Fundamental information on soil quality
Just take a glance at the plants in your garden and you can see whether they are taking root in fertile loose soil or are finding it difficult to find enough water and nutrients. In order for them to flower and germinate, they must receive appropriate amounts of minerals, air, water and organic substances. Sandy soil, for example, is light and porous to water and is easy to work, but it stores no nutrients. Clayey soil, on the other hand, is heavy, lumpy, compacted, quickly flooded, and goes as hard as concrete in dry weather. So what is right for healthy growth, then? Ideal soil combines the advantages of sandy and loam soils, because it holds water and nutrients with its high proportion of humus, is porous to oxygen, and is easy to break up. You can determine the quality of the soil in your garden quickly and easily using the finger test: Simply moisten the soil and rub the sample between your fingers. If the soil runs through your fingers it is sandy soil. If you can knead the soil into a crumbly sausage shape, it is a loamy-sandy soil. Loamy soil makes a firm sausage shape. The best way to find out whether the soil in your garden is acidic or alkaline is to do a soil pH test.