Loam Soil

 

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What is loam soil?


Loam soil is a mixture of sand, silt and clay soils and is by far and away the most desirable soil types to have in your garden.

It will feel soft and crumbly and, depending on the amount of organic matter, is usually quite dark in colour.

a handful of dark coloured loam soil

There are several types of loam such as sandy loam or clay loam depending on the proportions of other soil types making them up.

Loam itself generally has a 40-40-20 combination of sand, silt and clay respectively, but any soil in which none of those three varieties dominates could be considered loam.


Advantages of loam soil


There are many benefits to gardening with loam soil relative to other varieties.

  • It contains many more nutrients than sandy soil, 
  • drains faster than silt or clay but slower than sand – that is, fast enough not to become waterlogged but sufficiently slowly for plants to access the moisture – 
  • and is far easier to work with than clay being both lighter and less prone to compaction. 

In just about every respect, loam is the perfect soil to have in your garden.


Disadvantages of loam soil


The disadvantages of loam are very few and perhaps limited to the single issue of it being much harder to choose what to grow in it, given the amount of choice one with loam soil has.


Plants for loam soil


As you’ve probably guessed, you can grow just about anything you like in loam soil, and are constrained only by what the climate will allow.

toddler and dog playing with watering can and truck on soil surface

Loam soil is so easy to work with that it makes growing things seem like childsplay

Plants that typically do well in loam soil include

  • Fruit trees
  • Soft fruits such as strawberries, raspberries and blackcurrants
  • Vegetables such as peas, beans, beetroot, onions and salad crops
  • Annual bedding plants
  • Perennial flowering plants
  • Bee friendly plants
If you're building raised beds so that you can grow your own food, loam soil should be your first choice for filling the beds.
 
If you are laying a lawn from turf and want the best possible long-term results, adding a 15cm layer loam soil on top of your garden soil will help enormously.
 
The only time I would advise against using loam soil is if you are planning to lay Meadowmat wildflower turf or establish wild flowers from seed.  Wild flowers are not too keen on rich soils and do much better in a low-nutrient soil.

 

How to improve loam soil


Though loam requires no particular procedures to improve its quality, adding organic matter to the soil, or working it with a spade or fork to improve aeration and prevent compaction can only do it good.

Where to buy soil

 

Loam soil is available from garden centres and landscape suppliers throughout the UK.  It's soil either by the lorry load (also know as bulk soil), in builders bags (containing just less than 1 cubic metre) or in smaller, 15Kg bags.

You can order loam soil online and have it delivered to you in builders bags.  This is by far the most convenient option - the bag keeps the mess in one place!

Order loam soil online

More about types of soil

The pros and cons of working with sandy soil

Know your soil type

Clay soil and how to make the most of it


 

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