How to Test for Soil Type - Mason Jar Soil Test
If you are a new gardener, you may be wondering what kind of soil you have in your garden. You probably know that all soil is made up of three parts; clay, sand and silt, and that for best results you should aim for loamy soil. What you may not know is that you can test your soil yourself to determine its composition.
- Gather a cup or two of soil from your garden area. Remove any large rocks, portions of roots or any other debris from the soil
- Fill a quart mason jar approximately half way with your soil sample.
- Pour water into the jar to within an inch or two of the rim. Replace the cover and seal tightly.
- Shake the jar vigorously for several minutes to mix the soil and water
- Place the jar on a flat surface, such as the table, and allow the sediment to settle for one minute. Sand particles will settle quickly. Mark the level of sand particles on the side of the jar with a permanent marker. Use care not to disturb or move the jar
- Allow the jar to sit undisturbed for one hour. Mark the second layer of sediment. This layer is silt.
- Leave the jar in the same location for 24 hours and mark the third layer. This layer is composed of clay.
- Compare the proportions of each layer to calculate the percentage of each component of your soil.
- Locate the area on the triangle chart by following the lines and marking where they intersect to determine the type of soil you have.