What kind of soil do I have in my garden?

Almost every time in Gardenprue we treat a crop and offer recommendations, we mention the type of soil that best suits the crop, but now perhaps we can ask ourselves the following question: What if I don’t know what type of soil I have?

Well, in that case we are going to give a series of non-scientific ways to try to recognize the type of soil. Completely rudimentary methods but that can get us out of a hurry.



The first rule that every gardener should know is the following: your plants adapt to the type of soil and not the other way around.

The structure changes according to the environment in which we find ourselves and like humans, plants also have their preferences.

If we know what type of soil our garden houses, we can adapt the plants and achieve the maximum development of them.

That is good, but on the other hand we are not going to say that you stop growing plants with less preferences to the soil you have, because nothing serious will happen either.


The soil can have different characteristics, even in your garden. In other words, the structure of the soil may vary and yet it is not necessary to travel a great distance from one point to another.

That you know for sure the kind of soil that your garden has is only guaranteed when laboratory tests or with a test equipment are carried out, but there are also some tricks to know where the shots go, and we want to show you them.


The conditions to observe the structure of the soil is usually done with humidity. Select a sample of the medium you want and moisten it (but not soak).

From here, depending on the results you obtain, the sample will be made up of one component or another, or a mixture of several. Let’s take a look:

  • Squeeze and release the sample, and if it holds its shape after squeezing it, it has clay . The more moldable and smooth the sample, the higher the clay content .
  • Squeeze and release the sample. If there are remains on your palm of the hand and even stain, it is that there is a granulometry between clay and sand, and it can be a type of silty soil (intermediate soil)
  • If the sample completely crumbles and falls between the fingers, the soil contains mostly sand content .
As is logical, the largest particles will be, due to their weight, those that fall to the bottom of the container the fastest.
On the contrary, clay-containing particles, due to their size, will spend a much longer time floating on the water .
When the particles in suspension are deposited, it is easy to check which component is in greater quantity than another
  • Clays: size <0.002 mm
  • Films: size between 0.002-0.06 mm
  • Sands: size between 0.06-2 mm
  • Gravels : size between 2-60 mm
  • Rolled edges : size between 60-250 mm
  • Blocks: size> 250 mm


This time instead of staining our hands we are going to use a container or jar. We introduce the soil sample that we want to “analyze” and add water to exceed half the bottle.

The water-soil quantity ratio is not so influential and a measurement can be 2 parts of water per 1 of soil. Cover the container, shake vigorously, and let the mixture sit for a while (until you can see the components of the mixture separated).

From here you can perform the following analysis:

  • Organic material floats. Observe the quantity and compare it with other parts of your garden. If there are hardly any floating materials, your soil is deficient in organic matter and you have to  add compost .
  • Sand particles can be seen at the bottom of the container. A high content declares a sandy soil type  .
  • The smallest particles (silt or clays) stay on top, just below the floating organic matter. A high content of these compounds to the detriment of a sandy bottom of the jar declares a clay or silty soil.

Different layers that are formed in the container according to the structure of the soil

These little tricks that we have taught you are at the user level and to know more or less which compound is the most abundant in your garden and which plants are best for them.

At the moment in which our soil presents problems ( drainage , waterlogging, etc.) we can do an exhaustive analysis with instrumental equipment or use some tips to improve the soil that we will discuss in Gardenprue.

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