Simple Soil Sedimentary Home Test

Below is a copy of a sedimentation test that I completed a couple of years ago as part of my master gardener course. Knowing what type of soil you are working with is beneficial when deciding what to do with a piece of land or what plants to include in the garden.

The big thing to remember is that the soil is what the soil is. You can not change a sandy clay into a silty loam. What you can to is add organic matter and plants things that like sandy clays. Or maybe that is the section where sitting area is. Sandy clay could be a good base for a brick patio.

The test below is pretty straight forward. Fill a large mason jar approximately 1/3 with soil. Remove any organic matter first. This is the top bit of soil. The humus, decaying roots, that sort of thing. If you take a core sample it is easier to see the top layer. Any organic matter left in the sample will float. You want to get as much out as possible for visibility sake when reading the test

Once you have the soil in, fill the jar with water a shake it for literally 12 minutes! Then let it sit for at least 2 days. Once everything is settled then take your measurements, and figure out the percentage of the 3 elements Sand, Silt, and Clay.

Read my findings and see where your soil lands on the Soil Triangle below.

Ideally, somewhere in the loam area is the best soil for cultivation, but you can work with whatever soil type you have. The addition of organic matter will help any soil type boost it’s microbiology, air, and water holding capacities.