4 Simple Tests to Help Determine the Quality of Your Gardening Soil

gardening suppliesAs gardening supplies go, soil is probably one of the most important. And with that in mind, you need to make sure you’re using quality soil for gardening. Now, soil for gardening doesn’t include fill dirt or crushed concrete, as those materials are simply used to build up mass in areas where there may be depressions or structural issues in your yard.

No, gardening soil is measured largely by two qualities: fertility and texture. If you’re ready to help your garden grow, here are a few simple tests you can perform to see if your garden soil stands up to the task.

Soil Structure
On a dry day, dig a hole in your garden that’s anywhere from six to 10 inches deep. Grab a handful of dirt from the hole and move it around in your hand. Are there different size aggregates that break apart with light pressure? If there are, you’re looking at well-aerated and porous soil, which means your plants will have plenty of access to the water and oxygen they need to grow.

Take a wire flag and gently push it into the ground until it starts to bend. The sooner it bends, the more compact your soil is. If your soil is too compact, nothing is going to grow!

The insect and animal life in your soil is incredibly important, especially if you want to foster plant growth. Dig a hole that’s four to six inches deep in your soil and simply observe what happens within for a few minutes. If you can identify multiple insects and other soil organisms, there’s a good chance your garden has a good base.

Water Infiltration
This one is really simple and doesn’t require any gardening supplies. Take an empty coffee can with the bottom removed and place it in a hole you’ve dug until just a few inches of the can remain above ground. Fill the coffee can with water and observe how long it takes the soil to absorb it. The faster the water absorbs, the looser your soil is.

Whether you’re landscaping or planting a vegetable garden, soil tops the list of important gardening supplies. If you perform these simple tests, you’re sure to find out how fertile your soil is in no time at all.