North Carolina is divided geographically into three regions: the coastal plain, the piedmont plateau, and the mountains. The soil of these regions varies and requires different gardening techniques.
The coastal plain has a grey sandy soil called Portsmouth sand. It’s very porous and drains fast. It usually needs amendments rich in organic matter such as compost or peat moss to absorb and hold water and add nutrients.
The piedmont plateau is a red clay base with a thin layer of organic matter. Its called Cecil soil. The clay blocks water movement and storage and plant roots are shallow. The challenge in gardening here is to add enough organic matter or sand to improve drainage and to create a deep enough layer of permeable soil for good root developement.
The mountains have a rock base on the slopes while the valleys and pockets have a rocky organic mix. The challenge is not only finding a flat location to garden but also soil deep enough to allow roots to grow.
Below is a map of North Carolina’s regions. You can find information about your state’s soil through your local agricultural extension or agricultural college. Most states also have a department of agriculture, too.