A simple test for soil moisture

choose the best soil in your garden

Testing your soil moisture before you water, is right up there with making your own compost + a daily garden walk = one of my top 3 best garden habits.

I cant tell you the number of customers that have come to me downhearted at the state of their gardens and the only thing they needed to sort was how they watered. Get it right and your plants will perform heaps better – less pests, less disease and better crops by far. And it all begins with this simple habit – to test your soil before you water.

The moisture test

For established crops, the tall and the sprawling – test by pushing your finger in. The tip of your finger tells you whether to water or not. Yes, really! All the way down there. I know gardeners who push it out further than this to two fingers deep – go on I dare ya! (I dare myself!) If it’s moist at your fingertip let it be. If it’s dry –  water.

For newly sown seed, new transplants, shallow rooters and little guys soils needs to be moist at the topsoil. Test by squeezing a handful of soil together. Open your hand out giving it a small shake as you do. If the soil mostly holds together and a few crumbs fall away then it’s perfectly moist. If it holds its shape and you can infact shape it into something – way too wet. If nothing holds together – way too dry.

How much water do my crops need?

So you’ve done your test and found the soils a little dry – how much water do I need? Enough until your soil is barely moist.

Don’t over think it, ok. Barely moist is a spectrum and you know what dry is and you know what wet is – in between is where you land. Feel the soil when you are confused and huzzah!, all is revealed!

Get into the habit of doing this 2 second test before watering and your gardening life will be transformed – what a difference to the health and vitality of your crops!

Not only will you be watering correctly ergo not over or under watering but maintaining barely moist soil + growing an epic garden, but you’ll be staying in touch with the state of your soil – which is the holy grail of gardening, my friend – mastery awaits!


  1. Rachel Herriott says

    Fantastic information. Thank you. I’m heading out now to check mine 👍🏼