One of the biggest disappointments a new gardener can have is planting only to find the plants lack lustre and never do very well. No one wants to feel they’ve wasted their money or time.
Like everything in life you need a good foundation to start on. You would never build a house if you hadn’t made sure there was the correct footings, foundations and supports. And it’s the same for when you are about to build your garden and the soil you will use.
The ideal soil will be a mix of sand, clay and humus which we call loam..
Sand – this helps to make your soil crumbly but does not retain water
Clay – the clay holds the water, the particles are so fine that it binds together
Humus – this is made up of a good mix of decayed organic matter. The role of the humus is to supply bacteria which aerate the soil. It will help with soil texture an plant growth
With these three main ingredients we form the loam and this can be of different weight depending on the proportion of each ingredient. Aim for an equal portion of each ingredient.
Acid or Alkaline Soils
The next thing to think about is the amount of acid or alkaline present. Aim for between 6.5-7 pH for a really good soil.
There are some plants that flourish in an alkaline soil and the opposite is true too, some love an acidic soil.
What to do if your soil is too acidic?
You can add lime or dolomite. This will also help break down soils that have too much clay and are clumping or compacting together.