Soil is a natural resource found on the earth’s surface. It is mainly composed of mineral, nutrients, water, air, other inorganic particles and residues of plant and animals (organic matter). Soil has layers.
SURFACE LAYERS (O). This layer has dead plants and animal organisms that are slowly decomposing. Sometimes this layer is thick, sometimes it is thin; and others it may not be present.
TOPSOIL (A). This layer has humus, organic matter, roots, worms, insects, and other living organism, small rock and mineral fragments. It is dark in colour.
SUBSOIL (B). This layer has roots and other living organisms, materials leached by water from the upper layers, clay, rock fragments,and minerals. It is lighter in colour than topsoil.
PARENT MATERIAL (C).This layer comprises of materials leached by water from the upper layer and partly weathered rock fragments. It is somewhat orange and yellow in colour.
BEDROCK (R).A mass of rock such as granite, basalt, quartz, limestone or sandstone that forms the parent material for some soils.
Types of soil
There are six types of soil: sand, loamy, and clay, silt, peat, and chalk. The type of soil determines the growth of plant life.
Types of Soil
You can test your soil to find out what type it is. Water an area of soil with a watering can. If surface water disappears quickly the soil is sandy or gravelly; but if the water remains longer on the surface it is clay soil. You can also touch the soil. Gently squeeze it; if it feels slimy and sticky and remains in as a lump when you release pressure, the soil is clay. If the soil crumbles in your hand easily it is sandy. Peaty soil feels spongy; loam and silt feel smooth and retain their shape longer than sandy soil, as it is not as rigid as clay.
Place a handful of soil from different places into large glass jars. Fill each with water. Stir well and leave to settle for two hours. Observe your samples and record what you see.
Remember: It is important to always wear gloves when digging, wash your hands after touching the soil, and never taste or smell the soil.
You can look through a magnifying glass to observe the soil.
Sandy soil has particles that sink and form a layer on the bottom. The water looks fairly clear.
Clay or silty soil have particles that sink to the bottom and form a think layer. The water looks fairly clear.
Peaty soil have small amount of sediment that settles and a lot of bits floating on the surface of the water. The water is a bit cloudy.
Chalky soil have layers of white gritty fragments on the bottom of the water. The water is pale greyish in colour.
Loamy soil have layered sediments that settles at the bottom of the water and very fine particles floating. The water is fairly clear.
What type of soil have you gathered?