What Is Loam Soil?

Some kinds of soil are better for plants than others. In particular, it is worth mentioning loam, which is considered to be an excellent soil for gardening as well as other kinds of plant growing because it manages to achieve a neat balance between a number of competing priorities. Moreover, loam has a definition that comes with numbers, thus making it that much easier for interested individuals to get a good idea of what it is and isn’t supposed to be.

For those who are curious, loam is supposed to consist of sand, silt, and clay in a 40-40-20 ratio. However, it is possible for soil to stray from this definition to some extent while still being called loam, though it isn’t uncommon for descriptors to be added on to provide interested individuals with more information. For example, if a loam mixture has a higher percentage of sand, silt, or clay, it might be called sandy loam, silty loam, or clay loam. Likewise, if a loam mixture has a higher percentage of two components rather than the one, it could get both of those descriptors added on to its name. As such, while interested individuals should be able to get a general idea of what a particular kind of soil is made up of based on the name and nothing but the name, it can still be useful for them to learn more about the exact components as well as the exact proportions to get a better idea of what they have on hand.

Why Is Loam Soil So Useful?

There are a number of reasons why loam is considered to be so useful for not just gardening but also other plant-growing purposes. For example, loam contains more moisture, more nutrients, and more humus than their sandier counterparts. Likewise, loam makes it easier for both air and water to reach the roots than either their silt or clay-rich counterparts. On top of this, loam is even easier to work with than their clay-rich counterparts, which provides it with a huge advantage when it comes to growing crops on a mass scale. Best of all, loam can be further tailored by making changes to its proportions, thus making it even better-suited for growing certain kinds of plants than others.

Based on this, loam is useful because it combines a wide range of upsides. Moreover, it is excellent for growing most kinds of plants, thus making it a very versatile choice as well. As a result, it is no coincidence that loam remains as popular in the present time as it ever was in the past, which is as true for gardeners as it is for farmers.

How Can You Make Your Own Loam Soil?

Since loam is so useful, it should come as no surprise to learn that interested individuals can buy the soil from just about anywhere that sells gardening tools and supplies. Unfortunately, there are no standards for the quality of the soil, meaning that they need to choose their supplier with care and consideration while also making sure that they know where they are getting the soil from. Besides buying soil, if people are willing to make the effort, they should know that it is perfectly possible for them to make their own loam as well.

With that said, it is important to note that making loam is a bit more complicated than just mixing sand, silt, and clay in the right proportions. After all, there is one more ingredient that makes loam useful for gardening as well as other plant-growing purposes, which would be the organic matter that is mixed into it. Without this organic matter, the loam would be useless for its intended purpose, meaning that it is just as critical as the other components.

Unfortunately, the organic matter is . . . well, organic, meaning that it needs to be reintroduced to the loam on a regular basis to keep it useful for its intended purpose. Generally speaking, this means adding a two-inch layer of organic matter to the loam before working it into the first few inches of the loam. However, if the loam has high concentrations of either sand or clay, more organic matter might be needed.

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