Everyday, we walk across various types of soil. I really never thought much about the composition of the soil. In my garden, I used top soil and manure in an attempt to balance the soil, but I had no understanding of clay, silt, sand or loam.

Loam is a rich soil composed of mostly sand and silt. The ideal soil is 40 percent sand, 40 percent silt, and 20 percent clay. You’ll hear this mixture referred to as loam, which takes the best from each soil particle type. This blend has above average water drainage and has room for air to permeate the soil like sand, but also retains moisture well and is high-yielding like silt and clay.
loam soil

My soil looked like a rocky gray mess.
rocky soil

After much tilling and some manure, the garden had a better appearance.

Unlike previous seasons, my soil will be tested. Certain soil is naturally fertile, while other soil may need a serious overhaul. Different soil types have various characteristics that define them. Being aware of the kind of soil you have will assist you in determining the specific strengths and weaknesses with which you will be dealing. While soil is composed of many elements, the place to begin is with your soil type. First, you have to take notice of the composition of the soil’s particles. Soil particles have three key players: clay, sand and silt.

Clay is essential to your soil. Naturally high in nutrients, clay soil retains moisture well and keeps your plants hydrated. Although, clay soil is dense and difficult to dig or till.
clay soil
Clay soil also gets a bad reputation due to a few of its characteristics. When wet, clay soil adheres to your shoes. Clay soil drains water slowly due to it having tiny particles and less space for air. Additionally, clay soil takes longer to warm up in the spring. If your clay soil dries out, it looks cracked and strange.
cracked clay

Unlike clay, sand has large particles, which creates much more space for air. With mores space available, sand drains water much faster than clay.
sandy soil
Since sand also warms up faster, the soil is ready for planting much earlier than clay. Sand does have a few drawbacks. First, it dries out the fastest come summer. Sand also isn’t very good at holding in essential nutrients.

Silt has average-sized particles and holds some water, but not too much. It holds a medium amount of nutrients, but not as many as clay.
silt soil mix
It warms up faster in the spring than clay, but not as abruptly as sand. A soil dominated by silt is just right.

Happy Gardening!!