West Carlston Garden Centre, Campsie Road, Torrance, Glasgow G64 4EZ, Tel: 01360 620248
 

Soil
Click on the following links for more detailed information on problem soils
and for lists of plants to grow in them

Loam
Plants, naturally enough, like to grow in perfect conditions. In practice this is rarely achieved.
The Soil may be poor, drainage poor, light levels low or any number of reasons.
Top quality soil is known as Loam.
Loam consists of a balance of the following 3 materials:

1. Sand particles
2. Clay particles
3. Humus
4. Air

Sand particles are large particles which when wet, cling together, but do not stick together.
If you have ever tried to throw a "sandball" on the beach you will know what I mean.
Sandy soil is simply soil with too much sand in it, relative to the clay and humus content.
You can restore the balance by adding clay or humus. It isn't practical to add clay so we usually add humus in the form of peat or farmyard manure.
Sandy soil drains well but it is light and can blow away in exposed places.

Clay particles on the other hand are very small and stick together and bind when wet, to form, not surprisingly.....Clay!
Clay soil is heavy and lumpy because of the particles sticking together.
Clay soil is simply soil with too much clay in it, relative to the sand and humus content.
You can restore the balance by adding sand, and/or humus in the form of peat or farmyard manure.
You will first need to break up the clay to enable proper mixing to take place.
Clay soil drains badly because of the particles sticking together and preventing the passage of water. Plants find it difficult to grow through such a heavy and hard medium.

Humus is simply decomposed organic matter.
In other words any matter that was once alive - decomposed dead plants and animals.
Humus helps to bind the clay and sand particles together loosely without them sticking together.
As humus decomposes all the materials within it are released into the soil for use by plants.

Air is essential for the roots to breathe and the the spaces created between the various particles provides airways. Digging the ground over before planting loosens up the soil providing air spaces.
When ground is waterlogged plants can die because these spaces fill up with water preventing air getting through - in other words the plant drowns!

Click on the links below for more detailed information on:
problem soils and for lists of plants to grow in them.




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