Garden affairs

What are the types of soil


Everyone knows that the success of growing different crops on the site depends on many factors, but the main role is still played by the quality of the land. From what kind of soil in the garden depends planting of certain crops that need to be fertilized and watered.

The main types of soil

Most gardeners and gardeners are faced with the following types of soil:

  • clayey
  • sandy
  • loamy,
  • sandy
  • calcareous,
  • swampy.

All these species have their own positive and negative characteristics, and therefore suitable for growing certain crops. Rarely they can be found in pure form, most often in combinations, but at the same time one of them prevails. If you study the properties of the land, it will be the key to an excellent harvest.

Clay soil

One can easily learn clayey soil, because in time of digging it has a coarse-dense structure, in the rain such soil strongly adheres to the legs, which means it does not absorb water well. If you take the wet earth in your hands and make a long sausage, then it will be possible to fold it in different directions, and it will not crumble or crack.

If density is taken into account, clayey soil is heavy, so it warms up for a long time, has poor ventilation and low water absorption. It is best not to grow crops on it, otherwise it will bring many problems. But if it is properly cultivated, then it can become fertile.

Sand, ash, peat and lime are suitable for enrichment. But in what proportions to make additives depends on the performance of clay soil. Despite this, trees and various shrubs with a strong root system are able to settle down on it. You can also plant potatoes and beets, these crops are also able to yield on such land, if you use the rules of agricultural engineering.

Sandy soil

This type is considered easy because it is loose and flowing, which means it easily passes water through it. From such a land it is impossible to make even a lump, it will immediately crumble. Sandy soil has its pros and cons. One of the advantages is that the earth heats up quickly and is well ventilated, while it is easy to handle. But now it cools quickly and tends to dry out.

In addition, it is unable to keep fertilizer on the roots of a plant for a long time, therefore it is considered too poor for the presence of trace elements and unsuitable for growing crops.

If compacting substances are added to such a land, then it will change its properties, and it will be possible to grow carrots, currants, onions, strawberries and fruit trees on it. But, for example, cabbage, potatoes, beets, peas will not be able to successfully grow on sandy ground.

Sandy soil

This is another light land in its composition, and it has similarities with sand, but there is a small percentage of clay compounds in its composition, so it has the best holding capacity. This type of land heats up quickly and retains heat for longer, passes little moisture and therefore dries out slowly, and is also easily processed.

On such a structure, many cultures are capable of growing, using the right methods of agricultural engineering. This type is considered an excellent option for gardens and orchards, it is recommended to constantly bring organic.

Loamy soil

This species is considered the most suitable for growing various crops. The advantages of loamy land are as follows:

  • easy to process,
  • incorporates many nutrients
  • has high water permeability,
  • can keep moisture for a long time and distribute it correctly,
  • retains heat well

Due to its properties, such land should not be improved; you just need to maintain its fertile ability, namely, to mulch, to fertilize with manure in the fall, and if necessary, to feed crops with mineral fertilizers. You can grow anything on it.

This land has good fertility. It contains a high level of humus, well retains and absorbs water and air, and contains a large percentage of calcium. Suitable for growing any crops, but tends to quickly deplete. Therefore, every 2–3 years, special fertilizers should be applied to the chernozem, and green manure should be sown.

There are two more difficult types of soil found on garden plots. Consider more.

Calcareous soil

This type of soil is considered the poorest. Differs in appearance: brown color and a lot of stones in the composition, an alkaline environment prevails and at a high temperature it heats up quickly and dries out. If you grow plants on it, then they quickly turn yellow leaves, and they are not able to grow to the required level.


  • low acidity
  • poor nutrient composition
  • rockiness and drying.

To improve the structure of the land, it is necessary to introduce organic fertilizer into it, then you can grow different crops. At the same time be sure to follow the drying, watering and fertilizing in time. You should not plant a tomato, carrots, potatoes, radishes, pumpkins and cucumbers, and if there is no choice, then it needs to be acidified with fertilizers.

Marshy soil

This type can also be found in garden plots., but it is difficult to name fertile. The earth absorbs water quickly, but also quickly disposes of it, has high acidity and does not warm well. At the same time, it retains fertilizer and can be cultivated.

To grow crops on swampy land, it is necessary to add sand to it, and at the same time it is necessary to dig it deep. If you have to grow a garden, then when digging holes make sand and fertilizer directly into them.

Thus, if you know all the principles of rational and organic farming and use them in practice, you can increase the quality of any kind of soil and grow all kinds of crops on them.


