Loam is soil composed of sand, silt, and clay in relatively even concentration (about 40-40-20% concentration respectively), considered ideal for gardening and agricultural uses. Loam soils generally contain more nutrients and humus than sandy soils, have better infiltration and drainage than silty soils, and are easier to till than clay soils.
Loams are gritty, moist, and retain water easily. In addition to the term loam, different names are given to soils with slightly different proportions of sand, silt, and clay: sandy loam, silty loam, clay loam, sandy clay loam, silty clay loam, and loam.
Loam soil feels mellow and is easy to work over a wide range of moisture conditions. A soil dominated by one or two of the three particle size groups can behave like loam if it has a strong granular structure, promoted by a high content of organic matter. However, a soil that meets the textural definition of loam can lose its characteristic desirable qualities when compacted, depleted of organic matter, or has clay dispersed throughout its fine-earth fraction.
Loam soil is ideal for growing crops because it retains nutrients well and retains water while still allowing the water to flow freely. This soil is found in a majority of successful farms in regions around the world known for their fertile land.