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What Are the Different Types of Soil?

There are six main types of soil usually discussed in agriculture and basic soil science, distinguished
by the size of the particle matter that makes up the soil. One of the types of soil, and the type with
the largest particles, is sandy soil. Sandy soil is usually made up of granules of mineral and rock,
and it has quite a bit of grit to it, and large spaces between particles, allowing for easy flow of water
and minerals.

Sandy soil is comprised of tiny granules.

Clay soil is another of the types of soil, but clay has incredibly small particles. This means that clay has
little space between individual particles, allowing for virtually no drainage. For this reason, clay soil is
bad for growing things in, because water tends to not be able to escape, and it is difficult for root
systems to break through the clay layer. Clay soils tend to be much older than sandy soils, since it makes
many, many years for rock particles to break down to be small enough to form clay.
Clay soil is not ideal for growing things.

Silty soil is one of the most fertile of the many types of soil, with rich nutrients and good drainage. It is
slightly smaller in size than sandy soil, but otherwise is very similar in composition, albeit with more
nutrients and minerals. Silty soil is generally quite dark and pungent, and is excellent for planting almost
anything.
Silty soil is fairly fertile.

Loamy soil is actually made up of a few different types of soil, with varying amounts of clay soil, silty soil,
and sandy soil mixed together. Loamy soil holds water well because of the heavy grittiness given from
the sand, has exceptional drainage so that the water doesn’t build up too much and rot plant roots, and
is nutrient rich. Loamy soil is the ideal soil for gardening, and wide ranges of loam can be found at most
supply stores.

Loamy soil is made up of several different types of soil.


Two other types of soil, chalky and peaty soils, aren’t particularly good for easy growing, but are found
throughout the world. Chalky soils are extremely alkaline, and usually have stones of varying size mixed
in with them. Chalky soil stops plants from uptaking important minerals, and dries out very easily,
making it less than ideal for planting. Peaty soils are high in organic matter, usually with large amounts
of dead plants in them, but the organic matter is unable to decompose fully because of a high acid
content in the soil. Peaty soil isn’t particularly rich in nutrients, but if well handled can actually be an
excellent soil for planting.

Chalky soil usually has rocks of various sizes mixed in.