What soil is best for your garden?

August 20, 2015 - 2 min read

You may not think the soil in your garden is important, but it can impact how your plants grow. We look at common soil types and what they are best used for.

Growing your garden in the troublesome Wollongong climate can be a challenge at the best of times. If you’re not using the right soil for your plants, they will not get the right amount moisture, nutrients and sunlight they need to survive. What makes makes each individual soil type unique? Whether you’re looking for a thick clay-based soil for water retention or want some nutrient-rich soil for your new veggie garden, each soil type will influence your garden differently. If you haven’t got a clue when it comes to picking the right soil variety, we’ve explained the 6 most common types below.

Clay soil


Clay soil is ideal for water retention and has the ability to hold nutrients for longer than most other soils. Since clay soil is made up of tiny particles, very little air is able to pass through and it takes a while to dry out in summer. However, when it eventually does it becomes heavy, compact and hard to work with.
Good for: leafy veggies, tomatoes, peppers, roses, heleniums and asters

Silty soil


Very smooth to touch, silty soil also has extremely tiny particles and is very fertile. If you choose this type of soil for your garden, be careful not to step on it as it becomes very easily compacted.
Good for: all fruits and vegetables, as well as milk weed and yellow iris

Loamy soil


Arguably the most popular type of soil, loamy soil is the perfect mix of silt, sand and clay, which is a gardener’s dream. With a great pH level of 6 and high calcium content, this soil also has a strong ability to hold water and nutrients.
Good for: veggies, roses and marigolds

Sandy soil


Containing extremely large particles, sandy soil does not hold much water and therefore isn’t great for most plant varieties. Roots can have a tough time holding in sandy soil.
Good for: tulips, hibiscus, cistus, watermelons, peanuts and peaches

Peaty soil


Dark brown or black in colour, peaty soil is extremely moist, jam-packed with organic material and provides a great growing environment. If your plants are always drying out in the summer months, peaty soil could be the perfect solution.
Good for: sphagnum moss, sedges, and ericaceous shrubs

Saline soil


Found mostly in drier climates, saline soil is high in salt and not great for growing plants—resulting in plant damage, impeded growth and germination. If you notice your soil has a salty presence, you should replace it with something more plant-friendly before you start your next gardening project.
Not recomended for plants