I performed the following test* on about 2 teaspoons of slightly damp soil to find out what sort of soil we have.
- Begin by forming a ball, if it stays together, then proceed to the next shape. If it does not form a ball, then you have a sandy soil.
- If you can flatten the ball without it breaking up, then you have a silty sand or a loamy sand.
- If you can roll the flattened ball into a thick sausage shape, then you have loam
- A soil that can be rolled into a think sausage is a clay loam
- if you can bend the soil into a horseshoe or ring shape, then you have clay soil.
My soil got to stage 3. It nearly managed stage 4.
Which means I have loam. Loams are a mixture of sand, silt and clay. You can have either a light or heavy loam. Getting to stage 3 would be a light loam and getting to stage 4 would mean a heavy loam. Since I got to stage 3.5 I believe I have a medium loam. Medium loams can be a really good soil mixture, they have the advantages of light and heavy soils without the disadvantage of either. Yay.
* Thanks to "The Organic Gardener" by Christine and Michael Lavelle.