Welcome to another Popcorn article of mine! This article is very brief and is a precursor on what is next to come in my Soil Series. Today, I am going to quickly talk about the three components of what goes into soil. This is important because when I go over how to read a soil sample and how to figure out what the soil needs - some of my recommendations are based on how the soil feels. A great example of this is if it turns into a ball when I squeeze it, it’s clay based and it does need a heavier application of lime when I need to correct pH. The three components that make up soil is sand, silt, and clay and they have different characteristics.
Sand is the largest particle in soil which is composed of minerals and rocks. They aid in aeration and improve drainage. Sand has a grainy texture as well. My area of New Jersey does not have sandy soil; however when you go down south, they have sandy soil. When you have sandy soil, you need less lime than clay soil to alter the pH.
The next largest particle is silt. Silt gives the soil fertility because it’s composed of different sediments. The sediments found in silt soil broadens biodiversity. You normally find silt based soils along the river beds. You also find this type of soil in agricultural production fields.
The smallest particle is clay. Clay soil is a lot of small, fine particles and which makes it hard for air and water to flow. Clay soil does not drain very well either. To break up clay soil, you do need to add gypsum or organic matter. My area of New Jersey has a lot of clay based soil.
Everywhere you go, the soil is made up of different amounts of sand, silt, and clay. When each element of the soil has equal parts, this is called loam soil. Loam soil is organic, fertile, has great aeration, and great drainage.
Thank you so much for reading my short popcorn article on the components of soil. This is going to pave the way of the next portion of my Soil Series. Next article: Reading a Soil Sample! See you there!