Have you ever wondered what makes up construction dust? It’s soil! Soil is the thin layer of the Earth’s surface on which all living things survive. Soil is made of many substances like weathered rock particles, decayed plant matter, and decayed animal materials. Soil is where plants grow their roots and it takes thousands of years to create this nutrient dense bed for plant life to thrive. Soil is a complex and diverse ecosystem capable of supporting multiple life forms. From plant life to insect life, there are a variety of life forms that rely on the rich and precious components of soil.
Soil can be classified in a variety of ways, but the two main systems of categorization are: vernacular and scientific. The vernacular system is developed by land systems. In the vernacular world soil can be classified as red soil, yellow soil, hot soil, black soil, etc. In the scientific categorizing system the soil is categorized according to the amount of substances present and the development in the soil. These soil classifications are not set in stone as the systems range in variety and tend to change. The world of soil classification can be vast and at times confusing, for the fact we will focus on the classification of soils based on the size of the particles contained within the soil. This is the most common and easiest form of soil categorization. In this article we will look at six different classifications: sandy soil, silty soil, clay soil, loamy soil, peaty soil, and chalky soil.
To test if soil is sandy, moisten a sample of soil and try and form the moistened sample into a ball using your hands. If no dirt ball forms and the soil crumbles and falls through your fingers then the soil can be classified as ‘sandy’. This soil can often be found in desert land reclamation.
To test if soil is silty, take a small sample of soil, moisten it and rub it between your fingers. If the soil is of a silty variety it will feel slick and stick to the skin of your fingers.
To determine if soil is clay soil you can take a small soil sample and dampen it with water. Feel the dampened soil between your palms. If the soil is sticky and retains a significant amount of the water it can be classified as clay soil.
Loamy soil consists of sand, silt and clay soils. It is considered to be the perfect soil for successful gardening. The texture of loamy soil is gritty and retains water extremely easily while maintaining good drainage. Loamy soils range from fertile soil to muddy and thick sod.
Peaty soil is formed by the accumulation of dead and decayed matter and organisms. It naturally contains a high level of organic matters that other soils do not have. This soil is generally found in marshy lands and areas.
Chalky soil has a high level of alkaline properties and consists of a large number of stones. The level of fertility of chalky soil varies by the depth of the soil on the bed of chalk. Chalky soil is highly prone to dryness and is a poor choice for plantation.