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  • Writer's picturetribepermaculture

Soil analysis of your land

Soil is a crucial part of life. It's the natural habitat for plants and other living organisms.

How is soil formed? How long does it take an inch of soil to form?

Soil is a biochemically weathered and synthesized product of nature. It may take hundreds to thousands of years. It will take longer in colder and drier regions than in warmer and wetter regions. This is due to the soil forming processes such as translocation and transformation being slower in cold and/or dry areas. Essentially, chemical reactions (weathering) occur faster as temperature increases. Since soil formation also requires organisms and organisms require water, reactions (formation) occur faster if there is sufficient water present.

Healthy plants grow in healthy soils. The soil in itself represents a complicated physical, chemical, and biological system by which the plant is supplied with the water, nutrients, and oxygen it requires for its development. Knowing your soil and working with it will help sustain your land's production.

What's your soil composed of?

  • Mineral matter: The size and composition of mineral matter in soil depends upon the nature of the parent rock from which it's derived

  • Organic matter: The top part of the soil, formed due to the decay of plant and animal residues. It is the storehouse of nutrients for the soil.

  • Soil water: Water is held within the pore spaces and acts as a medium for nutrient exchange. The water holding capacity of soils varies with the type of soil.

  • Soil air: Air is also held in the pore spaces of soil along with water. It contains gases like carbon dioxide and small amounts of oxygen, nitrogen, etc.

Soil Analysis Test

In order to understand and estimate the soil composition, a simple quick test one can do is a Jar test.

-Dig around 8 inches of topsoil and collect a few samples from different parts of the land, fill the soil samples half full in individual glass jars

-Add water to fill the jar about three-quarters full. Mix it thoroughly with a spoon/ shake it vigorously with a tight lid and let the soil fractions settle out over a day or two in the shade.

-Once the soil settles down completely, observe the layers of the soil to determine the proportion of clay, silt, sand, and coarse particles in the soil.

Soil Texture Analysis

The texture of the soil is important to know because it determines the soil characteristics that affect plant growth. Three of these characteristics are water-holding capacity, permeability, and soil workability

After determining the percentages of sand, silt, and clay in soil using the soil Jar testing, we can use the soil textural triangle shown below to determine the textural class our soil.

Watch the video on our YouTube channel to learn about Soil Textural Triangle.

Know your soils, do soil building and grow the right plant!

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