Real World Gardener Test Your Soil on Soil Savvy

November 12th, 2015

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at  and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.

Real World Gardener is funded by the Community Broadcasting Foundation (CBF).

The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition.


If you want a lush garden where everything grows wonderfully like in this photo, you need to know what type of garden soil you have in your back yard.

1-greenhouse.jpgHow well do you know your soil in the backyard?

No matter how much work you do in your garden, all that careful sowing, weeding and tending could be in vain if the quality of your soil isn’t up to scratch or you’ve been planting things which aren’t suited to your soil.

We gardeners all know that the soil gives your plants vital nutrients, water and air that they need for healthy, but each plot of ground has its own blend of minerals, organic and inorganic matter which largely determines what crops, shrubs or trees can be grown successfully.

Listen to the podcast to find out how to go about knowing your soil type . I'm talking with Horticultural Scientist Penny Smith. Penny specialises in soil science.

There are six main soil groups: clay, sandy, silty, peaty, chalky and loamy.

There’s even soil types which are combinations of the main types; sandy clay, clayey sand.

They each have different properties and knowing what type you have lets you make the best choices and get the most from your garden.


Screen-Shot-soil%2Btesting.pngGrab a small handful of your garden soil and make a fat worm with your soil.

Put your thumb into the top of your soil worm and squish it out.

If you soil is sandy the bit that you squeeze out will fall apart; if it's clay soil it will stick together reasonably well with some cracking.

Loamy soil will stick together but won't dirty your hand as much as the clay soil and there should be no cracking.

Remember, soil types can vary from suburb to suburb or even street to street, so don’t always rely on what someone tells you.

If you’re still not sure after doing Penny’s soil test, take a sample of your garden soil to your garden centre.

If you have any questions about finding out your soil type or have some information you’d like to share, why not email or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

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