Tuesday, March 3, 2015

What's your soil type?

What’s your soil type? Here’s as simple test you can do to find out.
You’ll need a clear jar with a lid, a trowel, a scoop full of dirt from your garden and some dishwasher soap.
Dig enough soil to fill your jar about 1/3rd full.
Add 1 tablespoon of liquid dishwasher soap, then fill the jar about 3/4s full with water.
The foam at the top is soap suds. Put the lid on and shake vigorously to mix the ingredients. Set the jar aside and let it settle.
After a few hours, you’ll notice the heavier material will settle first, mainly rock and sand. The 2nd layer will show you how much silt is in the soil. The 3rd layer is clay and clay suspended in water. The 4th layer – if there is one is the organic material present in your soil.
Do the test in several areas of your garden. Here is another sample test jar. In this case we see sand, silt, clay and very little organic material. Once you know what you’re soil type is, you can use any number of soil amendments to improve your soil including peat moss, coir, compost, aged manure, yard waste (as long as you don’t use weed controls on your lawn), bagged amendments which combine sheep manure, peat and compost  and worm casings.


  1. This is a cool idea, thank you for demonstrating it. Can you comment on what proportion of the sample would be organic in an ideal mix? Thank you!

  2. Growing up we had a slopped back yard. We leveled it off using a retaining wall and some fill dirt. Once that was done, our mom set about creating her backyard garden paradise. We had to use top soil over the fill dirt; because, like you said, it's important to have good soil composition for your plants. Thanks for the tips on figuring out what kind of soil you have. http://bestbuymulch.com/materials-and-pricing/soils-dirts-and-sands/fill-dirt/