Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:28 pm
When choosing the right vegetable plants, it is crucial what kind of soil you have in your garden. The soil type also affects how often you need to water and fertilize in the summer. To determine the soil type of your garden, there are two crucial variables: particle size and humus content.
Particle size is a good indicator of whether your soil is more heavy or light. The larger the particles, the lighter. Light soils are easier for plants to root through. Therefore, they are especially good for growing root vegetables such as carrots or radishes. One disadvantage, however, is that water can seep away and evaporate more quickly. If you have a lot of fine clay particles in your soil, it is a heavier soil. It holds water longer, a big advantage in dry summers. Also, heavy soils are often more nutrient rich than sandy soils. You can find more information about heavy and light soils here.
To find out the particle size, put a handful of soil from your bed into a jam jar. Fill the rest of the jar with water, close it and shake vigorously until all the clumps of soil are dissolved. Then let it stand for one or two days. Now you should see two layers at the bottom of the jar. A coarse-grained, sandy layer at the bottom and a finer layer of clay particles on top. If the finer layer is significantly thicker than the sandy one, it is a rather heavy soil. In optimal garden soil, both layers are about the same thickness. If the sandy layer is thicker, the soil is classified as light.
The color of the soil provides information about the humus content of the soil. The blacker the soil is when moist, the higher the humus content. A high humus content means that the soil is rich in nutrients, has healthy soil life, and can also absorb and hold a lot of water. Dark, humus-rich soil is particularly suitable for growing plants that have high nutrient requirements. These so-called heavy feeders include, for example, various cabbage plants or tomatoes. If your soil is rather light brown in color, you should increase the proportion of organic matter in the soil. This can be done, for example, by mixing in mature compost. Here you can find detailed information about soil improvement.