Gardening expert shares hack for knowing your garden’s soil type – and how to improve it

B&Q offer tips on preparing and improving garden soil

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Gardening magazine journalist Adam Pasco has shared his tips on how to determine your garden’s soil type. In a YouTube video for B&Q in 2015, Adam shared a step-by-step video showing how to identify and improve your soil. Knowing your garden’s soil type can help you figure out how well certain plants will grow and flower.

Adam said: “Something all gardens have in common is they’ve got soil.

“But the soil can vary massively from one area of the country to another to one garden to another.

“It’s important to get to know it because by understanding what your soil is like, you can choose plants which are really going to flourish in your garden which are going to succeed well.

“Now, soil itself contains a number of things.

“It’s got masses of microorganisms in there, it’s got nutrition which is going to re-feed the plants.

“It’s going to lock in moisture because this is where plants are going to get their warm water from.”

The gardening expert said to try and determine what soil you have, you just need to grab a handful of it.

He continued: “When you take a handful and squeeze it together, if it breaks up and crumbles like this, you know it’s got a lot of sand or silt in it.

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“If you take a handful and squeeze it and it sticks together, it’s probably got more clay in it.”

To make clay soils more free-draining, Adam recommended adding materials like sand and grit.

He added: “Clay soils stay wetter and more water logged and if you want to make them more free-draining, we can dig in some gravel or some grit and sand.

“If your soil is very free draining like this, we want to make sure it’s going to lock in more moisture.

“That’s where you can dig in manure and compost to increase the organic content of the soil and make sure it stays moister, particularly during dry weather.”

Another important aspect of your soil is its pH level.

pH determines how acidic or alkaline your soil is.

The lower the pH number, the more acidic the soil is while more alkaline soils will be those with a pH above 7.

Adam explained: “The other thing you’ve got to look at – it’s about the chemical composition of soil and that’s its pH.

“Now, what you’ll find is that we want our gardens to have a neutral pH because a neutral soil is great for so many plants or shrubs.

“But some people live in a part of the country where they’ve got more chalk and that makes the soil alkaline.

“Other people live in an area where the soil is more peaty and that’s more acidic.”

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