Always look online to see what kind of soils your plants require. Think about it. When we talk about our bodies and health – the environment is hugely important. Whether we are looking at the pH (alkalinity or acidity); whether we are looking at the nutrient availability – to support the immune system or to produce flowers, produce and seeds; whether we are looking at the elimination aka drainage for plants; etc. Well the same is true for plants. Different plants require different types of environments. So we are not going to get into great depth but lets look at the basics.

6 types of soils: clay, sandy, silt, peaty, chalky, and loamy


Sticky when wet, hard when dry, poor drainage capacity – add well rotted organic material in the fall and peat in the spring

  • Great for perennials and shrubs: aster, bergamot, fruit trees, ornamentals


Drains easily, dries out fast, warms up quickly in the spring, but requires organic material for growth – add compost, manure, organic muscles like straw, dried grass, deciduous leaves

  • Great for bulbs: tulips, hibiscus and vegetable crops like carrots, parsnips, potatoes, lettuce, strawberries, peppers, corn, squash, tomatoes


Feels soft and soapy; holds moisture, rich in nutrients; great if drainage provided; mix in organic matter to improve drainage

  • Great for shrubs, grasses and perennials and most fruit and vegetables


Darker feels damp and spongy; higher level of acidity which slows down decomposition – leads to fewer nutrients; heats up quickly during spring; great when blended with organic matter

  • Great for heather, which hazel, camellia, rhodos, and vegetables like brassicas (broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale and turnips) legumes, root crops, and salad crops


Looks like a larger grain with more rocks in it; great for drainage; more alkaline – can lead to stunted growth or make leaves more yellow looking – which can be resolved with adding humus or acidity to the soils and a lot of bulky organic matter

  • Great for lilacs, pinks, mock oranges and vegetables like spinach, beets, sweet corn, cabbage

Loamy soil

Good mix of sand, silt, and clay; fine textured and damp although good drainage; full of nutrients; warms up quickly in the spring but retains moisture so doesn’t dry out but needs organic matter regularly

  • Great for climbers, bamboos, perennials, and vegetable and berry crops like but make sure you rotate crops

Notes to remember

  • Most plants want a rich sandy loam – a mixture of all three
  • Make soils more alkaline by adding lime versus sulfurs make them more acidic
  • For more nutrients – rather than artificial fertilizers – find an organic farm; or one that has free run organic chickens, or grass-fed cows, or rabbits, or even organically fed horses – they all provide great nutrients for the vegetables
  • In the fall, replenish your soils with legumes, buckwheat, or clover – which help to “fix” nitrogen into the soil – these are called cover crops. They go to seed and break down quickly
  • If you compost your leftovers from the kitchen, in the fall lay a layer of composting, then a layer of leaves from the fall droppings; then a layer of organic manure – each layer helps the prior layer to compost effectively for the spring
  • I make a chart of what I plant where each year – crop rotation is great for soils and particularly important for some vegetables like cabbage
  • One thing I do periodically is dissolve Himalayan salt or sea salt in water (1 tbsp to 1 gallon of water) and then sprinkle it in the garden – salts can dehydrate plants; but the minerals are great for the soils if used sparingly. In addition, if too much it can kill helpful bacteria and microbes

Submitted by

Dr Holly
One Stop Mobile Health Shop
Choices Unlimited for Health & Wellness

Dr. Holly Fourchalk, Ph.D., DNM®, RHT, MH, AAP, HT