With a soil sample, you can find out which soil you have

With a soil sample, you can find out which soil you have

Photo: Colourbox

To find out what type of soil you have in the garden - light sandy soil, heavy clay soil or in between, and with what pH value - there are some simple tricks to use. Everything about Trädgårds Anders Stålhand shows how to do a soil test.

The simplest soil test is to roll the soil and try to form a sausage. The easier the soil adheres and the thicker the sausage you can shape, the more clay you have in the soil. In addition to looking and feeling your soil, you can do a simple soil test yourself. It is not a total soil analysis of all substances in your soil - these soil analyzes can be ordered and done in a laboratory. There are several different companies that perform soil analyzes, and it is also possible to buy from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU).

In this simpler soil sample, you can read out what type of soil you have and how much in relation to each other. You can also take the pH value and read if the soil is acidic or alkaline.

How to do the soil test:

1. Fill a glass jar with deionized water, such as battery water.

2. Take a sod a bit down in your soil, about 25 cm.

3. Spoon into the soil in the jar.

4. Shake until all coarser soil particles have dissolved in the water.

5. Allow the particles to sink until the water at the top is relatively clear. This can take time, for some soils days or weeks.

6. Analyze the amount of the different layers in relation to each other, to determine if there is a lot of clay or not in the soil.

7. To measure pH, a pH meter is needed, which is most easily obtained from pool vendors.

Get to know your earth!

Text & photo: Ulrika Rosengren

If you want to find out exactly what soil and what nutrient content you have, you should send in a soil analysis to a laboratory, see the yellow pages in the telephone directory. But with a few simple tests, you can still get a good idea of ​​the earth's properties - completely free!

Here are some different ways to study your soil. Select one or more tests and preferably repeat the test a couple of times if you want to be sure of your result. Some gardens have different contents in the soil in different parts of the garden. If this seems to be the case in your garden, you should of course perform tests in each area.

When you start to find out what kind of soil you have, you can read a little more about soil in different garden books and then get advice on how to best care for and fertilize your particular soil type.

Look-earth tested
Water on a surface with a watering can. Water disappears quickly on a sandy or gravelly soil but stays longer on a muddy soil.

If you want to study the drainage carefully, you can dig an approximately 50 cm wide and 30 cm deep hole and fill it with water. If it takes half an hour for the water to disappear, the drainage is perfect. If it drains away in 10-15 minutes, just realize that it is a very dry soil you have. Increase the amount of soil, for example by digging down well horse manure, if you want to increase the water holding capacity of the soil. If it takes two hours or more before the water has drained away, you should consider measures to increase drainage.

Dig-in-the-ground test
Few plant roots can grow well in a compacted compacted soil. Then the transport of oxygen, water and nutrients is inhibited and it is difficult for the roots to establish themselves.

If you want an idea of ​​how loose or compacted your soil is, you can test this by digging into it:

It should not be a problem to push into a shovel into the ground with just the help of the foot. Ideally, there should be a little resistance so it feels a bit like cutting in cold butter. The soil should fall apart when you turn it over and not come up in thick dense clay cooks that you have to chop apart. If the soil seems to be either too compact or too loose, the soil needs a cure with structural improvement of organic material.

At the same time, look at how the roots grow into the ground. If the roots are evenly distributed over the entire surface, this indicates loose, fine soil. If, on the other hand, you see a clear boundary, a "sole", where the roots have had difficulty penetrating, the soil needs to be worked further down so channels are opened up to the soil layers below. One way is to "green manure" with plants that have deep and strong roots, such as hop alfalfa. In the autumn, when the hop alfalfa is turned down in the ground, the soil has both been loosened by the roots and fertilized because pea plants such as the hop alfalfa can bind the nitrogen in the air in their roots. Next season, the soil is both fertilized and loosened deep.

Hug the soil tested
Take a handful of soil and squeeze it. If it feels slimy and sticky and the lump remains the hugged shape, it is a muddy soil. Sandy or gravelly soil really feels sandy and the "lump" falls apart. Peat soil feels a little more spongy. Light clay and medium-clay feel soft and retain their shape longer than the sandy soil but are not as firm as the muddy soil

Glass jar tested
Put a handful of soil in a large glass jar and fill with water. Stir well. Let stand for two hours. Then look and compare with these descriptions:

Sandy soil: Most of the particles fall to the bottom of the jar and the rest of the water is pretty clear.

