Soil types: Loam


This section is a relatively boring read for most gardeners but we believe that it is good for reference.


Loam is soil composed mostly of sand and silt, and a smaller amount of clay (about 40%-40%-20% concentration, respectively). These proportions can vary to a degree, however, and result in different types of loam soils: sandy loam, silty loam, clay loam, sandy clay loam, silty clay loam, and loam.

By combining these three types of soil, loam gives you the best characteristics of all. This enables you to grow almost any type of plant without having to add too much to the soil. The clay and silt help retain the moisture while the sand keeps the soil from compacting too much. This combination helps with the drainage and means that the soil can just crumble in your hand and yet still hold its shape. As loam doesn't dry out in the summer or get waterlogged in winter, it is an ideal soil all year round.

Loam soils generally contain more nutrients, moisture, and humus than sandy soils, have better drainage and infiltration of water and air than silty soils, and are easier to work than clay soils. The different types of loam soils each have slightly different characteristics, with some draining liquids more efficiently than others. For food production, a loam soil containing a small amount of organic material is considered ideal. The mineral in a loam soil ideally is about 40% sand, 40% silt and 20% clay by weight. The soil's texture, especially its ability to retain nutrients and water are crucial.

Bricks made of loam, mud, sand, and water, with an added binding material such as rice husks or straw, have been used in construction since ancient times.

Loam is considered ideal for gardening and agricultural uses because it retains nutrients well and retains water while still allowing excess water to drain away. A soil dominated by one or two of the three particle size groups can behave like loam if it has a strong granular structure, promoted by a high content of organic matter. However, a soil that meets the textural definition of loam can lose its characteristic desirable qualities when it is compacted, depleted of organic matter, or has clay dispersed throughout its fine-earth fraction.

Loam is found in a majority of successful farms in regions around the world known for their fertile land. Loam soil feels soft and crumbly and is easy to work over a wide range of moisture conditions