the soil is very sticky and it will crack when dry. Clay soils hold a high proportion of water which drains slowly and as a result they are cold and slow to warm up in spring. The soil can be very fertile as it holds nutrients well. When the soil is very wet it is best to avoid walking on it, or carrying out any cultivations as it is easily compacted.

During autumn and early winter months dig the area leaving large clods of soil to expose as large a surface area as possible which will be broken down by frost. Organic materials, such as well-rotted manure or garden compost and leaf mould, may be incorporated to improve the soil.

In the spring, cultivation should be deferred until the surface soil has started to dry out, when it should break down more easily. Avoid sowing and planting too early unless the soil can be warmed up by covering the soil with cloches or a polythene sheet.

Sandy Soils

Sandy soils contain a large amount of sand and little clay or organic matter and are also known as light soils. Sandy soils are often acidic, very free draining, dry out quickly and are low in nutrients as they are quickly leached out of the soil by rain. They warm up quickly in spring and earlier sowing or planting than in clay soils.

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