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How do you work out what your soil is?

Is there a method to check what type of soil you have or is it just by sight/feel?


  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 10,307
    If you're in England then you can pop your postcode into this site and it will give you a general idea.
    Click on Search and enter your postcode
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Butterfly66Butterfly66 Posts: 885[email protected]=478.html

    Link shows how to test the composition, whether it’s more clay/sand etc. You can also buy ph testing kits to see how acid/alkaline your soil is but there so dimes a bit hit and miss
     If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”—Marcus Tullius Cicero
    East facing, top of a hill clay-loam, cultivated for centuries (7 years by me). Birmingham
  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 6,652
    For whether its clay or sandy it's feel really. Pick up a handful, squeeze it together. If it forms a tight ball and you can throw it hand to hand, heavy clay. If it forms a ball that holds but would break if you drop it, clay. If it loosely sticks but is crumbly, loam (lucky you), if it will not hold together, sandy. If you can't get a handful of it without the use of a mattock, probably chalk (or dry clay).

    For pH - acidic or alkaline - you need a testing kit (most garden centres sell them).
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 21,729
    You can buy soil testing kits in garden centres to test whether your soil is acid or alkaline. If it's clay it sticks together when you squeeze it in your hand. If it's sandy it drains well and crumbles apart, feeling slightly gritty when you squeeze it.
    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • Have a walk around your local area. Sometimes noting what's growing well can be an indicator of soil type. 
  • lister_lizardlister_lizard Posts: 20
    edited April 2021
    Really helpful thank you. 

    I think mine is mostly clay based on the above. 

    Although according to the website map thing it is chalky and has lime in it. 

    Maybe a mix of all of that. Now to work out what that means. 
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 8,865
    If you want to try something a bit more sciency (only a bit though!) have a look at my posts on this thread
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
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