Do you have good garden soil? Is it sandy, clay or loam? Do you have enough organic matter? Find out by making this simple soil test recipe:
1 quart jar
2 cups water
1 tblsp water softener
Take a soil sample from the top 12 inches in your garden beds. Since your soil may vary throughout your property, take samples from each area and test each one separately.
Place your soil sample, water and water softener in a quart jar. Cover with a tight fitting lid on the jar, shake vigorously until everything is floating in the water. Set the jar aside for 24 hours.
What settles first is the sand, the next layer is the silt, followed by the clay, and frosting all the layers is the organic material on top. When everything has settled after 24 hours, measure each layer. Then divide the thickness of each layer by the total depth of all layers together. To get the percentages, multiply the answers by 100.
Optimum soil percentages are:
Sand - 30-50%
Silt - 30-50%
Clay - 20- 30%
Organic material - 5-10%
(article is from Rainy Side Gardeners)