Externally similar to clay, but with the best characteristics for agriculture. Loam, if you want to visualize what it is, is the ground, which can also be rolled up in a damp state in a sausage and bent into a ring. A sample of loamy soil keeps its shape, but cracks. The color of loam depends on impurities and can be black, gray, brown, red and yellow.

Due to the neutral acidity, balanced composition (clay - 10-30%, sand and other impurities - 60-90%), the loam is quite fertile and universal, suitable for growing almost all crops. The soil structure is distinguished by a fine-grained structure, which allows it to remain loose, to pass air well. Due to the admixture of clay loam long holds water.

To maintain the fertility of loams perform:

  • mulching,
  • fertilizing crops with fertilizers,
  • introduction of manure for autumn digging.

Light, loose, flowing sandy soil contains a high percentage of sand, does not retain moisture and nutrients.

The positive properties of sandstones include high breathability and rapid warming. On this ground grow well:

Sanding can be cultivated by making viscosity-enhancing additives:

  • peat,
  • humus,
  • drilling and clay flour.

To save resources, there is another method of organizing the beds - a clay castle.

In place of the beds, a layer of clay of 5-6 cm is poured, on top of which a layer of fertile earth is applied - loam, black soil, sandy loam soil, in which plants are sown. A layer of clay will hold moisture and nutrients. If there is no fertile land for spilling the beds, it can be replaced with improved sandstone mixed with additives for viscosity and fertility.


To determine this type of soil, we also try to make a bagel from the damp earth. Sandy soil rolls into a ball, but it does not work out to roll into a bar. The sand content in it is up to 90%, clay up to 20%. Another example of what are the soils that do not require costly and long reclaiming. The substrate is lightweight, warms up quickly, retains heat well, moisture and organic matter, is fairly easy to process.

It is necessary to choose zoned plant varieties for planting and to maintain fertility:

  • dosed application of mineral and organic fertilizers,
  • mulching and green manure.


Soils of this species can be light and heavy, their disadvantages are:

  • poverty is low in nutrients
  • low acidity
  • rockiness
  • quick drying
Improve this soil:

  • potash fertilizer
  • ammonium sulphate and urea enrichment to increase acidity,
  • mulching
  • green manure
  • application of organic fertilizers.
To retain moisture, calcareous soils need to be loosened regularly.

These soils have high acidity, slightly warm, can become swampy.

At the same time, they are quite easy to cultivate. Improve the physical and chemical properties of peat or marshy soil allows the introduction of:

  • sand, clay flour - for the prevention of their lowering into the ground the area is deeply dug up,
  • organic fertilizer - compost, slurry,
  • microbiological additives - to accelerate the decomposition of organic matter,
  • potassium phosphate fertilizers.
Planting of garden trees produced in the pit with a loam or other fertile soil.

Currant, gooseberry, mountain ash, and strawberry yield high yields on peat soils.

They are considered reference for their properties soils. Possess steady lumpy-grainy structure. Long retain moisture. Very fertile, contain a lot of humus and minerals, but require proper use:

  • to prevent their depletion, fertilizers and siderates are applied,
  • To reduce the density of the soil, peat and sand are added,
  • to correct the acid-base balance make the appropriate mineral supplements.

Calcareous soil

Calcareous soil is classified as poor soil. Usually it has a light brown color, a large number of stony inclusions, is characterized by an alkaline environment, at high temperatures it heats up quickly and dries out, gives iron and manganese to plants poorly, can have a heavy or light composition. In crops grown on such a soil, foliage turns yellow and unsatisfactory growth is observed.

Lime soil. © midhants

In order to improve the structure and improve the fertility of calcareous soils, it is necessary to regularly apply organic fertilizers, not only under the main treatment, but also in the form of mulch, to sow green manure, to apply potash fertilizers.

To grow on this type of soil, everything is possible, but with frequent loosening of the spacing, timely watering and well thought-out use of mineral and organic fertilizers. They will suffer from weak acidity: potatoes, tomatoes, sorrel, carrots, pumpkin, radish, cucumbers and salads, so you need to feed them with fertilizers that tend to acidify, and not alkalize the soil (for example, ammonium sulfate, urea).

Marshy soil

Marshy or peaty soils are also used for the breakdown of garden plots. However, it is quite difficult to call them good for growing crops: the nutrients contained in them are poorly available for plants, they absorb water quickly, but they also give up quickly, do not warm up well, and often have a high acidity index. On the other hand, such soils well retain mineral fertilizers and are easy to cultivate.

