Right now I’m in the first week of a four-week course on soil. It’s given by a university in England through an organization called Futurelearn – it’s a MOOC, if you’re familiar with that term. It’s free, and so far it’s been very informative.
So far I’ve learned that soil is classified based on its particle size. Sand has the largest particles, then silt, then clay. It makes sense now that clay is so hard to work with as a soil, because the particles are so tiny and packed together. That’s what makes it so heavy.
Living in Florida, of course my soil is mostly sand. We were asked to post pictures of a cross-section of the soil where we live this week. Here’s mine:
Rich soil that is good for growing should have several layers. Mine only has a very thin top layer, an intermediate layer of roots, and then pure sand. The top layer is the only soil worth growing in, which is why I have to either amend my soil or build raised beds and buy soil for them – which is what I’ve been doing.
Soil texture is important for water management, and of course sandy soil drains very quickly. Sometimes that’s good, but it also means that plants need more water, as the soil doesn’t stay moist.
Next we’re going to test the texture of our own soil. I’m pretty sure what my results will show!