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Best Soil to Retain Moisture
Maintaining well-hydrated plants is a chore made easier when you have the best garden soil to retain moisture. Besides keeping plants well watered, moisture-retentive soil tends to hold nutrients, which makes them more available to plants. Well-watered and well-fed plants result in a healthy garden.
A variety of soil conditions exist, and each type of soil has varying abilities to retain moisture. On one end of the spectrum is sandy soil, which is not very water-retentive. Such soil has massive amounts of airspace, which prevents it from retaining moisture.
The next type of soil is silt or loam. This soil tends to do a fair job of retaining moisture, as it has less airspace. For the most moisture retention possible, look to clay soil. This soil has very little airspace in between soil particles, which means that it does an excellent job of retaining moisture.
Determining gardening soil type
To find out what sort of soil you have, try squeezing a ball of wet soil. If it crumbles, you have sand. If it creates a loose ball, you have silt or loam, and if it forms into a tight ball, you have clay.
Soil that is rich in moisture tends to also be full of compost. This nutrient-dense soil conditioner contains macro- and micro-nutrients that continuously feed the soil. Compost also creates ideal pH conditions in the soil, creates a healthy root system and helps plants fight off diseases and pests.
A variety of amendments also bulk up gardening soil and cause it to be more moisture-retentive. Like compost, planter mix will create more moisture. This product is generally a mix of ground bark products and should be added to the soil prior to planting. Peat moss also does an especially good job of creating a moisture-rich soil. Mined from bogs, this product retains moisture in the soil and helps plants stay well-hydrated.
Soil polymers are water-storing granules that can be put in soil and greatly increase its water retention rate. Such gelatinous crystals are hard when dry, but expand when exposed to water. These water-saving soil conditioners store the water and release the moisture when the soil becomes dry and the plant requires water.
Moisture retentive soil tends to be soil that is regularly irrigated. Watering soil on a regular basis keeps the soil moist and better able to soak up moisture when it is watered. Dry soil, on the other hand, tends to repel water, which runs off the surface and washes away. This lack of water penetration makes the soil even drier. Water regularly if you wish to create the best garden soil to retain moisture.