Peaty mid-decayed horizon of sod-podzolic soil. © own work

To improve the fertility of marshy soils, it is necessary to saturate the earth with sand (for this purpose it is necessary to carry out deep digging so as to lift sand from the lower layers) or clay flour, to apply abundant liming on particularly acidic variants, to take care of the increase in the land of beneficial microorganisms liquid, compost, do not bypass microbiological additives), do not forget about potash-phosphate fertilizers.

If you lay the garden on peat soils, then it is better to plant trees either in the pits, with the soil individually laid under the culture, or in the mound hills, from 0.5 to 1 m in height.

Under the garden, carefully cultivate the land, or, as in the version with sandy soils, lay a clay layer and fill it with loam, organic fertilizers and lime mixed with peat. But if you grow only gooseberries, currants, chokeberry and garden strawberries, you can not do anything - just water and weed, as these crops on these soils work out without cultivation.

And, of course, speaking of the soil, it is difficult not to mention the black soil. On our summer cottages they are not so often, but they deserve special attention.

Chernozem. © carlfbagge

Chernozems are soils of high potential fertility. A stable granular-lumpy structure, a high content of humus, a large percentage of calcium, good water-absorbing and water-holding abilities allow us to recommend them as the best option for growing crops. However, like any other soils, they tend to be depleted from constant use, therefore, already 2 to 3 years after their development, it is recommended to apply organic fertilizers to the beds, plant green manure.

In addition, black soil is difficult to call light soils, on the basis of this, they are often loosened by the introduction of sand or peat. They can also be acidic, neutral and alkaline, which also requires its own adjustment.

Chernozem. © Axel Hindemith

To understand that before you really black soil you need to take a guest of the earth and squeeze it in your palm, you should have a black oily imprint on your hand.

Some people confuse black soil with peat - here, too, there is a method for testing: you need to squeeze a wet lump of soil in your hand and put it in the sun - the peat will dry instantly, and black soil will keep moisture for a long time.

Brown soil

Brown forest soils are formed on variegated and red-colored crushed-stone loamy, proluvial, alluvial and alluvial-diluvial rocks of the plains, located in the foothills under deciduous, beech-hornbeam, oak-ash, beech-oak and oak forests. In the eastern part of Russia, they are located on foothill and intermontane plains and are located on clayey, loamy, alluvial and eluvial-diluvial bases. They often grow mixed, spruce, cedar, fir, maple and oak forests.

The process of formation of brown forest soils is accompanied by the emergence from the strata of the soil profile of the products of soil formation and weathering. They usually have a mineral, organic and organo-mineral structure. For the formation of the soil of the specified type of particular importance is the so-called waste (fallen parts of plants), which is the source of ash components.

The following horizons can be identified:

  • Forest litter (thickness from 0.5 to 5 cm).
  • Coarse humus.
  • Humus (up to 20 cm thick).
  • Transitional (thickness from 25 to 50 cm).
  • Maternal.

The basic characteristics and composition of brown forest soils vary considerably from one horizon to another. In general, these are soils saturated with humus, the content of which reaches 16%. Fulvic acids occupy a significant part of its constituents. Soils of the type presented are acidic or slightly acidic. There are often processes of glistening in them. Sometimes the upper horizons are depleted in silt components.

In agriculture, brown forest soils are traditionally used for the cultivation of vegetable, grain, fruit and industrial crops.

To determine what type of soil prevails on your site, it is best to contact an expert. They will help you to find out not only the type of soil according to the content of mineral substances, but also the presence of phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and other useful trace elements in it.

Soil types

The territory of Russia is quite diverse and the soil composition may also vary. When there is a question about introducing green manure to process and improve gardening, selection of garden crops, to obtain high-quality and rich harvest, to divide the territory of the site into landing zones and fertilizers and other works to improve the quality of the soil, it is necessary first to study the characteristics of the soil on the site. Such knowledge makes it possible not only to avoid many difficulties with growing plants, but also to qualitatively increase crop yields and protect your garden from typical garden diseases and pests.

