Soil is a mixture of four main ingredients: weathered rock, organic matter, air, and water. The weathered rock can be in the form of sand, silt, clay, pebbles, or other size rocks. Organic matter can be anything from old leaves, dead animals and plants, or tiny living things.
What is soil and what is it made up of?
Soil is made up of three main components – minerals that come from rocks below or nearby, organic matter which is the remains of plants and animals that use the soil, and the living organisms that reside in the soil.
Let's take a brief look at each of these key components.
- Calcium – In plants, calcium is a structural component of the cell wall.
- Potassium – An essential plant nutrient involved in the regulation of photosynthesis and water management in plants.
- Organic Matter.
- Soil Air/Atmosphere.
- Soil Microorganisms.
Successive decomposition of dead material and modified organic matter results in the formation of a more complex organic matter called humus (Juma, 1998). This process is called humification. Humus affects soil properties.
The many species that live in the soil range in size from tiny one celled bacteria, algae, fungi, and protozoa to more complex organisms like earthworms, insects, small vertebrates, and plants. The table below shows six of the many species that live in the soil in the eastern United States.
Soil lets plants grow, allows gas exchanges to happen between the land and air, provides habitat for most of the organisms on Earth, holds and cleans water, recycles nutrients, and is used for constructing structures like buildings and roadbeds.
Soil is a mixture of organic matter, minerals, gases, liquids, and organisms that together support life.
An ideal soil is composed of 45 percent mineral (sand, silt and clay), five percent organic material (humus or plant debris and soil organisms), 25 percent water and 25 percent air.
The Ideal Soil Type: Loam. The type of soil that gardens and gardeners love is loamy soil. It contains a balance of all three soil materials—silt, sand and clay—plus humus. It has a higher pH and calcium levels because of its previous organic matter content.
Humus, the organic material in soil, is composed of microorganisms (dead and alive) and decaying plants. The inorganic material of soil is composed of rock, which is broken down into small particles of sand (0.1 to 2 mm), silt (0.002 to 0.1 mm), and clay (less than 0.002 mm).
4. PHYSICAL PROPERTIES OF THE SOIL
- 4.1 Texture: Texture refers to the relative proportions of particles of various sizes such as sand, silt and clay in the soil.
- 4.2 Structure:
- 4.3 Consistence:
- 4.4 Partiole density.
- 4.5 Bulk density.
- 4.6 Pore space:
- 4.7 Atterberg limits:
- 4.8 Soil colour:
Soil composition is an important aspect of nutrient management. The basic components of soil are minerals, organic matter, water and air. The typical soil consists of approximately 45% mineral, 5% organic matter, 20-30% water, and 20-30% air.
18 Essential Nutrients
- Nutrient elements obtained from atmosphere through photosynthesis. Hydrogen. Carbon. Oxygen.
- Nutrient elements obtained from the soil. Nitrogen. Phosphorus. Potassium. Sulfur. Magnesium. Calcium. Iron. Boron. Manganese. Zinc. Molybdenum. Copper.
Here are ten chemical elements essential to all plants.
- Potassium. Considered a macronutrient because of the high quantities a plant needs in order to thrive, potassium aids the healthy growth and reproduction of plants.
Soil is a zone of plant growth and is a thin layer of mineral matter that normally contains organic material and is capable of supporting living plants. Regolith is inorganic and lies like a blanket over unfragmented rock. It is typically made up of material that is weathered away from the underlying rock.
Most important climatic factors affecting soil formation are the amount and seasonal distribution of temperature and rainfall. Climate controls the type and effectiveness of weathering of the parent material, the quantity of water seeping through the soil and the type of micro-organisms present therein.
Soils are a composition of mineral particles 45% , organic matter 5% , air 25% , and water 25% . Brown earths are fertile and very suitable for agriculture. Their suitability for agriculture are due to their characteristics of good texture, dark colour, and ph value .
Another material is called organic matter. It is made up of decaying plant and animal matter. Water and air are the other ingredients in soil. In a good garden soil, about 45 percent will be rock particles, 5 percent organic matter like leaves, 25 percent water, and 25 percent air.
Soil has texture. The particles that make up soil are categorized into three groups by size: sand, silt, and clay. Sand particles are the largest and clay particles the smallest. The relative percentages of sand, silt, and clay are what give soil its texture.
There are six main soil types:
Mineral matter. Most of these particles originate from the degradation of rocks; they are called mineral particles. The mineral material of a soil is the product of the weathering of underlying rock in place, or the weathering of transported sediments or rock fragments.