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    Soil Texture (Fine or Coarse) Hold a little bit of soil in between your thumb and forefinger. A gritty feel means there is a lot of sand in the soil, while a slippery soil means that there is a lot of clay, and silt feels kind of greasy. All soil has each of these three components in varying amounts, and they are each a necessary part of soil composition. Minerals and nutrients in the soil are where plants get most of their nourishment. Soil texture affects how easy it is for plants to get nutrients from the soil. A soil with good texture has equal amounts of sand and silt, about 40 percent each, and a lesser amount of clay, about 20 percent. This type of soil is called a loam, and it allows good drainage and root growth, yet retains adequate moisture and is rich in nutrients.
 
   Soil Structure (Loose or Clumping) Look at your soil to see if it is grainy or if it forms clumps, like clay. Soils that are too loose and do not hold together do not hold nutrients and moisture that plants need, so plants are weak. Soils that clump do not allow plant roots to move freely or take hold properly, so plants are small. Good soil structure is a little grainy and clumps loosely to allow good drainage, but retains moisture and nutrients that plants can use. 
 
   Soil Nutrients The three main nutrients that plants get from soil are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Nitrogen makes big, beautiful leaves. Phosphorus helps growth and makes strong root systems and big, attractive flowers. Potassium builds protein, helps in the photosynthesis process and fights disease. Adding organic plant matter to the soil, in the form of compost, adds nutrients plants need and improves soil structure and texture.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Helpful tools in the garden
 
 A hand fork or hand tiller is used to dig and loosen soil in small areas around plants. A dandelion fork is used to break the long taproot of certain weeds. A hand trowel or hand spade is used to break up large clumps of soil in small spaces. A rock rake is used to pull rocks out of and level a planting bed. A leaf rake is used to collect leaves and other light things not needed in a certain area. A spade shovel makes digging large holes easy. A  flat shovel helps with scooping up loose soil and rocks. A garden fork is used to loosen up soil without removing it from a bed. A tiller helps loosen and mixing the top few inches of soil.
 
 
To grow, plants need four necessary elements of  soil , water, light and air. When a seed sprouts, it grows roots down deep in the soil and grows its first few leaves above ground. These leaves then collect light from the sun. The plant then uses that energy to combine carbon from the air with the water and nutrients the plant takes from the soil with its roots. This is how plants make food to grow bigger. At a certain point, most plants will grow flowers, which are used by the plants to create seeds.
 
     
 
         You can do a simple test to find out what kind of soil you have in your garden.

Take wet soil in your hand and squeeze it. Clay soil will stay in a ball, and may feel greasy. If the soil falls apart, it is mostly sand. If the soil stays together at first, but then breaks up when you touch it, you probably have the loamy soil that most plants love. Topsoil with compost is available at garden centers for an immediate fix, but additions of organic material to either clay or sandy soil can create loamy soil.