Clay soil

This species is very easy to identify. So, when during the spring preparatory work, the soil is dug up, the clods are large, when wetted they stick and a long cylinder that does not crumble when bent can be easily rolled up from the ground. This type of soil has a very dense structure with poor air ventilation. Water saturation and warming up of the ground is bad, and therefore planting and cultivating naughty garden crops on clay soils is quite problematic.
But in gardening this type of soil can be the basis for a good harvest, if you resort to tillage at the site. Для окультуривания глинистых почв редко используют внесение сидератов, чтобы облегчить плотную структуру их обогащают песчаными, торфяными, золистыми и известковыми добавками. Точный расчет количества различных добавок можно составить, только проведя лабораторное исследование грунтов с участка.But to improve their fertility, it is better to use the averaged data. So, for the enrichment of a square meter of land it is necessary to add about 40 kg of sand, 300 grams of lime and a bucket of peat and ash. From organic fertilizers it is better to use horse manure. And with the possibility of using sideratov can sow rye, mustard and a little oats.

Recommendations for growing plants

For each type of soil, professional agronomists have developed special techniques and methods that ensure the optimal survival of new plants and the full growth of existing ones.

To increase the level of yield, you can use the following simple recommendations.

For clay soils Recommended:
- high position of beds,
- sow seeds better to a shallower depth,
- seedlings are planted under the slope for optimal heating of the root system,
- after planting, it is necessary to regularly loosen and mulch,
- In the autumn, after harvesting it is necessary to dig the ground.

For sandstones there is a technology when a foundation of clay, about 5 cm thick, is created on sandy ground. On this basis, a bed is created from imported fertile soil and plants are planted on it.

Determine the mechanical composition of the soil - a test with water

The main types of soil: light (sandy and sandy), moderate (loamy), heavy (clay). Determination of the mechanical composition is carried out using a familiar test for many. Moisten a handful of soil with water, trying to get a thick pasty mass by consistency. Now, take the dipped lump in your hands and try to twist the “sausage” out of it and make a ring. The result of the experiment will tell you what type of soil you are holding. If the soil coagulates well and forms a tight ring, then the ground is heavy.

Determine the type of soil

If it folds well, however, when twisting into a ring it forms cracks, it is referred to as medium type. And if it crumbles in the hands and it is impossible to make even a thin rope, it means that the earth is light. These types of soil are water and breathable, different density and moisture capacity. Each of them is adapted for growing different cultivated plants, with an individual approach to the care and feeding.

Clay and loamy soil - two opposites

Those who have had to deal with this type, probably know that it has a high viscosity and, in the literal sense, is difficult not only for growing, but also for processing. The tendency to sticking together and the density make it difficult to work with the ground. It forms large lumps and seals that are hard to grind. This is reflected in air permeability, which limits the supply of the necessary amount of oxygen to the root system and microorganisms present in the soil. As a result, the process of decomposition of organic substances into decomposition products slows down, the plant suffers a shortage of organic fertilizers and other nutrients it needs.

The next important factor is water permeability. Soils with a heavy structure hardly pass moisture. However, having absorbed a sufficient amount of liquid, they are able to hold it in the root layer for a long time. As a result, the formation of long stagnation and low availability of moisture to the lower layers of the soil lead to rotting of the root system and gradual wilting of the plant. Clay soils present a particular triple hazard during precipitation, which after drying forms a solid crust of the earth, also called “concrete soil”. Such a dense layer prevents the penetration of sunlight, air and moisture, completely interfering with the life of the plant. Increase fertility is possible through the introduction of biologically active and nutrient medium.

Among the most affordable funds can be distinguished compost and manure, which is in stock for each gardener. It is also necessary to ensure good friability. In this case, you will help lightening components such as lime, ash, coarse sand and peat.

The loamy type is perhaps the most favorable type of soil for growing crops. It occupies an intermediate place between clay and sandy soil, having the main advantages of both and eliminating their disadvantages, it maintains the balance of the necessary quality characteristics necessary for the cultivation of a wide variety of plants. Unlike the previous type, such land is easy to process. It has a granular lumpiness, which allows it not to form coarse dense lumps and clot.

Due to good water and air permeability, uniform heating, maintaining a constant temperature and balanced moisture, this soil is rich in all necessary minerals that are constantly replenished with organic matter, for which all necessary conditions have been created for biological life. To support the fertility of loamy soils, it is recommended to apply organic fertilizer (manure or compost). However, this rule applies to all types of land.

Light soil and poor soil types - structure and treatment

Many gardeners consider these types of soil favorable in all respects for the cultivation of cultivated plants. Possessing high water and air permeability, they well absorb and retain moisture, binding, thus, the necessary minerals and nutrients, preventing them from leaching from the ground. The light structure provides ventilation and free access of oxygen, creating favorable conditions for biological life and the development of a strong root system.