Mo: The particles have settled in layers with the finest fractions at the top. The water is quite clear.

Flour: The water is cloudy and there is only a thin layer of particles on the bottom. The small particles take quite a long time to settle.

Muddy soil: The water is cloudy and there is only a thin layer of particles on the bottom. The small particles take any length of time to settle.

Peat soil: Lots of small pieces floating around on the surface, the water is slightly cloudy and only a few particles have settled on the bottom.

Lime soil: A layer of white sand-like fragments on the bottom of the jar and the water is colored pale gray.

The fingertips are sensitive and can feel elevations of a fraction of a millimeter. This allows you to feel at your fingertips how much sand is in your soil.

Wet your fingers drip wet. Then pick up some soil and rub between your fingertips. Is it possible to feel several coarse, hard grains of sand? Then it is a predominantly sandy soil. If you only feel a few small grains of sand and the soil can be rolled into a ball, then the soil is clayey.

Roll-earth tested
If you want to know more about how muddy the soil is, you can proceed with this test.

A few milliliters of soil is moistened so that it becomes flexible. Then roll it out quickly with one hand against one plate, or with the other hand, into as narrow a thread as possible. If it is not possible to roll out the soil into a wire, the clay content is probably below 2%.

The thickness of the wire before it breaks is a measure of the clay content in the soil.

Look-weed tested
Just by looking at what plants grow wild in your garden, you can learn a lot. Of course, it is frustrating that unwanted weeds are constantly coming into the garden, but the plants' own choice of growing place can at least teach us a little about the properties of the soil! Now, however, especially those we call weeds are quite good at being able to establish themselves both here and there. But if you look closely and focus on who really thrives, you can get an idea of ​​the composition of the soil. Together with the other soil tests, these indicator plants can give a good idea of ​​what kind of soil and nutritional status you have in your garden.

Here I have listed species that in the literature are said to show different soil conditions. See table here.

Soil pH
If you want, you can test the acidity of the soil - what pH the soil has. Your soil pH has a huge influence on which plants thrive. Most plants prefer pH 6.5-7, where the nutrients are most readily available. Some plants need acidic soil e.g. rhododendron while some need alkaline soil e.g. some brackets. Put an acid soil plant in an alkaline / calcareous soil and it is guaranteed to suffer and die! It cannot absorb the tightly bound phosphorus at high pH. However, most plants are tolerant and can withstand a pH range just below seven that we have in most soils - although with a well-balanced pH, they might be able to grow even better!

To be able to say for sure what pH a soil has, you have to test the soil's pH with a real pH meter and maybe you can borrow a pH meter from someone. Today's modern appliances are very easy to use. If you can get hold of litmus paper, it works quite well with it. A pH meter can be bought from well-stocked garden companies e.g. Willab for a few hundred bucks.

Some information about the pH value

Surt: pH between 1-7 tex. peat soil

Exactly neutral: pH exactly at 7 e.g. some clay soils

Basic: pH 7-14 eg certain calcareous soils

Normally, we in Sweden can find soils with a pH between about 4 up to 8.5.

To test the soil, you need a pH meter (or litmus paper!), Deionized water that you can buy at the pharmacy (or take from the dryer's water collection container), and then some soil.

Take the soil sample and measure the pH as follows:

1. Dig up soil from several different places down to about 20 cm.

2. Remove the top 3 cm of the soil and then mix everything well in a plastic bag.

3. Fill a beaker with 1/3 soil and top up with 2/3 distilled water or tap water of good quality. (distilled water can be bought at a pharmacy or taken from the dryer's condensate).

4. Put the lid on and shake well for at least 2 minutes.

5. Let the jar stand still for at least 10 minutes so that the soil can settle, ie. lie down on the bottom of the jar.

6. Read the instructions for the pH meter and measure the pH of the water above the sedimented soil.

7. If you use litmus paper, dip the paper in the water and read against the included color scale.

Do several tests and in different places in the garden if the soil seems to vary.

