Find out if your soil is ready for planting.
Photo: (c) 2009 Jupiterimages
The first step in deciding if your soil is ready to start planting is figuring out what kind of soil you have. On a day in which the ground is neither overly dry nor wet and muddy, grab a handful. Is it hard packed and nearly solid? Does it maintain its shape but break apart when you crumble it? Is it loose? Does it run through your fingers?

If it is sticky and doesn't break, you have claylike soil. If it runs through your fingers, your soil is sandy. If it maintains its shape until crumbled, it's called loam. Clay soil means that plants will have trouble digging deep with their roots. Sandy soil can mean water slips through the soil so easily that the roots can't soak up the vital nutrients.

Just like Goldilocks, the ideal soil is the third oneā€”loam is just right for gardening. The soil will be thick enough to hold on to water and nutrients but thin enough to allow roots to take hold.

Hope for clay or sandy soil

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