Light soil on the plot

Sandy soils warm quickly, without forming a crust after moisture. This allows them to respond to changing climatic conditions and temperature extremes. In order to reduce the flowability and to ensure a better setting of solid particles of sandy soil, it is necessary to add peat to it. And to improve fertility, we use organic fertilizers we know, resorting in rare cases to small portions of mineral supplements.

The poor soil is limestone and swampy. Let's start with limestone soil, which is rightly considered to be one of the most complex types in terms of quality characteristics and yield. It has a light brown tint, the advantage is an alkaline medium, it heats up quickly and dries out, almost without retaining moisture. As a result, the plant does not receive the required amount of iron and manganese, because of which its leaves turn yellow, and growth slows down.

Regular fertilization with organic matter, potash compounds, as well as mulching helps to improve the fertility of limestone soils. Remember, it is possible to grow all cultivated plants on such land, but subject to constant loosening, watering and feeding. In particular, pay great attention to the care of potatoes, tomatoes, sorrel, radish, pumpkin, carrots, salads and cucumbers. On such a land, they will experience a lack of acidity, so in the case of growing such crops acidify the soil with urea or ammonium sulfate.

Poor swampy soil

The next type of soil to which one would like to pay special attention is marshy or peaty. It is also a rather poor ground that does not have enough nutrients. It absorbs moisture quickly and gives it away at the same rate, due to which it is poorly heated and has an increased level of acidity, which many cultivated plants do not perceive. There are many ways to improve the fertility of wetland soils, but the most popular is to mix the earth with sand or clay flour. Moreover, in order to achieve a good result in this matter, it is necessary to make deep excavations.

It is recommended to conduct liming on particularly acidic soils, and also not to forget to apply slurry, compost, microbiological additives and potash-phosphorus fertilizers. However, if you are going to grow gooseberry berries, black chokeberry, blueberry, currant, blueberry that loves an acidic environment on swampy soil, the previous points on fertility increase can be neglected. The only necessary condition is to water such shrubs in time and remove weeds.

Chernozem - the standard of land for each gardener

Every schoolboy knows that black soil is a type of high-yielding dark-colored soil with a great potential for fertility. Of course, in the backyard conditions such “treasure” is rarely seen, however, if you are the owner of just such a ground, you will be lucky. According to their qualitative characteristics, chernozems have a stable granular-lumpy structure, with a high content of humus - humus, and calcium. Their moisture and water permeability is excellent, which is beyond doubt.

The best soil type is black soil

However, like other types of soil, such a fertile land has properties to deplete over the years. Therefore, every 2-3 years you should not forget to apply organic fertilizer to the ground and sow green manure (green fertilizer). Inexperienced gardeners can often confuse genuine black soil with peat. There are still differences between these two substrates. To find them, squeeze a handful of earth firmly in your palm, you should have a greasy black mark on your hand, indicating a high level of fertility. And for greater certainty, dampen a lump of earth and place it in the sun. If it dries instantly, then this is peat. This black soil will dry slowly, due to its high moisture resistance.

How to determine the acidity of the soil?

An important factor for the development of different types of plant crops is the acid reaction of the soil. In order to make it clearer, the experts conditionally divided the plants according to their belonging to the earth with the most favorable level of acidity for them:

  • Group I - neutral or slightly alkaline soil (pH ≥ 6.0),
  • Group II - neutral or slightly acidic soil (pH = 5.6-6.0),
  • Group III - slightly acidic soil (pH = 5.1-5.5),
  • Group IV - acidic soil (pH 4.0-4.5).

Determination of soil acidity

There are many crops that adapt to the acidity of the soil on which they grow. However, in most cases, the violation of the desired soil reaction can lead to the development of the disease, slow growth and even death of the plant. Therefore, it is best to reinsure yourself and determine the level of acidity of your soil. At home for this test, take 2 tbsp. l land and pour them into a plastic bottle, then fill it with 5 tbsp. l warm water, best distilled, and then add to the resulting solution 1 tsp. crushed chalk.

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Then put the bottle cap on the neck of the bottle and now shake it well. Next, watch the fingertip. If it starts to rise well, it means that the soil is acidic, if it rises poorly - the soil is semi-acidic, there is no reaction - neutral. Approximate estimates can be made for plants that take root well on the soil. Sour soil loves sorrel, moss, sedge and conifers, neutral - clover, coltsfoot and nettle, slightly alkaline - field mustard and quinoa.