Is it possible that my soil is composed of mostly sand?
I decided recently to fix the soil issue in my perennial garden. I've been reading and watching a lot of videos on testing soil and amending soil. I came across a video about testing soil at home to show what type of soil I have, whether sand, silt, clay and the ratios of each. I gathered soil from several different spots in the bed and combined them well in a bucket, I allowed it to dry on cardboard in order to break up clumps. I placed it in a mason jar about 1/3 of the way up and mixed it with tap water leaving just a couple inches of free space at the top to shake it up. I also added per instructions a couple drops of organic dish washing soap and shook the jar, then placed it on a flat surface. I waited 15 to 20 minutes and went back to mark the top line indicating sand however I could not see any difference in the soil to mark. Is it possible I did something wrong? Or Is it possible that my soil is comprised of mostly sand? I really want to figure this out so I have time to plan and prepare my beds for next Spring. I live near a place called Ohio Mulch and they sell a product called Green Envy compost. I thought it may improve the soil in my beds. My plan is to have several cubic yards of the compost delivered early next Spring to til into my perennial bed. It is pretty pricey so I want to make sure I'm not throwing my money away by doing this and that is why I chose to try to test my garden soil. I live in central Ohio, zone 6a and I have heard we typically have clay soil in this area but mine does not seem to be clay. I moved here 10 yrs ago and its a new neighborhood in a rural setting, when I moved in I had to make all of my beds myself and the dirt was very compacted with lots of rocks, some bigger than softballs. I have spent a lot of time removing rocks and tiling the soil, I have put mulch around my flowers several yrs, I have had topsoil delivered on a couple different occasions, I always add a handful of potting soil when planting new flowers and I empty my containers of potting soil at the end of the season into my flower beds but even after all of this the soil is light brown color, it dries in big clumps and does not look or feel like healthy, dark soil. I'm not sure the best way to remedy the issue. Would the compost next Spring be a good idea? Or should I buy composted cow manure and add it in my beds now(mid-July) and if I did the cow manure would that help my flowers this season? I have thought about figuring out a good, easy way to compost at home myself but I'm not very knowledgeable on the subject just yet. Also if I buy bags of composted cow manure should I add it with topsoil before putting it in my perennial bed or just add it to the dirt already there? Any suggestions are very much appreciated! I also recently purchased a soil test kit to test nutrients and will be doing that later today.
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Though a soil test kit can be done by yourself; I may suggest having a soil test done with your County Extension Office. They can do this for just a small fee.
Only then will you know if or how to properly amend your soil.
These links will help you.