Definition - What does Fast Draining mean?
Fast-draining is a term used in gardening that is applied to specific types of garden soil and grow mediums that do not hold large quantities of moisture for long periods.
Fast-draining soils and grow mediums are considered ideal and beneficial to plants, as they ensure optimal oxygenation for plant roots.
If a soil is not fast-draining, it can be amended with organic matter to improve its drainage capabilities.
Fast-draining is a term used to describe a medium's water retention abilities, or water-holding capacity.
MaximumYield explains Fast Draining
The right type of soil is vital for the health and growth of plants within an in-ground, raised bed or container garden. In nature, various soil types exist and not all of them are ideal for planting due to their drainage characteristics.
For strong, healthy growth, you need fast-draining soil that allows water to drain out relatively quickly. This ensures that plants are able to get the water they need, without being inundated, and eventually drowned. It also encourages proper oxygenation of the roots.
In an ideal situation, your garden soil will contain about 50% air, with the remaining 50% being made up of solid minerals, with up to 5% organic matter.
Some soils naturally fit the bill, including sandy and light loams. However, soils with a heavy clay composition will not drain well, and will need to be amended with compost, hay or other materials to lighten them.
To test if your soil is fast-draining, you can dig a hole about one foot in depth and about one foot across. Fill this hole with water and then wait. If the water drains out of the hole completely within about 10 minutes, your soil is fast-draining.
If it takes longer than 10 minutes to drain, you’ll need to amend the soil to ensure optimal health for your plants. You can choose to use raised beds if you prefer, or you can add hay and other organic matter and then till the soil to aerate and loosen it.