Now that you know what type of soil you have, it is much easier to know how to proceed with soil improvement and fertilization.

Alkaline soil

To find out if your soil is alkaline (pH value above 7), you just need to put a few tablespoons of your soil in a jar, pour in two tablespoons of vinegar and stir. If the liquid in the jar starts to bubble, you know that your soil is alkaline.

Get to know the soil in your garden

The fact that the soil is alkaline means that your soil is rich in lime. There are a lot of plants that prefer alkaline soil, but it can lead to a lack of certain minerals in the plants. If you want to lower the pH value, you do it with advantage by mixing the soil with natural peat. Common plants that thrive in alkaline soil are cherries and lettuce.

Plums thrive best in alkaline soil. Photo: IBL Bildbyrå

With a soil sample you can find out what soil you have - garden

Now finally comes a clip about the chickens. And I pick up the most common question I get from other hobby growers, namely "How do you use chicken manure?".

I rarely write about chickens, even though I know many are curious. The reason is that I simply think I have too little knowledge and experience. For example, I know nothing about what the different colors of plumage are called, can not diagnose more than type two ailments that can affect poultry and am just at the beginning of my career as a home-slaughtering chicken owner. But I'm a devil at finding out what I need to know to cope with the assignments I take on - it's an advantage to be a journalist by profession.

Now finally comes a clip about the chickens. And I pick up the most common question I get from growers, namely "How do you use chicken manure?". In this week's clip, I simply show three of the ways I use chicken manure in my cultivation. Hope you get some ideas to use for the manure your own hens produce, or possibly the manure you could get from friends and acquaintances.

The chicken manure is thus strong as attan. It is easy to burn plants by using too much manure, whether it is composted manure or pellets bought in bags.

Another inconvenience for us who grow vegetables and want to use chicken manure in cultivation is bacteria that can occur in the manure and then cause problems for humans. From what I have heard, young children can be extra sensitive. A well-composted chicken manure does not bring those problems with it - it can be recommended, for example, that the manure is composted for two years to be useful in vegetable cultivation. Another way is to let the manure compost in a pile that burns (heats up strongly during the first part of the decomposition process) properly and with that heating process the bacteria that can be harmful are destroyed, then the manure can be used much earlier.

I find it difficult to find good info online that is useful in a fairly small garden. A lot of what I go on is something I heard from the one who heard from the one who knows that. yes, you know. I try my best but try to have as a guideline not to grow edibles in fresh chicken compost that I know for sure has NOT burned or finished composting.

In addition to litter and shit that is cleaned out of the hen house, I have a habit of occasionally raking old compost, leaves and plant parts from the hen house. It is fertilized material that is superb to use in the same way as chicken manure.

Chicken manure that I do not have use for directly, through the ways I show above, I pack in sacks that can stand until I need them. It is more labor-saving for me to drive the sack variant than to first clean out the hen house and throw the shit in a wheelbarrow, which is then dumped on an intermediate storage place / compost while waiting for me to transport it once more to a suitable place. Much easier then to have the material in bags that I can easily lift and empty where I want it.

This winter, our hens stay in their playhouse and on days when it is not windy and rainy, they are happy to go outside. Right now we get five eggs a day, which is more than I expected during this time. Last year, the hens went in one of the breeding tunnels and it was absolutely superb. It was intended that one of the tunnels would be set aside for the hens this winter as well, but now I have had such a swing with winter cultivation that I simply did not want to spare the valuable surface. I like to look at Johnna Giljam / Bondjäntan and her way of keeping chickens in what she calls Glädjehuset. Feel free to look at her blog and get inspired.

Feel free to suggest ways you use chicken manure!
More clips from my kitchen garden can be found on YouTube and the blog's Play channel. Feel free to subscribe - then you will receive a message about when there is a new clip to see.
/ Sara Bäckmo


Knowing how to determine the porosity of soil tells you how much water the soil holds. This information will also tell you if the conditions are right for certain forms of construction. To determine porosity, you must first find the bulk density of the soil. If a soil bulk density is too high, then it has a porosity that may be too high for growing plants but can handle construction. There are a few different ways to calculate the earth's porosity. The method described below is the simplest.


