Soil is a mixture of solid content, Which has minerals, gases, liquids, and organisms that together support life. Earth’s body of clay, called the pedosphere, has four following functions. All of these functions modify the soil and its properties.
- Medium for plant growth
- Means of water storage, supply, and purification
- Change of Earth’s atmosphere
- as a habitat for organisms
There are three stages of clay:
- Solid clay
- It is a combination with air in the pores
- clay with water in the pores
The scientific study of soil has two basic branches of study: Eedaphology and Pedology. Edaphology studies the influence of clay on living things. Pedology focuses on the formation, description (morphology), and classification of soils in their natural environment.
Types of Soil
There are three basic types of soils: sand, silt, and clay. But, most soils are composed of a combination of different types.
Sandy soils are often known as light soils due to their high proportion of sand and little clay. It has quick water drainage, it is easy to work with. They are quicker to warm up in spring than clay soils but tend to dry out in summer and suffer from low nutrients that are washed away by rain. This type of soil is very good for the drainage system. Sandy soils are usually formed by the breakdown or fragmentation of rocks like granite, limestone, and quartz.
It has much smaller particles compared to sandy soils, It made up of rock and other mineral particles that are smaller than sand and larger than clay. It is the smooth and quite fine quality of the soils that hold water better than sand. Silt is easily transported by moving currents and it is mainly found near the river, lake, and other water bodies. The silt soils are more fertile compared to the other three types of soils. Therefore it is also used in agricultural practices to improve soil fertility.
It is a heavy soil type that benefits from high nutrients. Clay soils remain wet and cold in winter and dry out in summer. These soils are made of over 25 percent clay, and because of the spaces found between clay particles, clay soils hold a high amount of water. Because these soils drain slowly and take longer to warm up in summer, combined with drying out and cracking in summer, they can often test gardeners.
Loam soil is a mixture of sand, silt, and clay that are combined to avoid the negative effects of each type. These soils are fertile, easy to work with and provide good drainage. Depending on their predominant composition they can be either sandy or clay loam. As the soils are a perfect balance of soil particles, they are considered to be a gardener’s best friend, but still benefit from topping up with the additional organic matter.
Chalk soil can be either light or heavy but always highly alkaline due to the calcium carbonate or lime within its structure. As these soils are alkaline they will not support the growth of ericaceous plants that require acidic soils to grow. If a chalky soil shows signs of visible white lumps then it can’t be acidified and gardeners should be rejected to only choose plants that prefer alkaline soil.
Peat soils are high in organic matter and retain a large amount of moisture. This type of soil is very rarely found in a garden and often imported into a garden to provide an optimum soil base for planting.