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Understanding the different types of soil is essential if you want to create the perfect garden. This is because each variety of plant requires a different type of soil in order to thrive and reward you with lush foliage and dazzling flowers. Some plants are more hardy and can withstand various soil conditions whilst other plants are very fussy about their needs.
If you have acid soil but want to grow lime-loving plants, you can simply add lime to it. If on the other hand if you have lime soil and want to grow acid-loving plants such as azaleas, then this is most likely impossible if you have chalk or limestone rocks beneath. In such circumstances you will need to build a raised bed.
Many people will tell you that acid soil is best, however if you have chalk or alkaline soil then you can still grow plenty of different plants as long as you know what to look for. Amongst the best choices are birch, hawthorn, clematis, buddleia, lilac, roses, bamboo, magnolia and honesty.
Clay soil definitely has it’s plus and minus points. In it’s favour, clay can hold nutrients and water for longer. The major problems, however, are that in a drought it becomes too dry and hard to work with, and during a wet spell it becomes too wet to work with. Plants that can be grown include daffodils, elder and roses. Whatever you do, do not mix sand into clay unless you want concrete!
Sandy soil is great for gardeners because most plants thrive and it is easy to dig. The only draw-back is that water and fertilizer drains through very quickly so to help avoid this problem, dig in some compost or manure.
There are a number of ways to find out what type of soil is in your garden. If you want to find out right now, have a look at the plants that are growing in your neighbours’ gardens and then find out what sort of soil those plants grow in. If you are still unsure, you should buy a soil-testing kit from a garden supply shop.
Article By George Kerr.
George Kerr is a keen garden and DIY enthusiast who writes for the website – Finer Living, which has further reading on garden soil, bark mulch and other garden related things.