Collect a soil sample by attacking a metal tube 6 inches into the ground. Make a mark on the outside of the pipe at the ground surface so that you know exactly how deep of a soil sample you have taken.

• Determine the volume of your soil sample by measuring its diameter in centimeters. Divide the diameter by two and multiply by pi (3.14). Multiply this number by the height of your soil sample in centimeters to find its volume. You do not need to remove the soil from the metal pipe to perform these calculations.

Place the soil sample in a saucepan and dry it in an oven on low. Twelve hours of drying time should suffice.

Weigh the dry ground with a metric scale.

Find the bulk density of soil by dividing the weight of dry soil by the volume of the soil sample. The units for your answer will be grams per centimeter square or g / cc. For example, if your weight of dry land is 63 grams and your sample volume is 35 centimeters square, your bulk density will be 1.8 g / cc.

Calculate the porosity of your soil sample by dividing the bulk density standard particle density value by 2.65. Subtract this number from 1 and multiply the result by 100. For the above bulk density, divide 1.8 by 2.65. This gives you 0.68. Subtract this from 1, which gives you 0.32. Now multiply this by 100 to get your soil porosity, which would be 32.

Why whitewash the lawn? Because lime is one of the best conditions for greener grass. A soil that contains enough lime gives the grass the best conditions to absorb the nutrients that are already in the soil or added with fertilizer. Like many other plants, the grass thrives best in neutral soils that have a pH value of between 6 - 7.

Moss, weeds, rhododendrons, azaleas and blueberries are some examples of plants that thrive in acidic (low-calcium, pH 7) soils.

If you give the grass good conditions for growth, you will get rid of the weeds that are then displaced. For that reason, sufficient lime and good access to water and nutrients are required. As a result, you can spend less time weeding and enjoy your lawn more.

Liming the lawn if the pH is low. This allows the grass to assimilate the nutrients in the soil.

Different moments during the season!

Jordanalys - Soil samples for analysis should be taken regularly, preferably at the same time each time. After a soil test, you find out what type of nutrients the soil contains and a recommendation what the grass needs and how much.

Many of the nutrients in the soil need to be in balance with each other so that maximum uptake to the lawn can take place. If you use the right product, you can save money, reduce leakage to the environment while getting a better and more durable lawn.

Drainage - It is important to have a functioning drainage in the lawn in order to achieve the right ratio in the ground between air and water more quickly. Excess water needs to be transported away quickly as it eliminates the possibility of air being present in the profile. The drainage can be done all year round.

Aeration - There is carbon dioxide in the air which, with the help of the sun, keeps photosynthesis going. In the soil, air plays an additional role and it is also the life in the soil that benefits. Useful bacteria and fungi that break down dead plant parts and convert them into nutrients for the grass, need oxygen in their process.

If this process takes place without oxygen (anaerobic), it is other types of bacteria and fungi that break down the dead plant parts through a decay process.

A healthy soil should smell like a basement and not smell bad, if it does, you must make sure to aerate. Grass, along with everything that grows, has a great need for air. You can ventilate your lawn all year round.

Vertical cutting - Vertical cutting is important to clear away dead material but also to cut off shoots on the grass, which in turn contributes to a denser lawn. You get the best results with vertical cutting when the grass is well.

The best time for a vertical cut is partly in late spring, when the carpet feels firm to walk on and the grass has been cut a few times, but also in early autumn. It is good to avoid vertical cutting during dry summer periods when the grass can feel stressed.

Top dress - Top dressing means that you spread "dressage" by hand or with a machine, which usually consists of clean sand or sand mixed with soil of some kind. It is usually said that 3-5 liters per m2 of lawn is enough and you can spread it out in different ways. The easiest is if you distribute it in piles with the same amount and then use a rake / rake to get it out.

It is important that you get it evenly distributed and that it ends up in the lawn bottom. A smart idea is to pull a pallet back and forth across the lawn, it evens out and fills potholes. Before top-dressing, it is important to either rake thoroughly with a wire rake or a vertical cut.

