The best (and worst) characteristics of the soil and how to improve it


The characteristics of your floor is something that you can not choose, as it comes, touch. However, based on where we start, we can make some changes to slightly change its properties . We have the potential to change its drainage and physical properties, either by adding organic matter or mechanically plowing. We will identify your soil and improve it , if necessary.


Advantages: good drainage. Dry enough to work early in the season.

Disadvantages: it dries little in summer and accumulates very little humidity. It is difficult to grow.

Method to improve it: remove larger stones and edges from the surface. This does not mean that all rocks should be removed but only the largest ones. Add manure or compost in abundance and make a good fertilization and fertilization plan according to the crops to be planted.

The plow must always be shallow.


Advantages: easy to work floor. One of the best soils for shrubs.

Very fertile if lime is added (depending on pH) and it has good drainage.

Disadvantages: it is usually acidic and in most cases the pH has to be corrected. In addition, special attention will also be paid to drainage and may need to be improved.

Method to improve it: they usually have high levels of fertility so it is not necessary to apply compost or manure in the first years. Depending on the pH, it should be corrected with materials that increase the pH, such as lime.


Calcareous soil. Source: elbaranda

Advantages: very suitable soil for planting herbaceous plants, flowers and rockery gardens.

Disadvantages: in times of humidity, it is usually sticky and soft in consistency. You have to be especially careful with the pH, which can be excessively high.

Method to improve it: surface plowing and add enough organic matter to reach 1.5-2%. They tend to have great drainage and are therefore poor in nutrients. Take special care with the contribution of fertilizers.

It may be appropriate to add a layer of topsoil to reduce soil drainage and give the plants more moisture.


Advantages: very suitable for early crops, as it is easy to work even in wet conditions. It has good drainage and a not very dense texture.

Disadvantages: it is usually low in nutrients due to its high drainage. It usually dries very quickly and retains moisture for a short time. It is necessary to carry out frequent waterings. It suffers sudden changes in temperature, being able to be excessively cold at night.

Method to improve it: continuous supply of water and nutrients to the plants. It is necessary to apply a large amount of organic matter in the soil to increase the cation exchange capacity of the soil and the retention of moisture.


Advantages: it has a good structure, as it is a homogeneous mixture of clay soils (heavy) and sandy soils (light and highly drained). They have a good capacity to retain moisture and nutrients, without having problems with waterlogging.

Disadvantages: in winter and rainy weather, superficial scabs can form that are removed with a light plow.

Method to improve it: you just have to keep it that way. Make regular contributions of organic matter and control the pH so that there are no fluctuations. Remove surface scabs with light plowing in autumn.

Dense (clay) soils

Pros: It is a good nutrient and moisture pantry. They have a great capacity to store and exchange ions.

Disadvantages: it accumulates a lot at low temperatures and is not suitable for early crops.

If the humidity is high, it can lead to puddles and root suffocation.

Method to improve it: you may need an improvement in the drainage, if it is bad. You need deep plows to remove soil and increase drainage capacity. Apply organic matter periodically.

We have much more information regarding the characteristics of the soil. Here is a compilation of Gardenprue articles that can help you.

How to change soil pH

How to improve drainage

How to measure soil texture

How much organic matter has to be contributed?

Plowed soil and unplowed soil

Avoid sealing and crusting of the soil

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