The type of soil that gardens and gardeners love is loamy soil. It contains a balance of all three soil materials—silt, sand and clay—plus humus. It has a higher pH and calcium levels because of its previous organic matter content.
Loam is dark in color and is mealy—soft, dry and crumbly—in your hands. It has a tight hold on water and plant food but it drains well, and air moves freely between soil particles down to the roots.
The feel test for loam yields a smooth, partly gritty, partly sticky ball that crumbles easily.
Although loamy soil is the ideal material to work with, don’t despair if you don’t have it in your garden. That’s because soil will always favor one particles size over the two others. Then again, there are many ways to condition your soil—adding beneficial soil inoculants, covering your soil with compost, or simply spraying leaves and soil with compost tea.