3.Types of Soil
The type of soil found in any specific area is made up by the types of rock found in that area. The soil is a mixture of a range of things including finely ground up pieces of rock; pieces from dead plants and animals; air and other soil. It is the unique blend of each that gives it it's characteristic, determining which soil type it is and which are better for growing plants and crops in.
There are three main categories of soil: sandy, clay or loam.
Sandy soil is a dry soil with lots of air in it.
Like the name suggests, sandy soil is mostly made up of sand. Because of the fine grains, water drains easily through this soil and makes it stays pretty dry It is an easier soil to dig with but it means any plants growing here will need to be well watered. It usually has less organic material in it so needs fertiliser to provide any plants with nutrients.
Clay soil is sticky and doesn’t have much air in it. It tends to hold a lot of water.
Clay is the trickiest soil to work with, clay based soils are known for being cloddy thanks to their ability to hold on to water. This in means they can become waterlogged and muddy all too easily or in hot countries dry out and crack making it difficult to grow anything.
Loam soil is somewhere between clay and sand
Loam soils are a good mixture of sand, silt and clay. This soil holds on to most of its nutrients and keeps enough water to help plants get what they need. It also drains enough to avoid waterlogging. Loam soil is generally the best type of soil for growing plants in.
Soil is also layered.
If you dig right down you might go through different layers
- The first layer has organic matter – dead /decaying bits of plant and animal
- The second layer is the topsoil. Topsoil is the part we plant things.
- Then we find subsoil
- The last layer is solid rock (often called bedrock).