There’s a quick and easy test you can do to see the proportions of sand, silt and clay in your soil. All you need is a glass jar (an old jam jar works well), a scoop of soil and some water.
1. Half fill the jar with soil from your garden
2. Add water to the jar until it is almost full. Leave about 5 cm air space at the top
3. Screw on the lid and shake the jar vigorously for a few minutes. You want to try and break up all the soil clumps (peds)
4. Stand the jar somewhere it won’t be disturbed. Let the soil and water settle for at least 8 hours.
After at least 8 hours, look at the soil. You will see layers. Sand will be at the bottom, silt in the middle and clay at the top. You may also have pieces of organic matter floating on the top.
The percentage of each layer tells you what kind of soil you have. Use the soil texture triangle to work out what type (texture) of soil you have.