Types of soil
Sandy soils are free draining, with the largest, but fine and hard particles. It has a gritty feel. It does not bind very well. It is poor in holding water and easily warms up in the spring season. Sandy soils are very low in nutrients, as they are usually washed away. Its degree of aeration depends on the sizes of the particles, which vary a lot in size.
It is usually formed from the weathering or disintegration of bedrock such as shale, limestone, granite and quartz.
This kind is finer, smoother in texture and holds water better than sandy soils. It also holds up nutrients and makes it better for crop cultivation. Silty soils are heavier than sandy soils, and almost midway between the properties of sandy and clay soils.
It is formed when fine sediments (dust, organic matter and debris) are carried by water or ice and deposited. When silt is deposited and cemented with time, it forms siltstone. Silt particles are so small and not easily seen by the eyes. It leaves a bit of residue after you touch them.
The particles that make up clay are the finest and they bind very well. It has very little air spaces. Clay very sticky when wet, and can be molded into any shape and form. When they dry, they are rock hard. Clay soils do not drain very well. Clay is believed to form in places where the rock is in contact with water, air or steam. Example, sediments on sea or lake bottoms may become clay soils with time.
This soil is a mixture of sand, clay and silt particles and has the ability to retain water. It is high in calcium, aeration and ideal for most crops and vegetables. It is the soil all farmers dream of, as it is full of nutrients from decomposed organic material. It is soft and easy to cultivate.
Peaty soils are acidic and as a result, does not support decomposition very well. It is dark in color, rich in organic material, although contains less nutrients than loamy soils. It retains water very well.
Chalky soils are alkaline with a pH of about 7.5. It is not acidic and often stony with chalk or limestone bedrock. It is free draining because of its coarse and stony nature. Not the best for crops to grow in as they lack manganese and iron.