What's So Great About Loam?
It provides a structure that readily supports plant roots while allowing for water and air movement around the soil particles. It supports water and nutrient storage, and supports soil life.
Few people are lucky enough to have loamy soil. In addition, they may have compacted soil, especially if they live in a housing tract.
What to do
Find out what you are working with. Use the methods from this chapter for basic information, or get a soil test; they only cost about $25. The soil test will tell you what type of soil you have, the nutrient levels, and the pH. Many reports will provide helpful recommendations based on your results.
It is not easy to change your soil type. If you are so inclined, in extreme cases you can remove the top two to three feet of soil and replace it with imported loamy topsoil – not an easy or inexpensive method!
Or, you can apply a 3-inch layer of wood chip mulch to the top of your soil (Be sure to keep the mulch a few inches away from the base of any plants). As the mulch decomposes, it provides food to the soil critters which in turn cause beneficial physical and chemical changes in the soil where soil particles stick together creating aggregates. This creates better pore space and water drainage (think sugar cubes) that invites new life to the soil. Replenish the mulch as it decomposes and you will be amazed at the transformation in your soil.
»» Do not use landscape fabric or plastic sheeting. It inhibits decomposition.