Whether a professional farmer or a leisurely gardener, knowing the land is an important part of the growing process. There are many different types of dirt, and each has its own purpose in the growing process. Therefore, knowing each kind, the process it assists with, and the type you should use with a project is super important!
Understanding The Four Types of Dirt
There are four types of “dirt” that are recognized:
Dust is a powdery collection of particles that come from organic or mineral matter. This is the stuff that tends to collect on furniture made of wood (an organic matter). Filth is exactly what is sounds like; it is foul excrement, while grime is ingrained in dust (like soot, the stuff that comes out of the chimney). Finally, there is soil, which is what you will most likely find in the ground during your digging, planting and/or gardening. There are actually a variety of soil types, all of which have different roles.
“Soil” is a rather broad, vague term that refers to the loose layer of earth (not the bedrock). It is made over hundreds of years by breaking up the bedrock and rocks with air and water. Soil is one of the most important factors of consideration in growing plants and produce. The ones that a gardener or farmer should know are rather extensive. A small list of those types and their roles are explained below.
Clay Soil: this type of soil has little to no air inside of it. Because of this, it is the densest type of soil and can therefore hold and retain large amounts of water and nutrients, while also making it difficult for other moisture and air to penetrate it. It is best used in the autumn and spring when the temperatures are not intense enough to freeze or melt the clay. During the months with intense weather, simply cover the clay with as much compost as possible, which will protect the clay.
Silty Soil: this type of soil is smooth and retains plenty of water (think of the sad on the beach). However, despite the fact that it can hold water and nutrients, it lacks native nutrients when compared to other types of soils. This type of soil is only ideal for agricultural use as the particles are rather tiny and benefit agriculture more efficiently.
Loamy Soil: this is one of the most balanced types of soil because it contains a great mix of clay, sand, silt, and even some humus. It retains nutrients very well and is able to support most produce and crops, with a good balance of additives.
Sandy Soil: these are the worst types of soil. It is dry, and does not allow roots to establish. It does not retain water, and therefore, supports little to no life.
Peaty Soil: this soil is typically a dark brown, sometimes black. It is one of the best soils to grow in, as it has a lot of organic material and is capable of holding a lot of water. Before planting, the soil might need to be drained due to its high water content.
Note: this soil is known to be rather acidic, but its pH levels can be maintained by mixing it with other, low acidic soils.
Chalky Soil: this is a kind of soil found in limestone beds that have chalk deposits. It is not ideal for growing plants, as it is rather hard to manipulate, as well as grow anything in, due to its dryness. Planting in this type of soil can cause crops to turn yellow, due to the high acidic levels.
Learn More About Dirt
All in all, it is important to know the dirt. Without knowledge of the earth that you will be working with, planting and growing will become a bigger hassle than it actually needs to be. The goal is to know the type of crop or plant that you want to grow, and then look for a soil that can best accommodate that type of plant’s biological chemistry and needs. It is best to discuss the potential types of soil with professionals, and get their opinion on what would be the best choice for you and your crops or garden. Overall, dirt is what helps keep the earth and gardens balanced. Know the dirt and know how to treat it, and it will repay you! To learn more about dirt or schedule a dirt delivery, contact Dirt Connections.