BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

17 September 2014
Accessibility help
how to be a gardener - The complete online guide

BBC Homepage
Part One
Part Two

Are you signed in?
Go here for more information

Contact Us

homeModule 1Module 2Module 3Module 4Module 5Module 6Module 7Module 8
1 - Analysing your soil
Print page

There are six main soil types:

  • Clay
  • Sandy
  • Silty
  • Peaty
  • Chalky
  • Loamy
Clay soil
  • Feels lumpy and sticky when very wet
  • Rock-hard when dry
  • Clay drains poorly
  • Few air spaces
  • Warms slowly in spring
  • Heavy to cultivate
  • If drainage is improved, plants grow well as it holds more nutrients than many other soils
Clay soil
Plant listsPlants for clay soil.
Sandy soil
  • Free-draining soil
  • Gritty to the touch
  • Warms up quickly in spring
  • Easy to cultivate
  • Dries out rapidly
  • May lack nutrients, which are easily washed through the soil in wet weather (often called a "hungry" soil.)
Sandy or gravelly soil
Plant listsPlants for sandy soil.
1. Know your plot

Assessing your plot
Analysing your soil
 Soil types
 Soil ph
Drawing a survey
Test your knowledge
Go further

Plant lists Plant lists
Plants for different soil types:

Find thousands more plants in the BBC Gardening database.
Video Video
Soil, what's it all about?
Test your knowledge of planting in different lighting conditions. Or find out how to test your soil.
Requires Flash 5

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy