As gardeners, the first thing we check if the soil is healthy for our gardens is the soil color. A thriving garden depends on healthy tilth. However, have you ever wondered why soil have different colors? Is black soil the best choice? Is red soil good for gardening? Is yellow or green soil a nice place to start sowing? In this article, you will learn how soils have their respective colors and how they are classified. Plus, you will know how these colors provide the nutrient content that can help you cultivate strong plants and a beautiful garden.
Soil color is one of the fastest and simplest ways to classify soil. It can indicate if it is a good choice for cultivation. The color of your soil depends on many contributing factors, like aeration, water saturation, mineral content, organic matter content, and the extent of weathering. You must keep these considerations in mind because they are important to the health of your plants and your garden. So is black soil, brown soil, yellow soil, or is red soil good for gardening? Let’s find out!
This color of soil is usually associated with high mineral content and organic matter. It the best choice of soil for gardening because it is rich in nutrients. Black soil usually contains sodium, which is good for plant growth. However, not all black soil is good. There are black soils highly saturated with water and bacteria that can harm your plants. Look out for bad smelling black soils.
White or Pale Soils
This color of soil indicates that the nutrients, which give it its color, have already leached out. Leaching happens because of the constant rain falling. This type of soil is needed to be mixed with a large amount of organic matter or compost to be a good variety of garden soil.
Other white soils are usually associated with a high content of calcium, like limestone powder, that can help out in decreasing acidity in the soil.
You ask yourself, “Is red soil good for gardening?” This color of soil is associated with a high content of iron because of high oxygen content. The iron gives it the reddish or rusty color. Darker red soil contains large amounts of organic matter and can indicate good aeration and drainage. However, you need to mix it with fertilizers and compost to make it a better soil for gardening.
Yellow or Tan Soil
This color of soil is the same with red soil but has poorer drainage. Because of leaching of the iron content in this soil, they do not give out the reddish or rusty color. Adding organic matter or compost will give it a tan color and is a good variety for garden soil.
Brown or Dark Brown Soil
This color of soil is associated with a moderate or medium amount of organic matter. Just like black soil, it is one of the best choices for garden soil.
Grey or Green Soil
This color of soil is associated with high saturation, meaning they have poor drainage and poor aeration. It is usually waterlogged. The greenish or grayish color indicates the presence of sulfur. Too much sulfur can be bad for cultivation.
Is Red Soil Good or Bad?
Knowing the soil color is one of the main steps in starting your garden. It also provides you with options to choose from. Now, let’s focus on red soil. Is red soil good for gardening? It depends if you are lawn gardening or doing container gardening.
Red soil is good for field or lawn gardening to provide the necessary amount of iron your plants need for growth. It has good drainage properties, which can help ease in irrigation of your lawn.
However, if you are doing container gardening, red soil has certain limitations that might be bad for the sowing and cultivation of your plants. The following are the limitations to the use of red soil:
- Poor water-holding capacity: Red soil can easily be left dry under the sun due to its drainage property, making it less suitable for plant growth.
- Less nutrient content: Red soil contains iron, but plants need the main three nutrients, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to grow to their full potential. Leaching usually happens with red soil due again to its high drainage property, letting all the nutrients get eroded.
- Soil compactness: Drainage can lead to dry and compact red soil making it difficult for root penetration and a good root system for your potted plants.
- Not reusable: Red soil, being prone to leaching, loses nutrients over time, and can be detrimental to your potted plants.
Identifying soil color is an essential tool for gardeners. Knowing the characteristics of each color will aid you in choosing which one is the best soil for gardening. You can start sowing and cultivating your garden now that you are fully equipped. Also, you now know the answer to the question, “Is red soil good for gardening?” and be very keen on your next steps. You can always use red soil, limitedly, and with the proper mixing with the other soil color types. Balance is the key to a flourishing garden.
January 8, 2021
by: Andrew McGuire
Knowledge in soil moisture is essential in cultivating a lush and thriving garden. All plants need water to grow. However, it is always difficult to tell if the soil that you are using for the garden has the perfect moisture.