How to Test Your Garden Soil at Home

If you want to grow a healthy garden or even have lush landscaping around your yard, you need to have fertile, rich soil. You can have your soil tested professionally but you can also perform a few simple tests yourself to know the condition of your soil and how to care for it. Specific challenges with soil can be addressed with changes to your gardening procedures and with the right treatment, but you first need to know more about the soil.

1. Test its density

The density of soil is usually classified as loamy, clay, or sandy. Sandy soil is loose and drains very quickly, which may prevent plants from retaining moisture. Clay soil is more dense and will hold water more easily; however, it can sometimes retain too much water. Loamy soil is typically considered the best for density and will keep plants hydrated but won't cause roots to become soggy.

To determine the density of soil, take a handful of soil and squeeze it in your hand and then open your hand and check it. If the soil holds its shape but then crumbles as you touch it, this is loamy soil that is very rich and healthy and which will drain well. If it immediately crumbles as you open your hand this is sandy soil and you may face a drainage problem down the road. If the soil holds its shape and doesn't crumble easily when you touch it, this is clay soil. This will hold water more readily so that you should adjust your watering schedule accordingly, to avoid root rot.

2. Check the drainage

If you cannot determine the density of the soil by squeezing it, you will want to manually check the drainage of your soil. To do this, dig a hole about a foot deep and six inches wide. Fill it with water and let it drain completely. Once it's drained, fill it with water again.

This time, note how long it takes for the soil to drain. If it takes more than four hours, you may have a drainage problem. You will need to adjust your watering schedule so you don't overwater your plants.

3. Look for worms and insects

Worms and insects mean that your soil is rich and healthy. Dig a hole a few feet deep and note if you see worms and insects in the hole. If so, your soil is ready for planting. If not, you may want to have it professionally tested to see what treatments your soil needs to support your plants.

For more information, contact a company like Wholesale Sleeper Co.