Checking Your Soil Texture Before Planting Time

Before spring planting arrives it’s a good idea to check your garden soil texture. Your results will help you decide what type of amendments will be needed for ideal soil composite conditions.

Soil texture is determined by the size and type of mineral particles it contains. Particles are divided into three categories: sand, silt and clay. Sand has the largest particles and clay the smallest particles. Too much sand and there will be a lack of needed nutrients and water run-off. Too much clay and plants will drown due to lack of water absorbtion and lack of oxygen in the soil. The best, most desired soil is a loamy soil that has a mixture of all three particles. It’s texture is loose, holds moisture and is rich in organic matter.

Easy no-cost method to test your soil texture in your garden or raised garden beds.

 1. Wait for a couple of warm days; enough to thaw the soil.

 2. Dig a trowels depth of soil and place it into a clear jar (peanut butter or canning jar will do).

3. Do this in three different locations and place soil in separate clear jars .

4. Fill each jar with water and cap tightly.

5. Shake jars for 30 seconds and place out-of-the-way where the jars will not be disturbed.

6. Wait two days until the water appears clear.

7. Review soil texture results.

After examining your layered soil component results you will know which soil amendments are needed for the proper soil texture balance. You will want to add the needed components to your soil prior to spring planting.

A well-balanced soil texture will reduce your watering needs, grow healthier plants and increase your harvest.


The soil texture results were perfect for our hugelkultur raised beds.  A slightly, sandy – loamy organic mix is needed for drainage, allowing for moisture retention and organic breakdown in the decaying wood that lies below.






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