Absolutely the best time to top dress is early spring and early autumn. Take the opportunity to lay out grass seeds before laying sand.

Moss demolition - Many people want to get rid of the moss, so feel free to use a heavier fertilizer in the spring, such as Xeed Energy Fe. Feel free to use moss shredders for simplicity, also works well to pick by hand. But it is important to fix the vegetation again when the moss is gone.

Haircut - Grass feels good when it is cut and kept at a constant height. Mow the grass about 2-3 times a week or if necessary during strong growth, so that the grass will feel as good as possible. The cutting height should be between 2-3 cm.

Summer fertilization - During the summer you will enjoy a wonderful lawn! In addition to mowing, you may need some fertilizer based on your wishes.

Choose a long-acting fertilizer such as Xeed Longdrive, to have a worry-free summer with adequate growth. If you suspect that you will have problems with dehydration, wetting agents can be applied. Do not forget to water!

Autumn fertilization - Autumn is the best time to help as the ground temperature and humidity are at their best, both in terms of parts of the lawn or the whole. Also give your lawn one last give fertilizer. Now the lawn needs a little more potassium, so use an autumn fertilizer like Xeed Care Fe, to prepare for winter.

Auxiliary sowing - Repairing the lawn by sowing is done so that you first rake away all dead material, even vertical cutting is a good measure. You do this to roughen up the soil surface so that seeds can find their way down to the upper condition. Then you sow the grass seed, rake and overturn, it is important to keep the soil moist at all times until the new grass has come up.

Irrigation - In a short time, heat waves without precipitation can cause your lawn to lose both color and its ability to grow. If you want your lawn to always keep its color, you must water the lawn regularly.

The best watering hours occur during the evening and at night, when the evaporation is less. Suitable water volume is 10-15 mm / time and around 30 mm / week, dry periods and without precipitation.

Step by step you can create the ultimate lawn!

  1. When spring looks ahead, it is a good opportunity to take a soil sample in your lawn to evaluate what your lawn is missing. For answers, we can help you recommend your products.

When the ground temperature has reached about 8 degrees, you can easily do that with a meat thermometer that you stick into the ground. Then it's time to fertilize, preferably with Xeed Energy Fe, which is a fertilizer with ferrous sulphate in it, it gives you the right conditions in the spring. This is our most powerful fertilizer which is good if you really want the grass growth to take off.

A few days after fertilization, you can help with e.g. Bar Intensive RPR which, among other things, contains a ryegrass that grows with shoots for a durable, dense and durable lawn. This is excellent for both new sowing and auxiliary sowing. We have many different varieties in our range, feel free to contact us and we will help you find the right lawn for your particular lawn.

Use a top suit to improve a worn lawn or the uneven lawn. We recommend that you do this immediately after auxiliary sowing / new sowing.

For you who want to cut vertically, spring / autumn is the best opportunity to do this. When the lawn has started to green properly, it is usually in May, then it is perfect to cut vertically. Then you have had time to fertilize spring. It is important that when you have a vertical cut, you need help.

During the summer, choose a long-acting fertilizer. During the early summer, the growth of the grass is greatest and therefore more fertilizer is needed for the grass to retain its green color and for continued growth that provides a dense lawn that keeps moss and weeds away.

In the autumn, it's time to give the lawn extra strength to cope with the winter. Xeed Care Fe is a good product you can use during the autumn.

Aeration is a good measure that can be done throughout the season from spring-autumn. You can almost never get too much ventilation. Make sure you have a flexible aerator that sticks into the ground without leaving lacerations.

Download our care schedule to keep track of when you should perform various steps on your lawn -> care schedule

It is possible to mix a wheelbarrow or in a trailer with 80% sand and 20% soil just over a week before the planned repair of damage to the lawn. But you can also only take soil and no sand. Mix abundantly with your grass seeds, water and feel free to place it in the garage during the evening.

In this way, you can get a week faster establishment of the new auxiliary seed.

Video: 3 DIY Soil Tests You Can Do in Under 24 Hours