|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
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
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
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
When ground is waterlogged plants can die because these spaces
fill up with water preventing air getting through - in other
words the plant drowns!